“It’s not just out of respect for the audience that I don’t want to annoy half of them,” Gervais, 56, tells PEOPLE’s Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle in the latest episode of The Jess Cagle Interview (streaming now on People TV). “I think if I’ve got something to say, then I’ll state my thing. But I think if you’re relying on the audience agreeing with you or not to get a laugh or a round-of-applause, you’re rallying, and that loses something comedically. So, I want the jokes to be politics-proof.”
He continues, “I talk about stupidity, misunderstanding, arrogance, lies — all these things that are part of politics. But, I don’t say, here’s a bad guy, here’s a good guy . . . I don’t go into that because I think it’s boring. I don’t think it’s part of comedy really. And, I’ve never done it because [of] that reason.”
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The British actor refers to the 2016 election as “an experiment that went wrong.”
“It’s like when the teacher says, ‘Okay, you be in charge,'” he explains. “And then she goes, ‘Oh, God, I shouldn’t have said that. Then what’s happened? I burnt down the lab.”
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But the Emmy winner also has a surprising message for Americans who voted for Donald Trump last year.
“I want people to know that I don’t judge people who voted for him like I judge him,” Gervais says. “They’re victims too. They were sold a lie. . . . I don’t understand why people fell for this ‘we’re going to drain the swamp of this liberal league’ from a man who lives in a gold house. That’s odd.”
Gervais can currently be heard on his new SiriusXM show “Ricky Gervais Is Deadly Sirius,” a one-hour program that airs weekly on Comedy Greats channel 94.