For me, the problem isn't The Office or even Extras, much of which was well-aimed satire and laugh-out-loud funny: the problem is that Gervais isn't the right centre to focus on. The Office was a team effort: the other characters were as interesting as David Brent: it wasn't 'The Trials and Tribulations of David Brent' every week, it was him, people reacting to him, other things happening away from him, all delivered by an excellent ensemble cast of comic actors who have gone on to other good things. I haven't seen Life's Too Short or Derek because neither of them have interested me enough to even watch on youtube, and I think one reason is that they are too Gervais-centric: one because he is the eponymous character, and the other because he's supposedly the viewer's cipher interacting with the unusual protagonist, and I don't sympathise with Gervais enough to let him be that for me (does anyone follow this?).
And his Hollywood films suffer from the same thing. I don't want Ricky Gervais as a romantic hero. I just don't. Sorry.
Jimmy Carr made a good point about comedians somewhere or other: He said that some successful comedians are loved, others aren't - he is one that isn't loved by his audience; they come to his gigs expecting a series of (cruel) jokes, not mateyness, so he can't rely on audience goodwill unless he delivers punchline after punchline. I think the comedians like Russell Howard and, from another generation, perhaps Lenny Henry, go onstage into an atmosphere of "Hello, mate!"-sympathy. Carr says he doesn't, and Gervais definitely doesn't. That doesn't stop him being funny, but he should understand that he can't have it both ways: he can either play the alienated, cynical card, or the cuddly and nice card. I think Stephen Merchant does cuddly and nice better - and is probably quietly enjoying his income, as opposed to loudly trying to make enemies for laughs.
I am now going to get back to work, and sue Britmovie for loss of earnings.
PS. Here's a thought: it's already over ten years since The Office first came on our screens, and it's still very much a reference point in TV comedy discussions.