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“除了自己,我不讨好任何人” | 双语哈评

原标题:“除了自己,我不讨好任何人” | 双语哈评

2001年,英国电视喜剧《办公室》(The Office)走红时,瑞奇·格维斯(Ricky Gervais)40岁。此后,这位前学生会活动经理继续编剧、制作、导演并出演了另一部热门剧集《临时演员》(Extras),参与了几部好莱坞电影,完成了四次全场售罄的喜剧巡演,并与合作者斯蒂芬·莫昌特(Stephen Merchant)制作了一部全球下载量第一的播客剧集。他主持了2010年和2011年的金球奖颁奖典礼,两次都引发争议。

HBR:为什么《办公室》这么成功?

格维斯:办公室这个情境人人都很熟悉。来自不同地方的人偶然相聚,希望有归属感——这些都很容易让人有共鸣。无论把它搬到英国或美国的任何地方,或者以色列,都不会改变这点。我有七年在办公室工作的经历。我一开始是前台,然后是经理助理,之后成为中层。我知道这是什么感觉。我认识的很多人都太在意别人的评价,没有自己的追求,剧中的大卫·布伦特(David Brent)就是这类人的化身。他最大的罪过,就是把受欢迎等同于被尊重。这都让我演出来了。

你本人是哪类老板?

呃,希望我比布伦特更自知一些吧。这有点搞笑,因为我之前参加过管理培训,对那套东西很不屑。但之后我做了一些团队建设工作,发现我在不由自主地应用所学。我确实喜欢创造有趣的工作环境,也知道最重要的是坦率、公平。这样的话,也许人们会因为没捞到好处而不高兴,但怪不着你。

在创作方面你要求完全的控制权,是这样吗?

没错,我就是个法西斯。你应该来做一下艺术试试。我不觉得自己是全世界最好的制作人、导演或演员,但我知道我想要什么。除了自己,我谁也不讨好。如果别人喜欢我的东西,棒呆了。如果不喜欢,也挺好。如果妥协,做出来的就是非常同质化的东西,它会让很多人喜欢,但不会爱。我想做的永远是能真正感动100万人的作品,而不是让1000万人随便看看的东西。

讲讲你是怎么和别人合作的。

这个,拿斯蒂芬来说,两个脑袋总比一个好用,而且也好玩。但总会有妥协,这点不好。所以我们有一条黄金法则:任何点子都是一票否决制。不需要解释和证明,说不行就不行。放弃的材料当然很多,但最终做出来的东西能让我们在当时、在25年后都为之自豪。剧场方面,我有1万名合作者,包括评论家。我的戏不断在进化,只保留观众喜欢的东西。如果观众不笑,段子就不用存在了。

你为什么这么拼?

我爸是干体力活的,每天早上5点半起床,50年风雨无阻,以演艺圈标准来看收入非常低。我时刻提醒自己不要忘本。丘吉尔曾说,如果找到热爱的工作,你就永远不用工作了。这正是我的感觉。我曾经很懒,没上进心,纯混日子。但现在我是个工作狂,因为我很感恩自己有现在的条件。作品让我出名,但名声不是我工作的动力。我享受的是工作的过程,而不是金钱或赞誉。不是自发想做的事,给我100万我也不会做,从来都是这样。

请你说说一次失败的经历。

有一阵我想当明星。我以为会成功,但那不是我想做的。结果当然是惨败,那是我应得的。当然,我很高兴我那时失败了。

英文原文

Ricky Gervais was 40 years old when his British television mock-documentary The Office became a hit, in 2001. The former student-union events manager has gone on to write, produce, direct, and perform in another hit show, Extras; several Hollywood films; four sellout comedy tours; and a podcast series that is the most downloaded in the world—most of that work in collaboration with partner Stephen Merchant. He hosted the 2010 and 2011 Golden Globes awards ceremonies, courting controversy both times. Interviewed by Alison Beard

HBR: Why was The Office such a success?

Gervais: It was a setting everyone knew: You work there for eight hours a day, it’s arbitrary who you work with, you don’t all like it. It was about being thrown together, wanting to belong, making a difference—all those things everyone identifies with immediately, and it doesn’t matter if you’re in Slough or Scranton or Israel or any other place The Office is remade. It’s about normal people trying to get a piece. Also, write what you know. I worked in an office for seven years. I started off on reception, then I was assistant to the manager, and then I became middle management. I knew what it was like. David Brent was a Frankenstein of those people I’ve met who worry more about their reputation than their character. That can manifest itself in pretension, being needy, being two-faced, all those things we threw in. His worst crime was mistaking popularity for respect. I got it all right. It was my experience, my vision. And I nailed it.

What sort of boss are you?

Well, hopefully, a lot more self-aware than Brent. It’s funny, because in my previous job I went to management training and I was cynical. But then I quite got into team building and realized I was doing it intuitively. I did like creating a fun place to work, and having a drink with everyone after hours. And I knew that the most important thing in managing a team is to be up-front and fair. Then, people might not like what you do, because they’re not getting the thick end of the wedge, but they can’t have you on it.

You insist on complete creative control, right?

Yes, I’m a complete fascist—and you should be in art. I don’t think I’m the best producer or director or actor in the world, but I know how I want it done. I don’t try to please anyone except myself. If people like what I do, fantastic. If they don’t, that’s good, too. If you start trying to water it down or second-guess, you end up with something so safe and homogenized that a lot of people will like it, but they won’t love it. I’ve always preferred to do something that really moves a million people rather than something that washes over 10 million. The more successful you get, the more hated you are, but you should relish that, because it means you’re making a connection. And that’s the point of art.

Why did you cut the original Office series off, but then allow it to be replicated in different countries by different producers?

When you do everything yourself, you either run out of ideas or you repeat yourself or the quality goes down. When you franchise out, it can keep going but it’s not really your baby. When we did the American Office, they wanted me to play Michael Scott, and they wanted me to write and direct. We said, “What’s the point?” It should be made by Americans for Americans. And it’s great, because what comes back is your favorite sitcom that you didn’t have anything to do with.

Mainly, though, I had a backlog of ideas. I’ve got, you know, four or five things in production, but another 10 waiting; I’m deciding which ones to do and in what order. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do them all. It’s like that Keats poem: if I should die “before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain.” I started late. I don’t want to die with a good idea. I want to get it out.

Explain how you work collaboratively.

Well, with Stephen, two heads are better than one, and it’s fun. But there’s a compromise, which is bad, because the best things are a single vision. So you’ve got to find that between the two of you, and it’s luck that out of six billion people I bumped into someone who sees eye-to-eye with me on about 90% of everything we talk about. We find subjects we’re both excited about to keep conflict down. We have this golden rule: With any idea in all our brainstorming, one veto and it’s out. We don’t have to justify why we don’t like it. It just goes. Of course, the cutting-room floor is knee-deep. But the finished product we’re both proud of—not only at the time, but also in 25 years’time.

With stand-up, I’ve got a room of 10,000 collaborators and critics. Tens of thousands of people have come out and paid $60, they’ve arranged a babysitter, they’ve found a parking space, so I’d better have something to say. But what do I talk about? My voice is playing the politically incorrect character, but my target is always the sensibilities of me and everyone else: middle-class angst, prejudice, pretension. I’m saying, “You thought you couldn’t laugh here, but you can, because now you see the target is you.”

My act is an evolution, and a process of natural selection, where the audience chooses the best bits. They either laugh or they don’t, and if they don’t, the joke doesn’t survive. So what you’re left with at the end of a series of gigs is survival of the fittest.

Why do you work so hard?

I remind myself it really isn’t work. My dad was a laborer who got up at 5:30 each morning and worked for 50 years in all weathers for, by showbiz standards, petty cash. I remind myself of that every time I feel a bit hard done by. Winston Churchill said if you find a job you love, you’ll never work again. And that’s what it feels like. I used to be a lazy person, unambitious, a slacker, but now I’m a workaholic, because of the privileged position I’ve found myself in.

Fame is an upshot of what I do. If you’re a successful comedian or actor, then you’re a famous one. But it’s a by-product. It’s not the driving force. The making of it is the fun for me—not the money or the awards. It’s the process that I love, and the most exciting part is the creative thought. I’ve never done anything for a million pounds that I wouldn’t have done for free. Likewise, the awards are a thrill, but deep down I know it’s only the opinions of a few people; it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose. What matters is the work. You tried your hardest and you’re proud of it. That’s the important thing.

Tell me about a time you failed.

Well, I certainly failed at being a pop star, and that was my fault, because I was trying to be a pop star and I should have been trying to be a musician. That taught me a lesson. I was only 20, and I wasn’t doing what I wanted, I was doing what I thought would be successful. So I deserved to fail. And I’m glad I did, obviously.

Would you have been successful at comedy if you’d tried it earlier?

A bit earlier maybe. But in comedy, I think you need to find a voice, and probably a discontented one. With me, it was getting fat and approaching middle age. Comedy is also about experience. It isn’t just making people laugh, it’s making people think. If you’re not doing that, you’re not really a comedian, you’re a clown. So experience aids that. Maturity, age—that all helps. I couldn’t have written The Office when I was 20. What was I telling someone?

艾莉森·比尔德(Alison Beard) | 文

王晨 | 译 蒋荟蓉 | 校 万艳| 编辑

原文参见《哈佛商业评论》中文版2019年2月刊。

《哈佛商业评论》

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