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Ricky Gervais

Hey, Ricky, clearly we’ve got you at a very surreal time — first there was the surprise Brexit result and now Donald Trump is actually going to be US President! Has the world gone mad?
Well, I suppose I was a bit immune because of Brexit. I’m here in the UK and woke up about an hour ago to the news that Trump had won, which obviously was a shock. But the last few days I’ve been thinking, “I wonder if in the polls, people are just keeping it to themselves like they did with Brexit?” With Brexit the polls were saying that it was going the other way and then obviously when they’d won they all came out with their horrible xenophobic placards like they’d won the world. It’s the same thing that’s happened with Trump — it’s all the people keeping it secret until they can come out as Trump supporters.

What’s your take on Trump?
Well, he’s got more in common with David Brent than he has JFK. He’s an entertainer, a reality TV show host and a billionaire who wants to be famous. I don’t know how he’d be as a President — we’ll never know, and we probably won’t know for 10 or 15 years. He might be fine, he might not do crazy things. My one hope was that if he got in, we’d say, “Oh, he’s a businessman – he’s not going to start a war because it would be bad business”, but actually, he’s not a great businessman — he’s been bankrupt three times. So, I don’t know what to think. And also, wars aren’t always bad business, which is another worrying fact.

Does this result confirm what you’ve always thought about Americans?
No, it’s just the way the world’s going. The world is worse. It’s a bit of an antidote to all the people who are fed up thinking they’re the disenfranchised ones. It’s these people who think when you’ve had sort of privilege for so long, equality suddenly seems like oppression. How many times have you seen white American Christians going, “I’m oppressed”? No you’re not — you’ve had it your own way for 200 years. What do you mean you’re oppressed? You mean some other people want a bit of your equality. And that’s who Trump has appealed to. It was very telling a few months ago — I sort of laughed at it — but when he said, “I love the uneducated.” And lo and behold they’re the ones who have put
him in. The groups who won for him are white, non-college educated people.

So, how surprised are you that he actually won?
He played an amazing game. I mean at first you thought, “Well this can’t happen — he’s saying the craziest things.” Even Michael Moore said that people are going to go into that voting booth, they’re going to draw the curtain and they’re going to put a big X next to Donald J. Trump and it’ll be the biggest f—k you in America history. And that’s exactly what people have done.
Most of the world are treating it like a bit of a disaster but obviously his supporters are treating it like, New Year’s Eve. That’s what you get with democracy — half the people are happy with the result and half aren’t — but you can’t whinge against democracy.
I know he was going to if he lost, but you can’t — if you’ve got the vote, all you can do is use it. If you don’t use it, you can’t whinge at all. If more people voted for the other side, that’s life. That’s democracy.

If David Brent met Donald Trump, what would happen?
David Brent loves famous people, so he’d be in awe. That’s the problem with the world — people would get giddy if they met a famous dictator. They might hate what he did but when they meet him they’d go, “Ooh, oh look, oh look, it’s Mussolini! I’ve seen you on the tele.” It’s a worrying thing and the problem in politics — famous people can get votes because most people think, “Well, if they’re on tele all the time, they must be all right.” David Brent would want to sort of impress Trump. He wouldn’t say anything inappropriate to him — he says some inappropriate things, obviously, but… well, how can you say anything inappropriate to Trump? What could you say where Trump hasn’t said a worse thing? I mean imagine Trump saying to you, “Oh, sexist.” What would you have to have said for Donald Trump to call you a sexist?

If Trump can be US President, perhaps the fictional David Brent could be British Prime Minister?
Well, nothing’s out of the question now. Think of 10 years ago if someone said, “You know that bloke who does The Apprentice and marries people? You know that bloke with the hair who’s on that game show? Yeah, he’s going to be President of the United States one day.” So yeah, David Brent could be the Prime Minister.

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The Duel

Megan Marx and Tiffany Scanlon