�The Ricky Gervais Show on Guardian Unlimited� podcast has soared in just its fifth week to be the No. 1 podcast in the U.S. and U.K. In the first two weeks alone, the half-hour show was downloaded 451,000 times, seven times the traffic than anticipated by its Web host, Positive Internet Co. The show consists of Gervais talking with two of his buddies, �Office� co-writer Stephen Merchant and their former radio producer Karl Pilkington, about topics ranging from vampires to wooly mammoths, and a regular segment called "Monkey News." It can be downloaded from the Web site of U.K. newspaper The Guardian at http://www.guardian.co.uk/rickygervais.
�When I heard that we were the No. 1 podcast, my first thought was that it wasn't a fair fight as �The Office� is shown in over 80 countries around the world,� Gervais told The Guardian in the show�s early weeks. �Steve�s first thought was: 'Why aren�t we charging for it?' and Karl�s first thought was: �Is a chimp allowed to win the lottery?��
Now, five weeks in, Gervais remains a bit stunned by his success. This week�s episode, No. 5, opens with Gervais saying �Welcome to the world�s No. 1 podcast.� He then goes on to explain how surprised they are by their popularity, and that they�ve received more than 4,000 e-mails, which he apologizes for not being able to answer. �We�re just three little fellas ... just us in a little room,� with no entourage or anything to do their bidding.
So far, the only advertising appears to be one plug for the first-season DVD of �Extras,� Gervais' HBO show. But maybe the Guardian Unlimited should start exploring whether anyone else wants to support the show, or at the very least to start asking any marketers that use monkeys in their ad campaigns.