The world is bigger than all the parts. That's the important thing, and one thing can throw everything off kilter. And you must never let yourself off. You'll let yourself off by mistake. So you shouldn't do it consciously. You have to be above it all and just be very disciplined with it. Just be very disciplined with it.
Funny bones, to me, are more important than funny lines. If a comedian is just not likable and doing the lines, you could read them yourself. Whereas if someone [you like] shambles out, and they tell you what a bad day they've had, they don't have to say anything. I love them. I want to hug them because they've been through something. And it comes back to empathy, always empathy.
Do unto others... ' is a good rule of thumb. I live by that. Forgiveness is probably the greatest virtue there is. But that's exactly what it is - a virtue. Not just a Christian virtue. No one owns being good. I'm good. I just don't believe I'll be rewarded for it in heaven. My reward is here and now. It's knowing that I try to do the right thing. That I lived a good life. And that's where spirituality really lost its way. When it became a stick to beat people with. 'Do this or you'll burn in hell.' You won't burn in hell. But be nice anyway.
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I don't think it matters if there is a god or not. I've met people who believe in God that are good and that are bad. And I've met people who don't believe in God that are good and that are bad. So, just be good. I'm good. Not cos I think I'll go to heaven but because when I do something bad, I feel bad. And when I do something good, I feel good.
We want to see a struggle. We want to see people falling over but getting themselves back up on their feet, and that's what's extraordinary- ordinary people and their struggle. There's nothing as interesting as real life out your window. You walk down the street for half an hour, I'll give you half an hour of drama.
Life is just a series of peaks and troughs. And you don't know whether you're in a trough until you're climbing out, or on a peak until you're coming down. And that's it you know, you never know what's round the corner. But it's all good. "If you want the rainbow, you've gotta put up with the rain." Do you know which "philosopher" said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she's just a big pair of tits.
What is the single most important thing for a company? Is it the building? Is it the stock? Is it the turnover? It's the people, investment in people. My proudest moment here wasn't when I increased profits by 17%, or cut expenditure without losing a single member of staff. No. It was a young Greek guy, first job in the country, hardly spoke a word of English, but he came to me and he went 'Mr. Brent, will you be the Godfather to my child?'. Didn't happen in the end. We had to let him go, he was rubbish. He was rubbish!
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I don't think a comedian should even be concerned with being cool or sexy, as soon as you do, you aren't a comedian any more. Looks are still the most important thing for women when it comes to meeting a partner. And that's fair enough, but a sense of humour is really important too. For starters, it's a great indicator of whether you are going to get on. If the first time you go on a date you don't find each other funny, there's a fundamental problem.
When I direct my own scripts, it's much easier as it's been in my head for a year already. What I love about this is having an idea and seeing it come to fruition onscreen. I would like to direct someone else's script one day, but I might not get round to it before I die - you can't legislate for being hit by a bus!
I think, as a comedian, the funniest you can be is with people you know, and [whom] you've known for years, in a pub. That's as funny as you get, and so the aim [while stand-up] is to get that funny on stage with 5,000 strangers, to get that funny in a room where people shouldn't be listening but they are.
I was okay with singing. I always sneak a song into everything I do. Dancing, a little awkward. Little embarrassed about that. I don't move well. But I was with a frog, so it doesn't matter. I'll do anything with a frog, that's my motto. He's great with tap-dancing or flap-dancing on my head. So no one's going to be looking at me when we're doing that dance. They're going to be saying, 'There's a frog dancing'.
In a safe Western world where we're not being shot at and we're not starving, the worst thing that happens to us most days is someone's rude to us, or we accidentally insult someone. Social faux pas is the worst thing that happens to most people, most days, so we've got to concentrate on that, really.
I used to believe in God. The Christian one, that is (There are a few thousand to choose from. But I was born in a country where the dominant religion was Christianity so I believed in that one. Isn't it weird how that always happens?). Luckily I was also interested in science and nature. And reason and logic. And honesty and truth. And equality and fairness. By the age of eight I was an atheist.
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I like big escapist films. It's odd because the type of comedian I am and the things I do when I'm writing and directing myself usually deal with the darker side of the human psyche and excruciating social faux pas. I often deal in taboos and the subjects I do as a stand-up are quite challenging. But my film roles have been much more fun and escapist.
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I get so sick of people asking: "What's your demographic?" Or: "Oh we've got to aim this at..." No, you have to aim it at you. You do the thing you would love... make the thing you would love and be proud of. There's enough people in the world that, if you do that and do it well as a single vision, they'll go: "That's my favourite thing ever!"
Someone trying to be funny probably isn't as funny as someone who doesn't want to be funny but is and can't help it. Someone being serious or angry might be funny. If you get angry, the first thing I want to do is laugh because I don't know why you're getting that angry. Pathos makes me laugh, funerals make me laugh.
Science seeks the truth. And it does not discriminate. For better or worse it finds things out. Science is humble. It knows what it knows and it knows what it doesn't know. It bases its conclusions and beliefs on hard evidence - - evidence that is constantly updated and upgraded. It doesn't get offended when new facts come along. It embraces the body of knowledge. It doesn't hold on to medieval practices because they are tradition.
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When you think of things like The Sopranos, The Wire, Damages, they are beating film on a regular basis. Most films are terrible. It's only the 2% that are good. There's things you can do on TV which you can't do on film. There is something about those episodic, serialisations that are grand and operatic.
Hotel bars are pretty good. No one bothers me there. Restaurants are safe. People are quite respectful when you're eating. But what I never do now is go to a busy bar on the weekend, or after 8 o'clock at night. That's the danger zone. Also being trapped. Never go on the Metro, or a bus.
Sometimes I'll be confident and go into a shop and say, "Hello, yeah, all right," and then the next day, if someone looks at me or talks to me, I just don't know what to do. If you're walking down the street with a baseball cap, you might be fine. But if you're in a pub and you see someone look at you, you think the worst thing in the world now is if they come over. It's a really weird feeling.
I always knew I had to be 100 percent in charge, even when I was a middle manager. I used to say to my boss, "Just give me enough rope and then fire me." I always knew I had to be 100 percent in charge, even when I was a middle manager. I used to say to my boss, "Just give me enough rope and then fire me."
The terrible thing in England is if you interview a thousand people, five hundred of them will talk like they're going into a Guy Ritchie movie and the other five hundred will be Mr. Darcy. So we had to find cool, working class kids with no profile who could be John Travolta and James Dean and people like that.
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I've probably done the odd thing. I've probably done more than I would have done and some things you don't say no to. You don't say no to working with "The Simpsons"... the greatest comedy show on television. You mustn't. Even though going to my bad judgment, I remember saying that all I can do is make this show slightly worse.
We didn't evolve; God made us. So I just want to explain to you exactly how that happened... Some of the things you'll hear do sound a little bit far-fetched. I admit that. Then I found out that the other name for The Bible is The Gospel, so it is all true. Luckily, the clue is in the title.
I don't feel any pressure at all because I don't care. That's an occupational hazard... but if you're doing anything of any worth, and not doing something that's safe and anodyne and trying to be populist and a national treasure, then you've got to assume that as many people hate what you do - and you - as like what you do and like you.