Despite the fact that I am a two-time Golden Globe winning co-creator of The Office and Extras, and a stand-up comedian who's played across the world, you will probably know me best as the man who lip-synced to Beyonce on Jimmy Fallon's show this past Tuesday evening.

Link for those who have not seen it yet

More importantly, my new HBO comedy Hello Ladies starts this Sunday night 9/29 at half-past ten.

While we wait for that time to arrive, I'm here to take some questions. AMAA.


UPDATE : Unfortunately I have to go now as it's Friday night and I have to try and meet ladies. Thanks for all your questions, sorry I couldn't answer them all. Enjoy Hello Ladies when it airs on Sunday on HBO, 10.30pm. Thanks guys

Bye Steve x

Comments: 631 • Responses: 43  • Date: 

Danzo-Is-The-Best364 karma

Can I borrow 50p?

MrStephenMerchant435 karma


skraught213 karma

hey steve... two questions.

-what became of the nudie pen from extras?

-how much practice did you put into "boom boom shake the room" and "single ladies" before you schooled jimmy and jordan gavin lewitt?

MrStephenMerchant344 karma

  • I still have the nudie pen

  • I have known the words to Boom Shake The Room since college. I learned Single Ladies on the plane on the way to New York

sweetsister197 karma


MrStephenMerchant859 karma

Best : Do you want to meet Karl Pilkington? Worst : Do you want to meet Karl Pilkington?

martymcqueen176 karma

Hi Stephen! What's the craziest idea for a show you've had and known nobody would ever give you the money to make?

MrStephenMerchant584 karma

I wanted to make a sitcom called Merchant's Navy, in which I am the captain of an entire navy and I sail around and have adventures. Hasn't happened yet

pridwyn149 karma

slaps wrists with ruler for being late

Hi Stephen!

I am a big fan of Portal, so bear with my multiple questions about the game…

Were you excited when you found out you were going to be Wheatley?

Have you actually played through both Portal games?

How do you feel about Wheatley’s character? Do you like or dislike him?


What was the best part about working on The Office?

Thank you so, so much!

MrStephenMerchant258 karma

I haven't played Portal 2 but people tell me it is very good and I have had a great response from fans. Without giving any spoilers, Wheatley was fun as he has a few different sides to his character. The creators of the game let me improvise a lot, which I hope kept the game sounding spontaneous and fresh. The best part about working on The Office was bringing a world to life that people cared about.

DiegoVonCosmo130 karma

Due to your height, When filming have you ever had to employ any sort of camera trickery to keep both yourself and another actor properly framed in the shot?

MrStephenMerchant229 karma

I employ tall cameramen who can be on the same eye-level as me so they are not pointing the camera up my nose. I have other actors sometimes stand on things. And often i just stay sat down in the scene

Essehm97 karma

Aren't you a bit too famous/successful to be doing AMA's?

MrStephenMerchant260 karma


cpqq86 karma

Hey Stephen - Loved your stand up and looking forward to "Hello Ladies" on HBO!

Any future plans on working with Karl or Ricky ?

Ricky stopped by for an AmA but didn't answer any questions regarding you or Karl. Just wondering if my favorite trio is on the outs?

Are you a part of Ricky and his new David Brent movie (coming in 2015?)

Thanks for stopping by! Also, would love to see another stand up special.

MrStephenMerchant139 karma

No current plans to work with Ricky or Karl as I am focused on my new HBo show, which I am still editing. I'd also like to do another stand up special but I haven't had time to write a new act

This_Is_The_Life73 karma

Can't wait to see Hello ladies Steven.

Is there going to be a new season of The Ricky Gervais Show

Also, could you please talk Karl into doing an AMA? My face would probably hurt so much from laughing at his responses

MrStephenMerchant189 karma

I don't think Karl can read or write fast enough to do an AMA. There wont be another season of the RG Show unless we record more podcasts, which aren't planned at the moment.


Hey Stephen! From your distant memories of the XFM days, what was your most memorable moment of Karl's bullshit?

MrStephenMerchant369 karma

When he said "What were those things in the film Gremlins called?"

Answer : Gremlins

TheEccentricSpeaker71 karma

Hello Stephen! What is the most awkward interview that you ever had to be apart of? I can't wait to see your genius in Hello Ladies!

MrStephenMerchant141 karma

I once interviewed porn stars for a long-forgotten TV show - that was pretty awkward

smeltfisher69 karma

The interplay between you and Ricky Gervais on "Extras" is matchless. How much of your scenes together were improvised?

MrStephenMerchant132 karma

We improvised on occasion but most of the writing came from improvisation so we didn't really need to improvise on the set

CaffeinatedZoologist67 karma

How do you battle writers' block? (big fan, by the way)

MrStephenMerchant145 karma

Work with other people

courtachino63 karma

Stephen, I totally thought that you won the lip synch battle on Jimmy Fallon the other night. Your rendition of Single Ladies was the most hilarious thing I’ve seen. I am a tall lady, and have sometimes felt a bit awkward because of it and have gotten the question every tall person has been asked: “do you play basketball?” I want to know, as a tall person, what is the funniest or weirdest or most awkward situation that happened because of your height? Thanks for the AMA and making me laugh. Good night!

MrStephenMerchant321 karma

There are many awkward things that happen when you're 6'7" tall. As I said on Fallon, I remember being in Trafalgar Square for New Year's Eve and a woman used me as a meeting point for her and her friends.

smartlydressedtiger56 karma

What was your favourite moment whilst you were part of The Office?

MrStephenMerchant217 karma

Shooting the moment when Tim unhooks his mic and tells Dawn how he feels and we never hear what is said. I thought it was a perfect way of using the fake documentary style and telling our story

iTap-54 karma

Have you ever been legitimately offended by something Karl or Ricky said to you? I remember Karl called you an invalid once...

MrStephenMerchant87 karma


mattXIX53 karma

Given that your new show is (sort of) about picking up women, what's the worst way you've ever tried to pick up a woman?

MrStephenMerchant256 karma

Reading Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in the hope she would pass by and think I was spiritual

mike_united51 karma

Hi Steve!! Two quick questions, when can we have Hello Ladies in England? and is there any chance of any more podcasts/radio shows in the near future?

MrStephenMerchant85 karma

Hello Ladies airs on Sky Atlantic in UK, October 16th. No radio or podcasts planned at the moment

Javogadro45 karma

Can you recommend a song for the ladies?

MrStephenMerchant105 karma

Northern Sky by Nick Drake

persepolisp41 karma

Do you plan to do a stand up special in the near future?

Also, I saw a YouTube video once where you talked about your favorite movie scene and it was from the Billy Wilder masterpiece The Apartment. That was what inspired me to watch the film and it became an all-time favorite. Thanks for that, sir.

MrStephenMerchant78 karma

The Apartment is a constant source of inspiration for me. It's a beautiful film for those who haven't seen it. No stand-up special planned at the moment but watch this space. I want to do one about the nature of 'cool'. How we grow up wanting to be cool and what that means.

PanaLucho39 karma

Why aren't you partying? it's friday night for pete's sake!

MrStephenMerchant93 karma

Damn good point. Might have to wrap this up

Ashpenaz_FTW33 karma

Mr. Merchant, I know you most for your role in the video game Portal 2. Your character, Wheatley, really made the game as great as it is. What are some of your notable experiences while working with Valve while making the game?

MrStephenMerchant88 karma

I spent a lot of time in a recording studio shouting down imaginary corridors, trying to picture what the hell was going on

warmyellowsnow28 karma

Is everything in your body tall and lean? Hubba hubba!

MrStephenMerchant162 karma

You're scary

smerchysmerchness27 karma

do have a mirror really high in your bathroom so you can see in it but if someone shorter was to come round they wouldn't be able to see in it?

MrStephenMerchant58 karma

No, it's big enough for both

bethmobethmo23 karma

What was the first record you bought and where did you buy it? What did you learn from making Cemetery Junction?

MrStephenMerchant58 karma

It was The Best of The Stranglers and I got it in Woolworth's, which no longer exists.

I learned a lot from making our film Cemetery Junction : the chief thing being that it's actually far harder to tell a story in 90 mins than 30 mins.

PabbersKen23 karma

How long did you spend on the writing process of Hello Ladies?

MrStephenMerchant42 karma

Six months or more. I was also writing while on my stand-up tour

red_28022 karma

Is it hard finding clothes that fit you?

MrStephenMerchant47 karma


Happyhero121 karma

How come you don't you follow Ricky on Twitter?

MrStephenMerchant274 karma

Because I can talk to him for real

Immamoonkin20 karma

I seem to have a pretty decent luck streak with you answering my questions on various other platforms, so I guess I'll see if I can mark reddit off the checklist.


I've been a fan of your work for a long time. I was first introduced to your radio show with Ricky back in 2006, and I've tried my hardest to follow your stuff since then. While I know you've won awards for other things, I still think Portal 2 is one of your best moments of your career so far (Though it didn't help that Portal was one of my top 3 favorite video game series).

I got to preview the first two episodes of Hello Ladies, and while I really loved the episodes, I could be totally biased… Early reviews have been really mixed. So my questions (feel free to answer one, none, or all):

  • How have you responded to the criticism to Hello Ladies so far? Do you see truth in anything said, and determined learn from your mistakes, or have people not been able to truly get the show since only 2 episodes have been available early?

  • What are your goals after the release of Hello Ladies? Will you continue on with the series if possible, start on something new, or take a vacation to build back the creative mind?

  • What inspired you to make Stuart a computer programmer in terms of nerdy/geeky professions?

  • You've joked about it, but how close in character is Stuart compared to you? Do you truly long for that glamorous Hollywood life?

  • Now that you've dived into the voice acting scene, do you enjoy it, and will you be doing it more often?

Last question, but I'm actually being quite serious: Would you like to get tea sometime when you make your way back to Los Angeles? My treat… You can't blame a girl for trying..

P.S. Thank you for signing my portal gun in Chicago last year. It's the crown jewel in my geek collection.

MrStephenMerchant49 karma

I don't read reviews so I don't know what people are saying. I just make the show and hope the right audience enjoys it. Every show I've made had it's lovers and haters. The character is a version of the worst parts of me from over the years, mixed with a fair amount of creative imagination. He is a web designer because I wanted a job that kept him at home and which would allow him to have his own business in a foreign country. I am still editing the show, then I will return to UK and see my family and the friends that I still have left, having been in LA since March

karmalizing20 karma

Who are some of your favorite underrated / not well-known yet comedians?

MrStephenMerchant61 karma

A British comedian/poet called Tim Key is hilarious. Many will know his work but a lot of you probably don't yet

RedditRalf20 karma

What is your favourite cheese?

MrStephenMerchant73 karma

Mature cheddar

warmyellowsnow19 karma

I'm really excited about your show Hello Ladies! How much of your dating experience goes into the show?

MrStephenMerchant28 karma

Some stories are real, others are just inspired by how real events could have turned out if I'd handled them differently

smerchysmerchness17 karma

what's your favourite song?

MrStephenMerchant79 karma

Thunder Road by B Springsteen

tritter21117 karma

Whats your favorite book?

MrStephenMerchant42 karma

Pale Fire by Vlad Nabokov

BallsDeepInLife17 karma

Who is someone that can make you laugh when you watch them no matter what?

MrStephenMerchant39 karma

Laurel and Hardy

BallsDeepInLife17 karma

I believe that your stand up was unconventional when I watched it and derived that it was more of a writing method to make yourself laugh but also guide the audience along to new ways of laughing at a situation. So when you write, do you try to make it comedic for the audience or are you trying to make it comedic for yourself?

MrStephenMerchant36 karma

I try to make myself laugh first and foremost, and any like-minded people who share my sense of humor. Trying to second-guess the audience is dangerous, as it's impossible to know what they want as you don't know them personally

Crossthebreeze14 karma

Hi Stephen! Been a big fan since The Office.

Two questions:

-What advice would you give to an aspiring tv writer?

-What David Bowie album would you recommend to someone who wants to get into Bowie but doesn't know where to start?

Thanks in advance!

MrStephenMerchant38 karma

  • Write... and keep on writing. And try and get actors to read it out loud for you, so you can hear how it sounds.

  • I started with Hunky Dory and it got me hooked

621MSG13 karma

Hi Stephen, thanks for doing this

I've often thought of The Office as more activism than comedy. All those bullies and sociopaths we have to deal with everyday being held up for ridicule made working in an office more bearable for a while: whenever someone started acting douchy we could point out they were acting like Finchy, to take just one example.

But I've found your later work lacks this immediate practical application for your audience that The Office had. Any chance we will get some acerbic satire like that again fro you?

MrStephenMerchant34 karma

I think you'll find plenty of dicks in Hello Ladies that you can make use of

inconceivable4211 karma

First of all, I must say I am a HUGE fan of your work. I'm also a fellow member of the scarily tall and lanky club, so high five for that!

Obviously you are known for your comedy (and rightly so), but I would love to see you explore dramatic acting more. Will you be doing so in "Hello Ladies"? Also, what has the experience of playing the central leading man role been like as opposed to the quirky character types you usually play?

Thank you for taking the time to do this. I'm looking forward to the show!


MrStephenMerchant36 karma

I would like to do something dramatic one day but perhaps when I 'm older : I think at the moment I LOOK a bit too funny. There are moments of drama and pathos in Hello Ladies, which were exciting to play, as I'm normally the side-kick who doesn't have to have real emotions.

dundermifflin3111 karma

I watched Movie 43. It was... an odd movie. What made you decide to be a part of it, and what was it like filming your scene?

MrStephenMerchant42 karma

Peter Farrelly asked me if I would film a sketch with Halle Berry for two days and I said yes before he'd even finished saying the word Berry.

theuppsalakoala6 karma

Last time I checked, neither you nor Ricky were following each other on twitter. Are you guys still friends?

MrStephenMerchant35 karma

Yes, we're still friends, but we don't feel the need to have a friendship via Twitter.

mythofechelon4 karma

Have you actually played Portal 2? If so, what did you think of it?

Did you get to meet Ellen McLain and J K Simmons? If so, what was that like?

MrStephenMerchant13 karma

I haven't played Portal 2 - I don't want to listen to my voice for hours on end - and no, I haven't met the other actors.

pancakeelizard2 karma

As a huge fan I have listened/watched most interviews you have done. My question is, why do you always use the same handful anecdotes?

MrStephenMerchant15 karma

I have been doing radio, podcasts and talk shows for 10 years and only a finite amount of things have ever happened to me. Plus I can't always remember what stories I have told and what I haven't.