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Before He Was Roasting Celebrities at the Golden Globes, Ricky Gervais Was an ’80s Philippine Pop Star

Who remembers 'More to Lose?'
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We know him as the grump from The Office and the comedic grouch who loves being politically incorrect. But before he was roasting celebrities at the Golden Globes to the point of tears (theirs, not his), some of us might remember Ricky Gervais as a pop star and teen heartthrob in the Philippines back in the ’80s.

Decades before the world discovered his snarky humor, Gervais was the unknown musician behind “More to Lose,” a “new wave” pop anthem that became a hit with Philippine teenagers. A single by Seona Dancing, a duo made up of singer Ricky Gervais and composer Bill Macrae, “More to Lose” was first aired in the Philippines in 1985 by DWRT-FM (99.5 Play FM).

Because DWRT-FM knew just how popular the song would be with the Filipino youth, it purposely hid the real name of the song, billing it as “Fade” by the band Medium, and sometimes even “Medium” by the band Fade. The station even inserted its brand name midway through the song to prevent other stations from airing the music.  

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The 80s were a tumultuous time in Philippine history, what with martial law and a revolution. And music, as it turned out, was a great escape for many. Dance clubs played “More to Lose” on repeat and new wave teenagers couldn’t get enough of Gervais, who was back then a fresh college grad from England with killer eyebrows, high-waisted pants, a visible jawline, and gelled hair that would make even Harry Styles jealous. He looked like the illegitimate androgynous lovechild of David Bowie and, well, Ricky Gervais. As for his music, it honestly wasn’t that bad. Take a listen:

Although Seona Dancing never moved beyond its 15 minutes of fame, Gervais went on to become a famous comedian, known for making celebrities increasingly uncomfortable. As for how he looks back at his formative years as a pop star in the Philippines: “I was a f***ing nightmare. Then I got fat; that was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

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Abroad, Seona Dancing and “More to Lose” are only remembered in Gervais’ sparse interviews. But here in the Philippines, where the 80s never ended, Ricky Gervais’ high-waisted pants era lives on in Manila’s old taxis and ancient department stores where “More to Lose” continues to play—incessantly—for the oldies who remember the good old days. As for the youngins, they have YouTube to commemorate Seona Dancing, particularly with a video dedicated to the young Gervais, aptly named “Embarrassing 80s.”

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Anri Ichimura
Staff Writer, Esquire Philippines
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