You may have seen them animated on Channel 4 and marketed as the Ricky Gervais Show. I do like these, but I was fan before all the hype. It's always nice to think you were there in the beginning rather than just jumping on the bandwagon.
More often than not, I listen to even older stuff. Before the Ricky Gervais Show, Steve Merchant, Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington had a show on XFM which was similar to the podcasts but in which they played music and recorded live. In some ways these are funnier because they are unedited, and you hear the stories for the first time. A lot of the stories are repeated again on the podcasts, so Ricky and Steve's reactions are slightly forced to make it seem like they haven't heard it all before.
If you haven't heard of the shows, they basically involve Ricky Gervais (the British comedian who wrote the Office... if you haven't heard of him WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?), Steven Merchant who co-wrote the office with Ricky, and Karl Pilkington. Karl was discovered by the two when they were given him as their producer on the XFM shows, and they quickly discovered he was comedy gold.
Karl appears to be a fairly simple bloke from Manchester. He is academically bright, but despite his gormless expression and apparent stupidity, he is fairly quick witted. He is stubborn and has his own opinions but is in no way arrogant. It is Karl that makes the recordings so funny and interesting, from his incredible upbringing (his stories could be out of a fairy tale), to his alternative views he is pure hilarity. It is when you find yourself agreeing with things he has said that you start to get worried.
Ricky and Steve alternate from being engrossed by Karl, to telling him to shut up and stop being an idiot. There comedy banter keeps the shows rolling and provide endless entertainment.
If you haven't heard the shows, you can find Series 1 Episode 1 here, or download any of the series from Itunes. You may be able to catch the animated versions on 4OD.
I'll leave you with some of my favourite quotes from the show:
Karl: A jelly fish is 97% water. Why don't we just give it another 3% and make it water.
Ricky: I love the fact that we've just talked about him asking me nicely not to squeeze his head when people are around and the girl who ages so quickly she should be served in Oddbins but he goes "we've got some weird stuff coming up".
Karl: You never see an old man eating a twix
Ricky: Be careful with the language. Screw, damn, and bloody do not a sermon make.
Ricky (about Karl): His head is perfectly round.
Steve: Rick I sometimes get off the tube at Tottenham Court Road if I want to look at the record shops before I come into XFM and I always cut through Chinatown, and every time I come through Chinatown the same thought always strikes me, I always feel like I want to gather all the little locals, all the little Chinese fellas, just gather them round and just go "guys, in what way is this a town?"