My Hello Ladies movie airs tonight at 10pm on HBO

I'm here to answer your questions AMA!


Thanks for all your questions, folks. I'm sorry I can't answer everything. Hope you enjoy Hello Ladies : The Movie tonight, 10pm on HBO. Speak to you again Much love Steve

Comments: 924 • Responses: 67  • Date: 

Mercerai771 karma

Hi Stephen

The character you voiced in Portal 2, Wheatley, is one of the most beloved characters in recent gaming history. Would you be interested in voice acting in any more games?

MrStephenMerchant801 karma

Definitely. I was thrilled at the response that game got. I would happily do more video games, but maybe I am typecast as Wheatley now?

Mondeaux687 karma

In all the time you've spent one-on-one with Ricky - working intensely together, sharing the most intimate details of your lives etc. - did you guys ever kiss? OR HAVE A MOMENT?

MrStephenMerchant1317 karma

No. And that's the weirdest question I've ever been asked. So well done, because I've been asked some weird shit

fNYC612 karma

I am a fan of everything you have done, but in particular the Liam Neeson scene in "Life's Too Short" is five minutes of perfect writing. Wondering if you can share anything about the writing of that scene?

MrStephenMerchant718 karma

I met Liam on a talk show and he made the mistake of saying he was a fan of our work, so I pounced on him and made him promise to be in the show. We just hit on the idea that he seems so serious in movies like Taken and Schindler's List that it would be fun to play with that image and make him decide he wanted to do stand up comedy.

notablenews547 karma

There is a lot of demand for Karl to do an AMA. Do you think he would ever agree to it?

MrStephenMerchant920 karma

Yes he may do. But he tends to think everything is pointless, so I'm sure he'd think Reddit was also .

uhadmeathelloladies356 karma

I'm just going to go for it and does it feel to be considered a “thinking woman’s sex symbol” now?

MrStephenMerchant593 karma


Yezis334 karma

What's your favourite Karl Pilkington quote?

MrStephenMerchant1161 karma

I saw a bee have a heart attack

SchrodingersHamster313 karma

Hi Stephen!

I remember you made a brief appearance in Hot Fuzz, and it occured to me that you, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost would have a fantastic on-screen dynamic. Would you be up for working with them more closely on another project in the future?

MrStephenMerchant428 karma

I love those guys. I would do it in an instant

scotty321253 karma

Did you see all the dozens of Bitcoin donations that you received for your birthday in response to your Twitter request for £1 from everyone? That is real money that you can save or spend!

MrStephenMerchant895 karma

I didn't realise. I thought bitcoin was made up, like God

MrStephenMerchant237 karma

I don't think either of us have feelings of great shame or self-loathing, we just find characters with those traits more interesting and comic. I don't think there is a journey for a character to take if they're just happy go-lucky and life is great and they love the world and the world loves them.

Gorse212 karma

Does Karl really have a head like a fucking orange?

MrStephenMerchant287 karma


ryan6292199 karma

What's going on with you, Ricky and Karl? Do you have any plans or have you gone separate ways?

MrStephenMerchant345 karma

We don't have any plans for the immediate future, but I'm sure we'll do something again down the road. We're all dancing to our own grooves at the moment.

throwthisaway_please191 karma

Hey Stephen, after watching hours of The Ricky Gervais Show I need to know, is Karl Pilkington really incredibly stupid, or a genius?

MrStephenMerchant416 karma

A little from column A, a little from column B...

VertigoVII177 karma

Hi Stephen, I'm a massive gamer and loved you in Portal 2 and was wondering, what was your biggest challenge voice acting for a deranged robot?

MrStephenMerchant360 karma

It was exhausting. The game isn't finished when you record the voice, so you have to imagine every scene yourself. I was stood in a recording booth shouting down imaginary corridors and stuff. I blew my voice. So I'm glad you enjoyed it

AlmondFlash166 karma

As a fellow tall person, what is your best response when someone comes up to you and tells you "You're tall"?

MrStephenMerchant353 karma

I have to be polite because I don't people saying "I met Steve Merchant and he was an asshole". But like you, I'm tired of the question.

odders46138 karma

Hey Steve, big fan. I'm Ricky Gervais Fan Toby, a youtube account that uploaded all of yours and Ricky's XFM shows. I just want to let you know how much people value them and that I get comments all the time from people who say the shows have helped them with PTSD and other traumas. Keep up the good work and thank you! I just want to know if you are aware of how much good it does and did you think this would ever have happened on the "tin pot radio show"?

MrStephenMerchant171 karma

I should be angry that you've uploaded them on youtube for free! But I'm glad people have enjoyed them. It seemed so disposable at the time, so the fact that people are still listening to them is very satisfying. My hope with anything I do is to make a connection with people, so if anything I've been involved with helps people feel less alone in the world, I'm pleased.

BootStiefel131 karma

Hello Mr. Merchant!

Big fan of the comedy, the podcast, the radio and everything else. Two questions!

1) What are you enjoying these days in the world of hip hop? Any recommendations?

2) When was the last time you physically smacked Karl Pilkington?

MrStephenMerchant268 karma

  1. I'm out of the loop, hip-hop wise. Does Frank Ocean count? He's incredible. And I still think Kanye is doing interesting work, given how much of a tabloid star he is
  2. I've never laid a hand on Karl Pilkington

LowEndOfHigh130 karma


MrStephenMerchant185 karma

No. Too tall

RredmanN124 karma

If I gave you £10,000,000 straight into your bank account, what would the first thing you would do?

MrStephenMerchant291 karma

Wonder why you're giving away 10,000,000 pounds. But I'd also stay quiet and spend it

DiaperBerry116 karma

What question have you always hoped someone would ask, but nobody has?

MrStephenMerchant470 karma

"Is it true that you're one of the great lovemakers but you don't tell people because you don't like to show off?"

uhadmeathelloladies88 karma

Hi Stephen! I love your work and I’m really excited about Hello Ladies: The Movie and your upcoming feature film project (even if it’s still in development).

My question is – you’ve done quite a bit in your career already: radio, standup, writer, director, producer, and actor. Are there any other creative medium(s) that you would still like to explore?

PS: Happy early Birthday!

MrStephenMerchant197 karma

I would trade all this in to be a musician. I just never bothered to learn and instrument and I can't sing. Maybe I'll do a musical one day, like Book of Mormon.

-Nassau83 karma

Hi Stephen,

Are you secretly a ladies man and just portraying this persona of an awkward, lanky man? In other words, is it true that you're one of the great lovemakers but you don't tell people because you don't like to show off?

MrStephenMerchant90 karma

Yes, Rumbled

BrandeeRE81 karma

Well known for your comedic skills and amazing talent, have you ever thought of maybe pursuing a dramatic role/ project? I think you'd be great at it.

MrStephenMerchant217 karma

Yes I would like to do drama. Someone said they read a review of one of my performances and the reviewer said they could imagine me playing a psychopath. Not sure if that's a compliment

Umimum78 karma

Hi Stephen, big fan like everyone else here! I was wondering, do you have a particular scene or episode you've written/co-written that you are particularly proud of? I'm sure there are many, but is there one that really just stands out above the rest?

MrStephenMerchant225 karma

I love the Liam Neeson scene in LTS. There is a scene in tonight's movie that is one of my favourites. And I'm proud of the scene in the Office when Tim unhooks his mic and then declares his feelings to Dawn.

pepsiboycoke72 karma

Does it ever annoy you being asked about the podcasts constantly? What do you think of the people who listen to them/XFM shows daily?

MrStephenMerchant184 karma

It's funny because people remember those shows word for word so I get asked about stuff I have no memory of. You have to remember that we've done hours of radio over the years so we can't recall everything we've said. I've heard people complain that I've told the same story twice. Of course I have - I can't remember what I've said -- and there are only so many things have happened to me in my life!

bcris00370 karma

How often do you and John Krasinski play lip sync challenge with each other?

MrStephenMerchant114 karma

Not as often as I'd like. But we had the idea while driving in John's car. We were lip synching to the radio. John does a great Lionel Richie

marblecrab64 karma

At the end of the season, Stuart finally has Kimberly/his fantasy, but he chooses to help a friend instead. Do you think he does this because he is really a good guy or because he knew deep down he would be forced to see himself as incapable/pathetic if he tried to get physical with Kimberly?

Even though it was premature, I thought this was an interesting, ambiguous ending for the show. What did you feel you left on the table that you wanted to tie up with the movie?

MrStephenMerchant82 karma

I think Stuart was growing as a person and realised that his friend was in need and she needed someone to be there for her. You'll see more of that development in the movie.

looperjoe62 karma

Who are your favourite stand up comedians?

MrStephenMerchant147 karma

Eddie Izzard, Louis CK, Woody Allen, Richard Pryor, Chris Rock. Tig Notaro is great.

fNYC53 karma

Hoping in the movie Stuart will blurt out some form of frustration at not knowing "what the rules are," one of his most charming tics. Did you write this as a phrase to be repeated from the beginning?

MrStephenMerchant105 karma

I use that phrase in real life.

novelty_accunt46 karma

How/when did you meet Karl Pilkington the first time?

You were brilliant in Sweden, by the way!

MrStephenMerchant142 karma

Karl was the man that pressed the buttons for Ricky and I when we were on Xfm radio. One day we started asking him questions and his replies were hilarious. It quickly became the Karl show

nbozx41 karma

How did you know that Comedy was your calling and what advice would you give for youngster wanting to dive right into this world ?

MrStephenMerchant86 karma

I wanted to do comedy from a young age. I was a fan and then I found i could make people laugh. Dive in is what you have to do, but also persevere because you won't be good at it straight away. It's tough, hard work in the beginning. The comedy world is very Darwinian - the strong survive.

SoltanPill39 karma

Have you met Kristen Wiig? Are you a fan?

MrStephenMerchant68 karma

I have met her briefly and yes I am a fan.

nilified37 karma

I have to go to the bathroom?

MrStephenMerchant74 karma

Do you?

xhowzx36 karma

Hi Stephen, HUGE fan of your work. What has been the hardest scene to shoot in your acting or directing career due to being unable to control your laughter?

MrStephenMerchant89 karma

There are a number of deleted scenes from Extras where you can see Ricky and i unable to stop laughing. I think the worst is when he catches me wanking over a nudie pen. There's also a scene in tonights Hello Ladies movie in which Christine Woods and I struggled to keep a straight face. When you see it you'll know which scene it is

fawltywiring34 karma

What were some of your favorite movies/shows to work on outside of the stuff you created? Like, for instance, I'm not that big into Modern Family, but I really loved the episode you guest-starred in.

MrStephenMerchant73 karma

I like acting in other people's stuff because I'm just an actor so don't have the stresses of directing or writing. Modern Family was a blast, everyone on that show is so talented. I had great fun making Hall Pass with the Farrelly Brothers. I like seeing how other people work. I learn so much from that

Dodddeh31 karma

Hey there Mr. Merchant! Always been a big fan of your work!

*What was your favorite project that you worked on with Ricky Gervais? *What is your opinion of US Adaptation of The Office?

MrStephenMerchant90 karma

My favourite thing that Ricky and I have done is a sketch for Comic Relief where we fooled people into thinking that Ricky had gone to Africa. It was so silly and surprising and we shot it all in one day. I love the US office. I've never had more fun than sitting in the writing room of that show or watching those actors at work.

speedypeat30 karma


MrStephenMerchant71 karma

It seems like every other TV show or movie has zombies in them. I don't find them terribly interesting as a villain, because they have no real personality. I prefer vampires. They're cool

Beiruti226 karma

Hi Steve, big fan! If you could hang out with one fictional literary character, who would it be? Thanks :)

MrStephenMerchant153 karma

Ebenezer Scrooge. Bet he has some money saving tips

SoltanPill24 karma

Do you have any plans to write a female centred movie or tv show?

MrStephenMerchant54 karma

I would like that. I enjoy writing female characters. I think Christine is hilarious in tonight's movie. And I think Ashley Jensen in Extras was fantastic also.

DanielZo022 karma

Hi there, just wanted to say how great the XFM shows were and that they really brighten up my day listening to you three have pointless conversations. Two questions: 1) Do you feel like you have to prove yourself again this time without Ricky? and 2) Is there any bad blood between you two?

MrStephenMerchant76 karma

No, I'm not trying to prove anything, I'm very proud of my work with Ricky and I like working with him, but I'm proud of my solo stuff also. No there is no bad blood, we're just doing solo albums at the moment. Doesn't mean we've broken up the band.

drakesdrum21 karma

What are the things you miss the most about the UK when you're away?

MrStephenMerchant74 karma

The beer, the BBC, my friends and family, in that order

Ableyoungthug19 karma

Do you cringe when you watch hello ladies like I do?

MrStephenMerchant41 karma

No. I just think it's funny. But then my real life is full of cringe moments so it seems normal to me

aurora188218 karma

How was it working with Warwick Davis on 'Life's Too Short'? What was your favourite scene to shoot?

MrStephenMerchant38 karma

Warwick is great. He's so gung-ho and smart. Great physical comedian. There is a scene in which he's hanging from a bookcase that had Ricky and I on the floor laughing

wellspokenlady17 karma

Oh, I did have another question that I was worried would be a spoiler-warning, but I'll give it a shot:

Me and a friend have been speculating that Kyle Mooney's character Rory might be bisexual (mainly because of the hot bartender from "Pool Party"). Would you be inclined to give this the thumbs up?

MrStephenMerchant29 karma

I don't we've ever discussed his sexuality. He probably isn't sure himself

maddie34721271816 karma

Did you like the scarf I knit you for your birthday?

MrStephenMerchant37 karma

Yes, thank you

uhadmeathelloladies14 karma

I know you're a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. As someone who is completely new to Springsteen, what do you recommend I start with?

MrStephenMerchant39 karma

Depends. When I first heard Born To Run, I loathed it. Thought it was overblown bombastic nonsense. Now it's one of my favourite albums. If you want to hear his heartfelt acoustic folky side, start with Nebraska. If you prefer something a little dark but with his trademark sound, go for Darkness on The Edge of Town. Nick Hornby has written a great article about why The Boss is so good but why some people don't get it. Worth reading

bigtime80014 karma

Hey Stephen, The Office (UK) is my favorite comedy series of all time. I liked Kyle Mooney's presence in Hello Ladies, are you a fan of his Good Neighbor series?

MrStephenMerchant40 karma

Yes. We saw Kyle in his You Tube videos and wrote the part of Rory for him specially.

arifterdarkly13 karma

i, like many others listen to the XFM show religiously. i've also gone over the Steve Show a couple of times. i am a huge fan! two questions:

  1. do you plan on doing more radio?

  2. do you stay in touch with the Sam and the others from the Steve Show?

MrStephenMerchant22 karma

I love radio. I will happily do more when the chance arises. Yes, I'm still friends with everyone from the Steve Show. Some of them I've known since I was very young. They're some of my oldest pals

mrbigglesworth1613 karma

Do you already have your next project lined up? If so can you share anything about it?

MrStephenMerchant25 karma

I'm working on a film script at the moment but it's early days so not much more to say

uhadmeathelloladies12 karma

Do you have any plans to work with Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky again?

MrStephenMerchant18 karma

I would love to. Those guys are incredible, but they are also in great demand as writers, so I'd be lucky to get them. Or be able to afford them

SoltanPill9 karma

Do you think it's true that comedians tend to be troubled souls with depression etc? RE Robin Williams story?

MrStephenMerchant26 karma

It's not necessary but for some reason many troubled souls are drawn to comedy. Robin Williams' passing was very sad. He made so many people happy but it didn't make him happy. What a tragedy.

fNYC9 karma

Can't wait for the movie tonight. Where will you watch?

MrStephenMerchant20 karma

I may not watch it myself. I've seen it so many times during the editing process.

airplanequotes8 karma

What's your least-favorite way of being greeted in public by a fan?

MrStephenMerchant21 karma

If someone shouts from across the street. That just seems rude

uhadmeathelloladies8 karma

Writers often write a little bit of themselves into each character. Of all the characters you've written, which one is most like yourself?

MrStephenMerchant16 karma

Stuart in Hello Ladies has traces of me when I was a teenager and in my early 20s. I'm not as desperate as he is, or as uncomfortable in my own skin

Boathead967 karma

If you could give one piece of advice to your 16 year old self, what would it be?

MrStephenMerchant28 karma

Listen to Bruce Springsteen

Boathead966 karma

If you could collaborate on a film or TV series with any director or actor, living or dead, who would it be?

MrStephenMerchant24 karma

The great Billy Wilder. He was master writer/director in comedy and drama. And English wasn't even his first language.

uhadmeathelloladies4 karma

I was very pleased to see you in Rhys Darby's Short Poppies. How did that come about? And, you can be honest - Flight of the Conchords really wrote Leggy Blonde with you in mind, right?

MrStephenMerchant6 karma

I would hope so. I was in New Zealand on tour and Rhys asked me to be part of his show. I think he's great so jumped at the chance

MeOhMyra4 karma

I noticed that you said that In the Mood for Love is one of your favourite films in answer to another question. Have you seen any other films by Wong Kar-Wai, such as Chungking Express?

MrStephenMerchant6 karma

I've seen most of his films, yes. He's brilliant

GloveSlapBaby4 karma

Hi Stephen, on an old podcast you guys were talking about what you would do if you were told that the world was going to end in 24 hours (or something like that) and you said you'd probably 'go mental' and just do some crazy shit, like murder someone, since nothing was going to matter anyway.

My question is, do you still feel this way, or did Ricky's logic of you 'ruining the last moments of another person's life' have effect on you?

MrStephenMerchant13 karma

I was being flippant. I wouldn't take much of what was said in the podcasts too seriously.

kristopherw283 karma

Stephen you are awesome on everything you do are you excite for you lip sync battle tv show?

MrStephenMerchant6 karma

Yes, I think it will be a lot of fun. Starts next April

uhadmeathelloladies2 karma

I enjoyed a lot of the music selections used in Hello Ladies, like Bread’s “Guitar Man” for instance. How involved were you in picking music for the show?

MrStephenMerchant5 karma

Yes, I was involved heavily alongside our music supervisor. I wanted the music of Hello Ladies to be 70s/80s AOR. The stuff that Stuart probably heard his parents listening to and thought was cool and sophisticated and sexy when he was a kid. Big shout to our composer Vik Sharma also, who created modern takes on those classic sounds.

liamquane2 karma

What was it like working with Edgar Wright? :~)

MrStephenMerchant4 karma

Edgar is a great director. I love being in the hands of someone so sure of what they want (and yes, I know that sounds rude)

chillystumps2 karma

Did you learn the lyrics to Boom shake the Room for the lip-sync battle or are you just a really big fan of the song?

MrStephenMerchant6 karma

I've known those lyrics since the song came out.

adstar821 karma

What are your favourite movies of all time?

MrStephenMerchant4 karma

The Apartment, In The Mood For Love, Swingers, Short Cuts, Casablanca, The Conversation