Stephen Merchant 's new series based on stand-up
As I clip on Stephen Merchant's microphone, I realise he's really tall – just over two metres. A genuine comedy giant.
Merchant created The Office over 10 years ago with his friend Ricky Gervais – a show which changed TV comedy forever, and launched Martin Freeman's career.
Of course these days Tim from The Office is now Bilbo Baggins, but Merchant's not a Hobbit fan, and he wasn’t happy with the branding efforts at our national airports.
“I have never seen so much Lord of The Rings crap. I know you're proud of it and all but come on!
“I think Martin’s one of the best actors I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve worked with Robert De Niro. But I have no intention of seeing [Martin] with hairy feet. I couldn't follow the last three so I have no idea what this one's going to be about.”
After making more successful TV like Extras and An Idiot Abroad, Merchant's released his first stand-up DVD, and is doing it live tonight and tomorrow at Auckland’s Town Hall.
His stand-up act has done so well overseas it's just been picked up by HBO for a whole new show.
“It's basically me in LA failing to seduce women. It's a real stretch for me. Lots of people saying, 'How is he getting these ideas?'”
He's writing that TV show while he's down under, then it's home for Christmas, which brought him to this Christmas advice: “Anything I’m involved with, buy that. And good luck Martin.”