Is Karl Pilkington for real?

In The Idiot Abroad thread a side conversation on whether Karl was really as, well, idiotic as he appeared or whether it was a put on. At first I tended to lead toasted genuine until I saw YouTubes of the animated Karl shorts on the Ricky Gervais Show. Here’s an example:

I can’t imagine anyone taking so much shit from his alleged friends unless it was at least partly scripted.

I’d post links to his wiki and the other thread but I still haven’t got the swing of posting with my IPod.

Real idiots are not anywhere near that entertaining. I vote for inspired comic character, with excellent improv ability.

Someone should kill auto-correct.

I think it’s an exaggerated version of himself. He plays it up, and makes money from it, but I think there’s a kernel of the real person there.

I think it’s pretty much really him. Some people really are just weird. I don’t get a scripted or phony vibe. I think Karl might possibly be in the autistic spectrum.

I know people who aren’t that different from Karl. What makes him seem so … interesting(?) … is the way he is used by Ricky and Steve. They take partial comments and riff on them, they are really good at it and it’s hilarious. The fact that Karl talks so lowly helps them. If any of us allowed ourselves to be in the position of being cut off and laughed at by two professionals we would appear stupid too. Why he puts up with it is the only question I have. I think they are actually friends and karl no doubt makes money on the deal.

This is my take. I don’t think (what I’ve heard from the radio) show is scripted–I think there are rough outlines for topics or main story points or whatever, but no script. However, I don’t think the guy is autistic or anything like that. My vibe is he’s just one of those people who likes to play the fool for yucks and attention. I don’t really think he believes in everything he says, and I believe he says a lot just for effect. Like I said in the other thread, I’ve known people who act exactly like this, and Karl comes across like these people, except with even more brilliance and an unerring sense of humor.

But I do also think the thoughts are his own, and there may be a little kernel of himself in some/most of his exchanges. I have no doubt that when he travels he has these weird thoughts to himself–don’t we all? I know I do. Except I don’t say them aloud or riff on them, exaggerate for a radio or TV show. My impression is that this is exactly what he does.

I actually sense that Ricky and Stephen have a lot of affection for him, no matter how much they mess with him during the show, and it sounds like they are friends with him outside the show.

Sure. I don’t get the sense there’s any ill will there whatsoever.

I think Ricky, more than the glasses guy, comes out looking like a jerk. Which he has no problem with. The wiki on Karl says he scored an 86 on an IQ test. I don’t believe that. How could Karl come up with “the fish is so see-through it’s invisible. I don’t think it knows it exists.”?

Man, I wish I was on my real computer so I could look these things up. Everything I just typed is paraphrased and off the top of my head.

That reminds me of when they were talking about dopplegangers, for some reason, and they asked Karl what he would do if he saw his own doppleganger, and Karl asked, “how would I know which one was me?”

You would think he can’t possibly be that dumb, but I think he just doesn’t process information that clearly.

Definitely affection. I think they just met Pilkington working for their show. They fell in love with his dumbness. It’s so…genuine.

Janet: o/ His dumb is so sinceeeere! o/

It’s mostly real.

I was wondering the same question and took the effort of going back to listen to the old XFM Ricky Gervais radio show and then listened to the seasons of episodes of the podcast (from which the cartoon is culled in edited form), all of which predates An Idiot Abroad.

Karl started out as a producer for the radio show and was only incrementally woven into Gervais’ shows as Gervais himself became more and more fascinated with him until the show became all about him. The question of whether Karl is the real deal obviously came up constantly and Gervais consistently responds by saying he wishes he was brilliant enough to come up with “Karl.”

I think, however, that Karl knows certain aspects of himself are his meal ticket and is likely to play up certain aspects of it, but at the root of it, I’m sure it’s him.

Things I shoulda done but didn’t because I couldn’t wait until I got home to start this thread:

The original Idiot Abroad thread.
Karl Pilkington’s wiki page.

Even though he has repeatedly said he isn’t doing a second season, it has been announced that there is going to be An Idiot Abroad 2: The Bucket List. Which makes me believe even more that Karl is a character. Especially since he made a minor stink about not being paid for the first series.

We need to hear from his girlfriend (wiki has her down has ‘spouse’) to see what she has to say about it.

I concur with Serum. Listen to the old XFM shows, they are from ca year 2000. He was the same way back then. Before any ambitions of fame at all. Yes S & R brings out the best of him. But he is not a made up character. Its the real deal even though he might exaggerate certain idiosyncrasies of his personality.

I think he was making a pretty good argument there. The doppelgänger Ricky and Steve were proposing was an exact duplicate, not just a look-alike. They told him something like ‘You know which one is you, because you’d be you!’, to which he replied ‘Yeah…but that’s what the other one is saying’.
I can’t fault that reasoning.

More importantly …

Why did they black out native boobies and Brazilian butts?

What I can’t understand, with this being a popular topic and Karl being pretty well known, is why I can’t find anything on the net written by someone who went to school with him, or worked with him or lives near him.

Or even that radio show he did pre-Gervais. It was apparently some advice call-in show for a station in Manchester.