A couple of months ago Ricky Gervais announced he was reviving his creation David Brent for a Comic Relief music video. The resurrection of slough’s finest paper merchant wouldn’t end there as a series of exclusive videos on Gervais’s new YouTube channel were in the works.
The first episode of Learn Guitar with David Brent will be released on May 20th and is just one of the many exclusive offerings from YouTube’s Comedy Week. In the meantime a new teaser trailer for the series has been released and you can check it out below.
Each episode will see David playing a self penned song and some of them have previously been used in the original show such as ‘Spaceman Came Down’ and ‘Freelove Freeway’. Last month Gervais spoke on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart about bringing David Brent back and finally joining the growing ranks of online comedy makers;
“This is the future – people broadcasting themselves… YouTube’s already the biggest broadcaster in the world.”
“I brought him back after 10 years, because I kept getting people… saying, ‘What’s he doing now? I don’t want to just make stuff up – it’s a fictional character – so I thought I’d bring him back to let them know.”
I say this as a huge fan of The Office, Extras and An Idiot Abroad (let’s not bring Life’s Too Short or the deeply misguide Derek into this), but I’m not that thrilled to see Gervais bringing the character back. I’m all for Gervais finally getting original content out online, a charity music video is fine and I rather enjoyed Equality Street but in this new teaser Brent feels more like a caricature of himself.
The more we see of David Brent the more we learn how his life turned out, having previously reprised the role for a couple of cameos in The Office An American Workplace we got a few hints as to what happened to him after the events of the Christmas special but nothing definitive. Even if you’re not of fan of Gervais, the finale of The Office is a near perfectly crafted heartwarming piece of comedy that ended on a optimistic but ambiguous note for Brent. Despite his flaws you can’t help but feel for him and hope he finds a shred of happiness, but is this web series going to undermine a poignant ending or will it add to the legacy of the character? We’ll have to wait and see how the series develops but given the concept it’s unlikely to feature many revelations about his personal life.
For a comedian of Gervais’s talent and social media clout I would have expected something more creative from him for his debut web series. Annoyingly I know I’ll watch this absent thought that he has played it very safe by bringing back his most famous creation. All my skepticism aside the series will be a hit with his sizable fan-base and it’s great to have Gervais embracing the online world, but he’ll have to do more than sing a few tunes to entice the audience he’s looking for.