He's not Ricky Gervais and he's not the "round-headed buffoon" who hangs around with Ricky, he's Stephen Merchant. The tall one from Extras, An Idiot Abroad and Life's Too Short.
Well, he's going it alone, without the help of Kark Pilkington or Ricky Gervais, or even Warwick Davis for that matter, in his brand new comedy for HBO Hello Ladies which is being shown on Sky Atlantic in the UK.
Loosely-based on Stephen's sell-out tour of the same name, Hello Ladies follows Stuart, an Englishman trying to find the love of his life in LA. Will he find her? Well, that would be telling, but...
One of the opening lines of the series, comes from Stuart, who when talking to girls and after his mate Wade (not Wayne) drops the A-word (abortion). He says to the girls, "No need to bring up abortion. Until we need to anyway", so I think it's safe to say that whilst he might be saying "Hello ladies" a lot, not many ladies (if any) will actually take any interest in him.
And things don't get much better for Stuart. When he finds out that one of the girls is from Seattle he kills the mood further by announcing Seattle as the suicide capital of America - never a good chat up line.
Stuart is half as charming, and twice as desperate, which is exactly how he'd describe himself. Obsessed with infiltrating the glamorous world of beautiful people, who won’t let him in, Stuart's not alone in this. There's his best mate Wade played by Nate Torrence (Mr Sunshine) who is just going through a divorce so relationships aren't exactly his bag either.
Joining Stuart and Wade in Hello Ladies is Jessica, played by Christine Woods (FlashForward) who is an unsuccessful actress with her eyes set on an online only series. And finally, Kives (Kevin Wiseman), a charismatic paraplegic who has much better luck with the ladies than Stuart or Wade.
Joining him on his journey are Jessica (christine woods), an unsuccessful actress unsure of her place in the world, and pals wade (Nate torrence), who’s in the throes of a divorce, and Kives (Kevin weisman), a charismatic paraplegic who fares far better with the ladies than either stuart or wade.
In the first episode, we see how women use him, as when he offers to buy a drink for two ladies, he ends up buying a round for all her friends, that consists of Champagne, beer and Tequila shots. All in all a gesture that cost him the best part of $800.
Whilst I'm not a huge fan of American comedies (Friends and a couple others aside), I did really enjoy Hello Ladies and it was good to see Stephen Merchant on his own being rather quite funny. Having worked with Ricky Gervais at great length on The Office, Extras and An Idiot Abroad, it's safe to see the Gervais influence in Hello Ladies, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. especially if it's funny. Which this is.
As well as being the Executive Producer of the show, Merchant has co-written a lot of Hello Ladies with Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky who write The US Office. I've only seen two episodes so far out of the seven but it's a series I would very much like to keep up with. I've always like Stephen and it's great to see him out there on his own, in a role which, (and I hope this doesn't offend him), suits him down to a t.