Gervais has long joked about his habit of using one accent (ie. his own) for all of his TV and movie roles instead of, y’know, pretending like he was from somewhere else other than the south-east of England.
Host Jimmy Fallon raised the matter Friday night, noting that Australian Eric Bana uses a “cool” New York accent in Gervais’s recent Special Correspondents movie, while Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald also uses an American accent.
“Yet you were in the film, and you’re from the U.K., and you didn’t change your accent at all,” Fallon said.
Gervais shot back, “The reason I don’t do accents is not because I can’t, it’s because I can’t be bothered,” adding, “I’m a brilliant impressionist.”
The Brit said he could actually do any impression, to which Fallon responded, “I don’t want to put on the spot.”
“It wouldn’t be putting me on the spot, I’m a genius, I’m the best,” Gervais replied with characteristic modesty. “You see those things on YouTube where people do 20 impressions in 20 seconds. I can do that, I can do it better than them.”
And so the scene was set for an attempt at a new world record for the most celebrity impressions in 30 seconds. Though of course, with Gervais, it wasn’t going to be sensible.
With the clock ticking and Fallon calling out names in quick-fire succession – Robert de Niro, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Kim Kardashian among them – Gervais tackled each one with superb skill and speed, albeit in exactly the same (British) accent, and in a voice pitched rather higher than usual.
With the 30 seconds up, Fallon declared the abysmal effort a “new world record.” Going by this particular display, it’s a safe bet Gervais won’t be trying any different accents in future roles anytime soon.
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