News, Culture & Society

‘You’re an evil genius,’ I told Ricky Gervais


Robert ‘Woody’ Johnson, new US Ambassador to the UK and close personal friend of Donald Trump, threw a party tonight at his London residence, Winfield House.

As I stood among a group including William Hague, a US official introduced me to a well-spoken Englishman. Sensing he was a diplomat or something, I began pontificating about the state of the world.

He listened to my animated analysis (‘We should have got stuck into Assad’, ‘Putin’s out-played everyone’, ‘Kim Jong Un’s not actually going to do anything’ etc) and sporadically raised a quizzical eyebrow.

Ricky Gervais has brought his Humanity world tour to London’s Hammersmith Apollo, so I took my eldest son Spencer to see what all the fuss is about, writes Piers Morgan

Eventually, the US official interrupted. ‘Piers, before you go any further, perhaps I should explain exactly who you are talking to: General Mark Carleton-Smith is Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff in charge of UK Military Strategy and Operations.’


I turned back sheepishly to General Carleton-Smith, who just raised another eyebrow.

Later, I discovered he’d previously been commanding officer of the SAS, commanding officer of British Forces in Afghanistan and director of our special forces.

So, I’d been lecturing one of Britain’s finest military men… on the military.

Fortunately, Ambassador Johnson spared me any more blushes by making a speech.

‘Many of you do not know the President,’ he said. ‘But I promise you, when you get to know him, you’ll like him. Right, Piers?’

All eyes turned to me.

‘Right, Ambassador!’


Tonight, I attended a memorial party at the River Café restaurant for literary super-agent Ed Victor, who died in the summer.

Ed was a magnificent character, as beloved by his authors as he was feared and respected by publishers. He was also a shameless name-dropper – and I say that as a compliment – so he’d have been thrilled by the star-studded turnout, including Stephen Fry, Nigella Lawson, Alastair Campbell and Sophie Dahl.

Two invaluable life lessons stood out among the tributes.

First, Ed’s eternal positivity, born out from this quote repeated by GQ editor Dylan Jones: ‘I perceive life as a long highway littered with green lights.’

Second, his refreshing frankness: ‘Ed once asked how I was,’ said Nigella, ‘and when I began to tell him he stopped me and said, “Nigella, if someone asks how are you, they don’t ever actually want to know!” ’

Ed adored gossip too, so he’d have loved the moment when Mel Brooks shouted ‘You still in disgrace, Alan?’ at former BBC boss Alan Yentob, who resigned in 2015 over the Kids Company scandal.

Yentob, standing next to me, led the raucous laughter.

Above all, Ed was a man who loved his life and loved his wife.

Carol recounted: ‘We moved in together the day we first met, and every day after that, he told me how beautiful I was and how much he loved me.’

RIP Ed Victor. A gentleman. 


My Good Morning Britain colleague Charlotte Hawkins is competing in Strictly Come Dancing, and I’ve been teasing her relentlessly about the ‘Strictly Curse’ that seems to drive all the dance partners into illicit affairs.

‘Nothing’s ever going to happen with me and Brendan Cole,’ she insisted off-camera today. ‘We’re both very happily married.’

‘Isn’t it weird spending so much time in another man’s arms, though?’ I pressed.

Charlotte giggled: ‘Well yes, a bit. When I walked into the green room on Saturday night and saw Brendan and [her husband] Mark both standing there, I didn’t know which hand to take first…’

Uh-oh. It’s only week three!


Ricky Gervais has brought his Humanity world tour to London’s Hammersmith Apollo, so I took my eldest son Spencer to see what all the fuss is about.

It IS truly shocking: a 90-minute fusillade of savagely uncompromising comedy, with no taboo subject off limits – from Aids, cancer and rape to paedophilia, terrorism, transgenderism. (‘I’m identifying as a chimp,’ he declared. ‘Much easier than having everything cut off to be a woman.’)

Gervais even lampoons his own mother’s funeral, revealing how his brother Bob deliberately told the vicar their other brother’s name was Barry not Larry – purely so they could all laugh when he said it wrong.

But at its heart, Humanity’s theme is one of my own bêtes noires: the modern malaise of absurdly over-sensitive snowflakes that wallow in permanent offence and victimhood, fuelled by PC-crazed social media.

Gervais tests his audiences with gags so near the knuckle that everyone around me repeatedly gasped in genuine horror before exploding with laughter; though, with delicious irony, two women in front me sat grim-faced throughout the whole show.

Our host ended with a lengthy rant about why he’d never have children because they’re all spoiled, needy, greedy brats.

It’s a shame he’s depriving us of any extension to the Gervais comedic gene pool.

I also think he’s depriving himself of the simple joyful pleasure of spending a night at a theatre with your own child, watching someone you both find side-splittingly hilarious make you laugh like drains.

‘You’re a dark, evil genius but we loved it,’ I messaged him afterwards.

‘My pleasure,’ he replied. ‘Glad you enjoyed it.’

Ironically, this was the only inoffensive thing he said all night.


Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling appeared on GMB today, in my absence. Our entertainment editor Richard Arnold grilled them about rumours that Ford accidentally punched Gosling in the face during filming of Blade Runner 2049.

‘We could do with you coming in and giving Piers Morgan a left hook,’ said Arnold.

‘That suggestion will not… go unignored,’ smirked Ford, with a worrying glint.