Ricky Gervais’ Trans Jokes Aren’t Funny. That’s The Problem

Sometimes comedy gets too real.

Steve QJ
5 min readMay 30, 2022
Photo: Netflix

Well, here we are again. Another Netflix comedy special, another hour of jokes about Christianity, Islam, AIDS, obesity, Chinese people, Tourettes, the Holocaust, dwarves, Eskimos, and punching disabled toddlers, and another slew of articles focused exclusively on transphobia.

Whether it’s Dave Chappelle, Bill Maher, or most recently, Rick Gervais’ Supernature, you could be forgiven for wondering if the dramatic uptick in comedic “transphobia” is some kind of social contagion.

Outrage over Netflix’s Ricky Gervais special where he slams transgender community,” says Marca. “With Ricky Gervais’s new special, Netflix yet again suffers transphobic fools,” says Vox. “[Ricky Gervais’ ‘comedy’ special] is full of graphic, dangerous, anti-trans rants masquerading as jokes,says GLAAD.

I’m not going to argue about whether or not jokes are “dangerous.” And I’m certainly not going to judge anybody for being offended. Comedy is unquestionably better when everybody is laughing at the jokes. But I’d argue that the problem, at least with the trans part of the show, is that Gervais isn’t joking.

Let’s take a look.

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Steve QJ

Race. Politics. Culture. Sometimes other things. Almost always polite. Find more at https://steveqj.substack.com