Stephan Merchant is known as the co-creator of The Office with Ricky Gervais, but he came into his own with his funny stand-up show. He performed material from his Hello Ladies tour to coincide with the Just for Laughs Chicago festival. Merchant’s British humor went over well with the American audience.
Merchant started off the show by dancing and striking a pose for fans. His tall body moved awkwardly, but freely. He joked often about his 6’7 frame and his dancing skills, highlighting a tabloid article that said he danced like ” an albatross on stilts.” Merchant also made self-deprecating jokes about his geekiness as a teenager making him unpopular with girls.
Many of the jokes and even the title of the show were based on Merchant’s attempts to find a wife. He noted that he may be to blame, saying that on dates at the movies, he passes the concession stand charging $5 for popcorn, when he’ll sell snacks to dates at a lower price. Merchant also said it’s difficult to meet women at weddings when he’s seated with people ” so boring you forget what they look like when they turn away”. Merchant also noted that his fashion sense may keep him from having luck with women and wore his gifts from his parents as examples: a t-shirt with a picture of them and a gold-plated hat with ” Intensity” written on it.
At the end of the performance, Merchant brought two audience members on stage to act out a play he wrote when he was 15. The audience members giggled their way through his stilted dialogue and overwrought messages. Merchant ordered them around and told the audience not to laugh at the obviously laughable play. The play certainly sounded like the angst-filled writings of a teenager who had watched too many 80′s after-school specials. The crowd roared when he brought out one of his Emmys at the end as a prop. Merchant has proven that British humor can always cross the pond to Chicago. He should easily find a wife to appreciate his cheeky, smart sense of humor.