Even Ricky Gervais will tell you there's a bigger star on his own "The Ricky Gervais Show."
Karl Pilkington, whose oddball theories delivered with absolute certainty, make the seemingly mild-mannered producer the punching bag for Gervais and writing partner Stephen Merchant. A bruised, but unbowed, star is born to an American television audience.
Karl certainly drives the conversation in the cult-classic podcasts (boasting the Internet download record) which have been animated for the show premiering on HBO Friday..
"He's just a child, an idiot. He's not causing offense. He's not familiar with the appropriate way of talking in civil society," Merchant said of Karl in a recent press conference. "He's just a moron. Not in a medical way. He shouldn't be in a home."
"He was this ever-ending well of stuff. And he sees the world differently."
The show (from the creators of "The Office" and "Extras") is simply these hilarious conversations generally started by one of Karl's outrageous theories. "It's imperative to know these are real conversations," said Merchant. "They are not planned or scripted. We sit behind the microphones and discuss things."
One Pilkington obsession is monkeys and Monkey News is a regular feature on the show. He finds "true stories" by scouring the Internet. "Basically Karl is fascinated with monkeys. He obsessed with them. He thinks they are small hairy humans. He looks a lot like a monkey which probably helps," said Merchant. "There are monkeys running barber shops. Monkeys having affairs with women behind zookeepers' back."
"We would holler at him in anger," says Merchant. "I'm sure people are putting these stories on the web for him to find."
Monkey news or monkey b.s., it doesn't matter. The show is grab-your-stomach funny for all of God's creatures.
Merchant thinks the man who outweirds Seinfeld's Kramer (because Karl is real) could be the year's unlikely breakout star.
"One of Ricky's motivations for doing this is to make Karl famous," said Merchant. "He would find it amusing to see Karl harangued in the street by fans."
"Karl would hate being famous."