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And now, Gervais appears to have responded to comic Lee’s criticism of his Netflix comedy.
During a recent appearance on Rob Brydon’s ‘Brydon &’ podcast, the 54-year-old criticised the show, calling Gervais’ comedy-drama work "abysmal."
Here is everything you need to know.
Ricky Gervais’ Netflix series has gained accolades since its debut in 2019, comedian Lee has called it "one of the worst things ever made."
After Life chronicles the story of a jaded widower (played by Gervais) who gradually rediscovers his love of life.
The third and final season of The Office creator’s latest comedy-drama premiered on the streaming service earlier this year.
Gervais stated that he was "genuinely overwhelmed" by the response from viewers, saying that he "woke up to literally thousands of the most beautiful tweets" following the release of the final set of episodes.
But Stewart Lee is not a fan, and during his podcast appearance, heaped scorn upon the project.
What did Lee say?
Lee began by praising Gervais’ earlier projects, calling shows like The Office “brilliant”, before taking shots at his later comedy drama work.
“I think Ricky’s comedy drama work is of diminishing returns to the point where it’s now abysmal,” he said. “I think it must be very sad.
“If you’re teaching drama or creative writing, how can you make a case for the things that make drama and creative writing good when After Life is a success?
“Because your kids could just go, ‘But none of those things happen in this!’ And yet, millions of people watch it.
"I think it’s one of the worst things ever made by a human."
It must be noted that Lee is notorious for using exaggeration to comic effect in his stand-up performances, and so whether he was being truly sincere is up for debate.
When host Brydon then mentioned that Gervais had cited Lee as an influence, the comic responded, "Well, I don’t suppose Robert Oppenheimer felt great about having created the atomic bomb.”
How has Gervais responded?
Gervais has yet to openly reference Lee’s remark, but on Saturday (10 September), he tweeted: "Watch the award-winning, record-breaking #AfterLife Now streaming on Netflix around the world.”
Along his post, he included a clip from the show in which his brash character, Tony, refers to someone as a “fat, hairy, nosy c***sucker”.
Many have speculated this to be an indirect response to Lee’s criticisms.
Perhaps most obviously, Gervais also liked a number of Stewart Lee-related posts from his fans, including one in which described Lee as "never-been-funny."