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Netflix reveals controversial Christmas Day special

This one might test the limits of your Christmas spirit...

Netflix reveals controversial Christmas Day special
Andrew Williams
15 December 2023

Netflix is no stranger to controversy but this year it's stirring the pot this Christmas day.

Ricky Gervais has taken a few minutes off busily promoting his new vodka brand to announce his next special is coming to Netflix.

It’s not dropping on any old day either, but on Christmas Day itself.

Ricky Gervais: Armageddon is the name of his latest set, which he has toured across the UK since April 2023 after numerous earlier preview shows.

This release is sure to prove contentious. And not just because Gervais is putting out this special on Christmas Day when, as he has so often told us, he is an atheist.

Ricky Gervais has been criticised for his anti-trans jokes, and others seen as being at the expense of people with disabilities, while he has defended his right to offend on multiple occasions.

Armageddon incoming

Fair enough, but reviews of the live show itself have been pretty mixed.

“I’m not suggesting his jokes about “dwarves”, “disabled creatures” and all the age-old targets of abuse will lead directly to hate crimes. I am suggesting they’re operating to a comic standard more associated with the playground than the standup stage,” said The Guardian’s Brian Logan, after seeing one of the earliest performances in December 2022 at the Manchester Apollo.

The Evening Standard was much more up for Gervais’s style, giving the set a 4-star review.

“Gervais manages to have it both ways, making pertinent points through puerile jokes. We sometimes have bad thoughts, he says, and we can’t stop them leaking out, so get over it. You certainly need that attitude to appreciate Armageddon,” wrote reviewer Bruce Dessau in September 2023.

It’s also, of course, possible that Gervais sharpened up the show significantly over the nine months between those reviews.

You’ll be able to see for yourself when Ricky Gervais: Armageddon lands on December 25.