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TODAY   |  September 10, 2013

Ricky Gervais: My new sitcom is ‘uplifting’

The British performer known for such dark comedy as the original version of “The Office” talks to TODAY’s Matt Lauer about his new Netflix series “Derek,” about a middle-aged caretaker at a retirement home, saying that the new show’s main message is kindness.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> the co-creator of the hit show "the office" and is known for poking fun at the golden globes . now he plays a caregiver in a retirement home .

>> i'm grounded.

>> get all of this off. it's soaking. you're going to get pneumonia.

>> what from.

>> ricky gervais , good morning again, good to see you.

>> hello.

>> how have you been?

>> good, thank you.

>> busy, though, obviously.

>> but that's a good thing, isn't it?

>> i'm doing this show and the muppets and hanging out with you.

>> which is nice.

>> i try to make time for that.

>> we like that. thank you very much. they sent me a link for this show to watch it last night and i came away -- surprised is too simple a word. i came away smiling and i hope you understand what i mean by that. it's not what i expected, though.

>> it's not an out and out comedy. i always snuck comedy into my stuff. it's a sitcom but it's a show about kindness and people are surprised that i'm nice. which is an insult.

>> yeah, no, i don't --

>> i always knew i was nice.

>> i wasn't surprised you were nice but i was -- you find yourself waiting for more punch lines until you realize that's not what this is about.

>> no, it's about a group of sort of -- i suppose they're flawed characters. they're sort of outsiders and they work together in this old people's home and it's about them passing on their kindness. and the reason they're like that, a bit flawed and not too bright is so kindness can come along and trump everything. it's uplifting. it's sad but uplifting as well.

>> it comes from a place, i think, in your personal history.

>> yeah, most of my family growing up were care workers. they worked in old people's homes. some for alzheimer's. i worked in an office for ten years and i wrote a sitcom about it. extras about my life in showbiz. something resinates more if it's realistic and from the heart. but it is a sitcom. i don't want people to think it's depressing.

>> it's not a tear jerker.

>> no, it's sweet and funny.

>> you chose to go to netflix route with this. you can watch one episode at a time or you can binge. you can eat one slice or the whole pizza.

>> do you binge?

>> yes. the latest one is probably house of cards . watching four or five a night.

>> do you like consuming television that way?

>> i love it and i think most people do. i think netflix, it's giving people what they want which is choice, when they want to watch it and where they want to watch it and how much they want to watch at once. when i went to netflix i said i think you're the future and now they're the present. this is happening now. tv habits are changing.

>> i was mentioned when i had you on you had 5 million twitter followers. i asked you one question, you like black socks . this is going to be tougher.

>> yeah, yeah.

>> somebody on twitter wanted to know what inspired you to go into comedy?

>> i don't know, really. i've always been -- i've always liked funny people. my friend versus always been funny. it's always been there but as a profession, my first love when i was five or six. i never lost that. and a lot of influences were american influences. modern stuff like curb enthusiasm. i have always loved american stuff.

>> we like your stuff too.

>> i'm going to go jump in there with keith urban now.

>> you are?

>> yeah.

>> it's good to see you. derek is on netflix starting this thursday. up next, natalie