After Life Series 2 – Netflix
At a time when the last thing most of us feel like doing is laughing, I was holding my sides in pain at the new series of Ricky Gervais’ tragi-comedy – and that was just the first episode!
From The Office, through Extras and Life’s Too Short to Derek, Gervais has mined pure comedy gold by making us cringe with embarrassment – David Brent’s excruciating dance, a naked Les Dennis drying himself in a dressing room, Liam Neeson’s attempt at being funny – all of which have become part of comedy legend, so to call After Life Ricky’s masterpiece is praise indeed.
His characters are always so strong and three dimensional, but in Tony, a reporter on a local free newspaper who is struggling after the death of his wife, he has come up with belly laughs and tears in almost equal measure.
Tony resonates so strongly because, well, he’s me. I’ve been in exactly that place for real and some of the similarities with the despair Tony feels are so accurate they’re spooky.
But then he can create a scene like the argument with the schoolboy in series one or the meditation session in this first episode of Series 2 and I am helpless with belly laughs so violent I can hardly breathe.
The support roles are so rich from Roisin Conarty’s prostitute with a heart of gold to Joe Wilkinson’s postman, Tony’s cemetery companion Penelope Wilton and his late wife played by Kerry Godliman.
Thank you Ricky, from the bottom of my heart.