After a seven-year hiatus, Ricky Gervais returned to stand-up this month in a Netflix special titled Humanity.
While his return was long-awaited, his jokes (as always) controversial and his audience enthralled, a consistent thread through the special centred on his relationship with partner, Jane.
And while his relationship with her is by no means new, nor is it a secret, by making her such a core part of his stand-up routine, Gervais – perhaps accidentally – put into sharp focus the length and concrete-nature of their union.
After all, Ricky Gervais and best-selling author Jane Fallon first began dating 36 years ago in 1982 after meeting at college. Both Fallon, 54, and Gervais, 56, were decades from fame and success in their respective fields: Ricky Gervais as Ricky Gervais and Jane Fallon as the author of eight top ten best-selling novels.
In the early 1980s, Fallon once told The Times they were broke and lived in a bedsit above a brothel in King’s Cross in London.
“Drunk, horny men ringing my doorbell all night. Grim," she told the news outlet of their early years there.
From there, Gervais had a failed career as a popstar and a long-term office job while Fallon was a successful TV producer, working on shows such as EastEnders and Teachers.
It wasn't until both were in their 40s that their respective careers took a turn and took off. In 2001, Gervais directed, produced and starred in The Office, making him an internationally recognised comedian. In 2007, Fallon published her first novel Getting Rid of Matthew which became a national bestseller.
In an interview with People last year, Gervais said he is incredibly grateful his success came much later in life.
“I said to Jane, ‘Why didn’t I do this earlier?'” he says, referring to The Office. “And she said, ‘Cause you wouldn’t have been any good at it.’ And I think it did take till I was 40 to have a voice, and to know how to deal with all this, and to do it for the right reasons. I think if I’d have done it at 21, it’d have been over in a year maybe.”