Thirty-six year old Steve is touring the UK with his show “Hello Ladies”. He says being a stand-up worked to attract women to Russell Brand so he thought he’d try it out in order to find a wife – not a groupie, though, a wife. I’ve always had a thing for tall geeks and Merchant is no exception. If I was a single girl, I’ve thought I’d be interested in becoming Mrs Merchant.
Not often getting a word in edgeways when he’s with Gervais, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Merchant as a stand-up. Looking around the audience, it was obvious that he appealed to a certain demographic – young, educated couples mainly.
Steve combines an intelligent string of stories with a physicality that I hadn’t expected. He moves a lot during the routine and it added a lot to the show. Stephen admits that being 6’7″ gives him an air of arrogance tempered with neurosis. As a tall person, I sympathised with Merchant’s stories of how difficult life is for a man of his stature.
I guess being Gervais’s “other half” may have made Merchant a famous name but the show demonstrated that he is not only an intelligent writer but a gifted and talented performer. Merchant shows with his show that he is more than capable of stepping out of Ricky’s shadow.
His reinterpretations of the Last Supper and how Venn diagrams were invented were inspired. Merchant obviously isn’t afraid of stepping out of his comfort zone and taking the mick out of himself. At one point in the show, he uses a tiny camera on a microphone stand to give the audience a close-up of his face as if he were bearing down on you – to demonstrate why there aren’t many repeat visitors “Chez Steve”.
I have to admit that many of the stories that Merchant tells didn’t endear me to him as a potential spouse. He’s a pedant, which isn’t a problem to me, as I am too. He says he’s not tight, just careful with money and many of the stories he tells are obviously embellished for comedic effect but I get the feeling that my frivolity with cash wouldn’t go down with Stephen – the thirty-seven year old who still sleeps in a single bed because “there’s no point in wasting the money” as he’s still single. He tells a story about a dull family and their annoying toddler at a wedding, perhaps not what I’d look for in a husband – someone who doesn’t like kids.
His encore, where he invited two members of the audience on stage to re-enact a play he’d written at school, is just cracking. It’s so well executed right down to the noisy chair movements in between scenes.
I would definitely go to see Merchant again, but perhaps I’ll stand back and let the other girls fight over him.
To read a blog post by me, inspired by Stephen, click here: http://www.craigrobertdouglas.com/general/tall-people-have-feelings-too-you-know/