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Ricky Gervais Sparks Debate After Joking About Terminally-Ill Kids In New Netflix Special

Gervais jokes about fulfilling dying children's wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation in his upcoming Netflix special 'Armageddon'—but not everyone is finding the humor in that topic.

Ricky Gervais
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Ricky Gervais' Netflix special Armageddon comes out on Christmas Day, but the comedian is already being slammed over a clip showing him making jokes about terminally-ill children.

Gervais himself posted the "Make a Wish" clip to social media, and it has already amassed more than 3 million views. But we can't say that everyone is entertained.

The bit began with Gervais revealing he's been making videos for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“I’ve been doing a lot of video messages recently for terminally ill children. Only if they request it, obviously."
“I don’t burst into hospitals and go, ‘Wake up, baldy. Look at me twerking on TikTok.'”

He continued that he always starts each video the same way, asking:

“Why didn’t you wish to get better? What, you f**king r*tarded as well?”

You can watch below.

WARNING: NSFW language

Needless to say, many viewers weren't laughing.

Katherine Litchen, whose son Teddy suffers from neuroblastoma, told the Daily Express:

"[It's] troubling that Gervais used an ableist slur – r*tarded – to describe terminally ill children."
"The word is a weapon of derision towards those who are born with or acquire a disability, and Gervais’ use of it in a globally aired stand up comedy show is helping to maintain the social acceptability of discrimination against disabled people.”

Former soccer player Ashley Cain, who lost his 8-month-old daughter to leukemia in 2021, also spoke out about the tasteless joke, posting on his Instagram stories, according to Mirror UK:

“I was actually a fan of Ricky Gervais but after watching his stand up with my family and hearing multiple jokes about terminally ill children and especially kids with cancer I had to turn it off.”
“Some things are not funny, especially to the parents that are left behind."
"You can get cancelled in this world for so much, yet making a mockery of dying children is ok? I’m so mad at this!”

Others online expressed their outrage, as well.

Of course, there were also those spouting the age-old argument that nothing is off-limits when it comes to comedy.

After the bit, Gervais explained to his audience that he doesn't use the "r-word" in real life.

"I'm playing a role."
"You wouldn't level the accusation to other art forms."
"You wouldn't go up to Sir Anthony Hopkins and go, 'I saw you in 'Silence of the Lambs,' what so, you're a cannibal, are you?'"

But then he landed this joke by telling the crowd that if he did his comedy "not very well," it would be... "f**king r*tarded."

Oh, dear.