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What is a 'cosh'? Ricky Gervais Netflix special teaches US fans UK slang

Eve Edwards May 25, 2022
Today - Season 67
Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Tuned in to Ricky Gervais’ Netflix special and curious about ‘cosh’? Here’s an explainer of the unfamiliar British word.

SuperNature is the latest comedic offering from The Office and AfterLife creator Ricky Gervais, released to Netflix on 24 May 2022.

If you’ve been watching the stand-up show and wanting to know what a ‘cosh’ is, well, here’s what you need to know.

Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

What is a ‘cosh’?

Viewers outside of the UK might be curious as to what Ricky Gervais meant when he referred to a ‘cosh’ in his SuperNature special. A ‘cosh’ is a British word for a leather-covered metal weapon, similar in shape and size to a bludgeon or truncheon.

It is often used as a word for a stick or bar to be used as a weapon, without having to be leather-clad. You can also use the word ‘cosh’ as a verb, as ‘coshing’ someone means hitting them with the said weapon.

Use of the word was reportedly first recorded in the late 19th century, between 1865-1870.

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Ricky Gervais references Liam Neeson’s ‘cosh’ story

To put ‘cosh’ into context, Ricky Gervais brought up the weapon when discussing Liam Neeson’s infamous interview with the Independent back in February 2019. Gervais discusses this interview as the one which nearly saw the actor cancelled over his shocking comments about black men and race.

Gervais recalls Neeson’s comments in the special: “So I got my cosh and I went out looking for the first Black guy.”

He then proceeds to joke about the obscure weaponry term, telling the audience: “But the weird thing about that story is, who has a cosh?”

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What did Liam Neeson say about a ‘cosh’?

While Ricky Gervais relayed the sentiment of Liam Neeson’s 2019 comments, he did not accurately retell Neeson’s story.

In the interview with the Independent, Liam Neeson said: “I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody… So that I could kill him.”

The use of the word ‘cosh’ caused as much confusion back in 2019 as it has for those watching Ricky Gervais: SuperNature on Netflix.

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Eve spends her days writing about everything culture-related. From celebrity news to music, film and television, Eve covers all bases. When she’s not writing you can find her making music or mastering the art of homemade pasta.