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Karl is an idiot. Listen carefully to the first season of XFM. He had had many years in radio before the show with Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant, but he had just been the producer, the bloke who pushed the buttons. At the beginning of the first season he doesn’t say much, outside of the occasional chiming in and quip as often happens with radio and podcast producers.
However, he would on occaision say very very strange and stupid things. So, Ricky started caring him out, and got him talking more and more. By the end of the first season he had essentially revealed himself. And he was not just an actor.
He wasn’t an idiot either- but he was very simple, curious, almost child like in demeanor. If anything, he reminds me of people with aspbergers I know considering his relative intelligence, curiosity, and ability to specialize knowledge (Monkeys and esoteric facts), and at the same time his lack of focus (often abandoning segments), lack of work ethic, and disregard for normal social conventions (despises socialization and with little empathy, blatant disregard for other cultures, gays and midgets, no fear of saying what’s on his mind regardless of general consensus or offense, etc). These all fit very well with a diagnosis somewhere on the spectrum.
Its not really fair to call him an idiot, he’s quite the intelligent man when you get rIt down to it- *simple* is a much better word to describe him, or somewhere on the autistic spectrum. However, if we are going to use a very archaic and non-PC definition, he could well be called an ‘idiot’ since autists were often called as much.
He does doubtless play stuff up for the cameras (I noted it around the fourth season of the XFM shows where he really started getting into whacky territory) but at his heart, the XFM program and all available evidence lead me to believe that Karl Pilkington is, under some definitions, an **idiot**.
Source: Someone who’s listened to every episode of the XFM radio show about a dozen times (I wish that was a joke) and all of the podcasts about 5 or 6 times. And with several aspie relatives.