Ricky Gervais is best known for his portrayal as an out-of-touch, delusional, sad-sack middle manager in "The Office." But he seems to be completely in touch with iPod denizens. "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 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" (guardian.co.uk/rickygervais).
Now, five weeks in, Gervais remains a bit stunned by his success. In last week's episode, No. 5, Gervais says 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" with no entourage 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 they should explore whether anyone else wants to support the show, or at the very least, start asking any marketers that use monkeys in their ad campaigns to back "Monkey News."