Scott Brown
October 12, 2006 AT 07:36 PM EDT

Extras: Where the elite meet to self-depre-keet. (It works with a British accent. Really.) Ricky Gervais, who launched his scathing HBO showbiz satire with cameos by an imperious Ben Stiller and a slatternly Kate Winslet, has now handed the bloody scourge to rock stars. In these previews, Coldplay’s Chris Martin plays Coldplay’s Chris Martin as a dead-eyed opportunist hawking his greatest hits album at a charity shoot for third-world poverty. ”Let’s get on with it,” snaps Martin (pictured, right, with a bewigged Gervais), ”I’ve got AIDS and Alzheimer’s after this, and Gwyneth’s making drumsticks.”

But that’s but sauce to the goose — the goose, in this case, being David Bowie, Rock Star Cameo extraordinaire. A conversation with Gervais’ sad-sack writer/actor, Andy Millman, launches Bowie into reverie. He turns to a Simpsons-convenient piano and begins composing a song called ”Little Fat Man,” which soon expands into a giant singalong.

Ah, Gervais, maestro of humiliation. What a brilliant strategy he’s concocted, having celebs act vicious, superficial and small on his show to inoculate themselves against any and all past and future charges of viciousness, superficiality and smallness. Meanwhile, Gervais gets his cameos and his laughs, and we get the supreme satisfaction of seeing the mighty at their pettiest. Praise his pug-nosed face!

Question, Popwatchers: Do you find celebrities more credible if they’re willing to depict themselves as awful people? Or do you simply suspect they really are awful people? Note: If you are a celebrity posting on the board, please don’t just flame people indiscriminately (I’m looking at you, Bea Arthur), but identify yourself for purposes of mockery.

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