Lately I've been watching An Idiot Abroad and laughing my arse off.
But I started feeling a little guilty enjoying this newly-discovered treasure without spreading the word. No one should be missing Karl Pilkington and his wonders-of-the-world travels and travails. In the words of show creator, BFF, and torturer, Ricky Gervais, "Nothing is funnier than Karl in a corner, being poked by a stick, and I am that stick."
Stephen Merchant, Ricky Gervais & Karl Pilkington, An Idiot Abroad, photo: Rich Hardcastle, from Ricky's blog
Pilkington is Gervais's friend and former presenter and producer of The Ricky Gervais Show podcasts. In this travel show spoof he is sent on assignment to famous sites such as the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids, Machu Picchu, and the Taj Majal. Karl is the ultimate reality show character, as he is singularly unimpressed by wherever he is, while simultaneously being generally cranky and obstinate about indulging in any local color. He is in on the joke, sort of, but he just can't help being himself. And he happens to be very, very funny.
The season is winding down, but luckily the shows are in reruns over the next few weeks, so you can still catch Karl complaining about the bugs, the food and the locals various states of undress. Even better news is that An Idiot Abroad will return for a second season, with Karl filming "a bucket list." We can only imagine what sort of "things to do before he dies" Gervais has planned for Karl, as he tells his obstinate world-traveling friend in an episode from this season, "This isn’t for your amusement, this is for my amusement. Mine and the viewers. You are my gift to the world."
Thank you, Ricky.