Ricky Dene Gervais (English pronunciation: /dʒərˈveɪz/; born 25 June 1961) is an English comedian, actor, director, radio presenter, producer, musician, and writer. Golden Globe Winner for Best Comedy Series and Best Comic Actor.
Gervais achieved mainstream fame with his television series The Office and the subsequent series Extras, both of which he co-wrote and co-directed with friend and frequent collaborator Stephen Merchant. In addition to writing and directing the shows, Gervais also played the lead roles of David Brent in The Office and Andy Millman in Extras. Gervais has also starred in a number of Hollywood films, assuming leading roles in Ghost Town and The Invention of Lying. He has performed on four sell-out stand-up comedy tours, written the best-selling Flanimals book series and starred with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington in the most downloaded podcast in the world as of March 2009, The Ricky Gervais Show.
He says he is an atheist on his DVD "Ricky Gervais: Animals - Live."
In a Daily Mirror interview "I'm basically a 'do unto others' type person. I don't have any religious feelings because I'm an atheist, but I live my life like there's a God. And if there was he'd probably love me."
From an interview published in The Onion (22-28 April 2004):
Q: did you feel any obligation to thank your fellow nominees, or did any of the usual awards speech stuff?
Gervais: ...Thank you very much. I don't believe in God, so I'd like to thank dogs. Dogs have given me everything.
From his February 2008 essay in BestLife Magazine: "My Argument With God - How I went from Jesus-loving Christian to fun-loving infidel...in one afternoon" ...
…within an hour, I was an atheist.
Wow. No God. If Mum had lied to me about God, had she also lied to me about Santa? yes, but who cares? The gifts kep coming. And so did the gifts of my newfound atheism. The gifts of truth, science, nature. The real beauty of this world. Not a world by design, but one by chance. I learned of evolution—a theory so simple and obvious that only England's greatest genius could have come up with it. Evolution of plants, animals, and us—with imagination, free will, love and humor. I no longer needed a reason for my existence, just a reason to live. And imagination, free will, love, humor, fun, music, sports, beer, and pizza are all good enough reasons for living.
But living an honest life—for that you need the truth. That's the other thing I learned that day, that the truth, however shocking or uncomfortable, in the end leads to liberation and dignity.
See full essay for the rest.
"I don't want to die any more than anyone else. And I think there's this strange myth that atheists have nothing to live for. It's the opposite. We have nothing to die for and everything to live for." - Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais and Piers Morgan on CNN
As one of the most celebrated comic talents of his generation, Ricky Gervais is well known for his myriad creative projects, such as The Office, Extras and an episode of The Simpsons which he wrote and starred in. However, despite the many interviews he has done, his religious beliefs are less well known. “I remember the day I became an atheist,” Gervais said in an interview with the Sunday Times. Gervais has never been afraid of expressing his opinions, and if asked, seems inclined to offer an honest answer. His views on religion are perhaps not surprising for a man who looks at the world with such a critical eye.
In 2009 he wrote, directed and starred in the film "The Invention of Lying". In it, Gervais' character Mark Bellison basically invents religion (or "Lying" for that matter) as a way of ameliorating his ill mother's fear of death. The film uses a number of religious images. For instance, at some point Bellison sets up a number of new rules, which are written on two pizza cartons that very much resemble typical depictions of the stone plates of Moses' Ten Comandments.
As host of the Golden Globes in 2011 Gervais created a stir by thanking God "that he made me an atheist" during his closing statements.
"'Why don't you pray just in case there is a god?' For the same reason you don't cover your doorways in garlic in case there are vampires?" 
"If you want to know what it feels like being dead, just remember what it felt like for all those billions of years before you were born. OK?" 
"If your belief can be "ruined" simply by hearing an opposing view, it's probably just as well." 
"You did not exist for about 14 billion years. You exist now & when you die you will not exist again. Forever. Enjoy your existing years :)" 
"Irony: If science proved the existence of a brand new God, existing atheists would believe, & existing believers would reject the evidence." 
"You now have the least amount of time you've ever had, to do everything you've ever wanted to do. Enjoy your life. You only get one :)" 
"You are the result of billions of years of evolution. You will only live for a few years and will never exist again. Absolutely beautiful." 
"If The USA kicked out all Atheists, it would lose 93% of its scientific community and 0.3% of its prison community." 
"Since there is absolutely no logical reason to assume there is an afterlife, I decided to make the life I have now as much fun as possible." 
"The trouble with born again Christians is, they're even more annoying second time around." 
"It's almost as if The Bible was written by racist, sexist, homophobic, violent, sexually frustrated men, instead of a loving God. Weird." 
"How could gambling with your own child's life ever be considered a virtue? Dangerous, immoral, brainwashed fools."
"Any evidence that any god existed would be embraced by science more than the religious. It would be the greatest scientific discovery ever." 
"The magic and beauty of reality is more than enough. Get as much as you can before you die because there's no seconds." 
"“@gleekbabe: what do you live for if you dont belive in god?" All the real things in the world." 
"Of course I'm a happy atheist...reality is awesome." 
"If you believe in a god, just tell me why you don't believe in all the other gods. The reasons you give will be why I don't believe in yours" 
"Why can't people see the difference between the right to hold a belief and the right to have that belief respected? It's not that complex. 
"I will fight for your right to believe in any God you want. I will also believe you are totally wrong that any God exists. Cool." 
"You have the right to hold any beliefs you want. You do not have the right to have those beliefs automatically respected." 
"Calling a ridiculous belief religious does not mean it deserves any more respect than any other ridiculous belief." 
"Isn't it weird that God made a universe that perfectly coincided with the extent of the knowledge of the people who wrote the Bible. Haha." 
"My advice would be to read Genesis, read a book on evolution & then see which one you believe. Make your own mind up. Whatever it is, cool." 
"When something good happens.."Thank God" When something bad happens.. "Ooh...free will..God had nothing to do with it" Haha. Such Bullshit." 
"For someone so against religion you talk about God an awful lot" Yeah, I know a detective who talks about crime a lot. Mad isn't it? 
Karl just said "No point in prayin'. No one listens to me anyway. I 'ave a moan instead. That's what prayin' is really. A posh moan". Haha 
I love how people walk round with crucifixes, skullcaps, pointy hats, funny beards and then say "you should keep your atheism to yourself." 
"so what do you think being dead feels like?" You know what it felt like for the billions of years before you were born? Exactly like that. 
"Atheists are idiots. We need God not science!!" Says the man getting his message out on Twitter using a hand held computer. Haha 
"If you are threatened or offended by people disagreeing, challenging or even ridiculing your faith, your faith can't be that strong." 
"We're all going to die one day, so chill out and enjoy the ride. Please RT to raise awareness." 
"'bored of watching atheists argue over religion on Twitter' Turn on your TV and watch religious people kill over it in real life then." 
"The most annoying part about people believing in an afterlife is that they'll never get to know they were wrong." 
"I see Atheists are fighting and killing each other again, over who doesn't believe in any God the most. Oh, no..wait.. that never happens." 
"No one should live in fear of physical violence for either worshiping any god or ridiculing the belief in any god." 
"People confuse the right to have an opinion with the right to have that opinion respected. The latter doesn't exist. The former does." 
"A Christian telling an atheist he is going to Hell is about as scary as a small child telling an adult they wont get any presents from Santa" 
"Everyone has the right to believe anything they want. And everyone else has the right to find it fucking ridiculous." 
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