Ricky Gervais has condemned reality shows like The X Factor, saying they destroy lives.
The comedian said the death of musicians such as David Bowie and Prince means the greats have been replaced by stars who appear on endless TV shows.
He told the Press Association: "That is why 2016 has been so shocking because those are the last generation of people who were actually famous for something, they were icons, because we have run out of icons.
"In 30 years' time who are we going to be crying for, this talented person? What did they do? All these talent shows have people going 'Make me famous please' and we go 'Alright then'. They don't realise that fame isn't a good thing.
"You see people go on to X Factor and they say 'Who do you see yourself as?', and they say Mariah Carey or Madonna, they don't say (Pop Idol winner) Michelle McManus.
"No disrespect to her but everyone knows if they win X Factor they bring out a single, they bring out a book, and then they will be back in the shoe shop and they have been sold a lie.
"It doesn't sort your life out, it's built on sand and begging, not talent and trying. It seems an odd thing to get on my high horse about but I see it destroying people."
Boyband 5 After Midnight will go head to head with Matt Terry and Saara Aalto in Sunday night's X Factor final, and Ricky had some advice for them.
"I would like to say learn a trade or do something you're proud of. I know they would be proud of that but I think we are going to run out of doctors soon because everyone thinks they can sing.
"You're going to have a heart attack and people are going to run up to you and say I can sing you a song. You reply 'No, I need medicine!', but there are no doctors, we have all won Britain's Got Talent."
Ricky himself found fame playing office manager David Brent 15 years ago on the BBC mockumentary The Office - but the actor, writer and director said the nature of fame is now very different.
His latest film David Brent: Life On The Road catches up with Brent, who is now a travelling salesman for a cleaning and ladies' personal hygiene products company but has not given up on his dream of making it as a rock star.
Ricky said: "The world is a harsher place. We have the president of the United States saying he would like to punch someone in the face, he has Twitter rows.
"We have had 15 years of The Apprentice where people get on it by saying I will destroy anyone who stands in my way."
He contends that Brent would never enter a reality show because he takes himself too seriously, even though he could probably do well as a novelty act.
"He would be the Honey G but he wants to be Bruce Springsteen," he said. "He's doing it the right way, but he just hasn't got it and that is where the comedy comes from.
"Now we see people go on X Factor and Big Brother and they don't care so we don't care, there is no jeopardy any more.
"These people are already at their lowest ebbs, they are already having a breakdown, they are already doing the worst things in clubs around, so there is no jeopardy. David Brent wants credibility but he can't have it. His ambitions are too lofty for his ability."
David Brent: Life On The Road is available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Download from December 12, while the album and songbook of the same name are out now.