15/05/2013 16:43 BST | Updated 15/07/2013 10:12 BST

Ricky Gervais Tells GQ Magazine He Doesn't Watch The US Version Of 'The Office', Never Even Read The Scripts

Ricky Gervais has admitted that, despite his massive royalty cheques for the US version of The Office, he has very seldom watched the show himself.

"Honestly? I don't think I've seen much of it," he tells GQ Magazine, "...It wasn't my baby. It was my rights, so I cashed the cheques. I think it was good, but I didn't have the same emotional attachment to it.

"It doesn't feel like it's mine. Now and again I'd watch one on a plane. I looked at the first few (scripts) and said 'great' and then I had things with elastic bands around them, I hadn't even opened them."

Gervais has tasted success with 'The Office', 'Extras' and most recently 'Derek', but it's still David Brent, lacking self-awareness, who is his most loved character, and responded to questions about whether he could turn out to have the same Achilles heel himself...

"This will sound arrogant: I don't worry about it at all. I think I'm pretty self-aware. I think I know what I'm doing. You know when you've been a prat, you know when you're being a prat, you know when something sounds pretentious. But you're right--by definition you don't know. It's funny, Christopher Guest said to me--we were talking about comedians we used to like and if people go off the boil--and he was basically saying: 'What if we become the people we don't rate anymore? What if we lose it and we don't know it?' And I went [grins], 'Who cares?'

Of people who criticise him now...

"They mean they don't like 'Derek' as much as 'Extras'? Science as much as Animals [two of his stand-up specials]? They mean they don't like me. That's what they mean. So they're trying to justify their dislike in a critical response. That's what I think, if I'm being brutally honest. They have to say 'The Office' was good--they have to. Not because it was, but because most people think it was. But I do love that Joseph Heller quote. A journalist said, 'If I'm being honest, I don't think you've ever written anything as good as Catch-22.' And Joseph Heller said, 'Who has?'"

Gervais's success has brought him friendship with some of his childhood idols, for example David Bowie, who appeared in a cameo role in an episode of 'Extras'...

"I don't think he knew who I was at the time, and then I got an e-mail from him saying, "So I watched that Office. I laughed. What do I do now?

"I said, 'That's weird. I just replaced Aladdin Sane on CD and then I get an e-mail from its composer.' I just started mucking about. I think it was two performers liking each other's work.

"He introduced me at Madison Square Garden--you are asking! I got him to do a little thing in Extras. I remember we went round his flat, and it's exactly as you'd expect it to be--just beautiful and tasteful and modern, and there's this wonderful statue. And I went, "Oh, that's amazing." [slips into a perfect David Bowie impression] "Yeah, the artist, what he's trying to do there is do the 3-D representation of Picasso's 2-D representation of 3-D...[pauses]... My daughter likes to hit it with a hammer." I love people like that, because they're sort of aware of who they are. The first time he buzzed me in, the concierge called up [to his flat] and said, "Mr. Jones?" Of course he's Mr. Jones! He's not f*cking David Bowie! I met David Jones."

The GQ Comedy Issue goes on newstands 21 May.

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Read the full GQ interview HERE.