As many of you will no doubt already know, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant sent their pal Karl Pilkington around the world to see The Seven Wonders. ‘Ah, isn’t that lovely’, I hear many thoughts a’thinking. Well no, it was very cruel as both the series and the diary Karl kept on his travels portray. However, Karl’s nonchalant approach to life, even in Mexico, Egypt and Jordan his main concern is running out of Monster Munch, makes the book worth a read. Even if it obviously is scripted sixty per cent of the time, with the diary entries matching what is said in the series almost word for word.
Gervais’ reasons for sending Karl the ‘round, empty-headed, part-chimp manc’, to see The Seven Wonders is to fulfil his desire to provoke Karl to his limit. A task at which he succeeds in, as Karl is a home-bird and not particularly adept to change of any sort. Gervais and Merchant conclude that, ‘He’d’ve been happier in medieval times in a village where you didn’t travel beyond the local community. That would’ve been fine for him.’
‘Yeah, making up his own theories about the moon.’
‘Terrified because he doesn’t know where it goes during the day.’
Perhaps the funniest of Karl’s entries is during his trip to Petra, where he meets ‘Jesus’. Prior to his meeting with ‘Jesus’, Merchant explains to Karl what the condition, Jerusalem Syndrome is, and that he will be meeting a man who is ‘pushing at the very parameters of consciousness.’ Karl’s response, ‘What does the ‘H’ stand for? People always say Jesus H. Christ- what’s his middle name?’ The meeting between Karl and ‘Jesus’ completely surpasses all expectation in its hilarity, and it is these gem-like entries that make the book worth reading, as it really doesn’t matter that it’s scripted when you’re falling off your seat laughing.
Whether or not Karl is a Gervais creation, which I dearly hope he isn’t, appreciate it for what it is and laugh heartily.