Review: Stephen Merchant, at Symphony Hall, Birmingham
* * * *
It's about time Stephen Merchant stopped hiding his light under Ricky Gervais' bushel.
Often playing second string to his famous co-writer of The Office and Extras, the 36-year-old isn't shy about his achievements.
But he never appears arrogant during this return to stand-up after 14 years, even when he cleverly incorporates his Bafta award into the show.
Instead his self mockery makes him even more likeable and funny.
This Hello Ladies tour, Merchant explains, is part of his search for a wife.
Cue animated tales of his dating woes, wedding encounters and romping bedroom antics as a 6ft 7in man.
A finale relating to one of Merchant's earliest scripts is guaranteed to have the audience in stitches.
A glimpse of what could have been without the magic created with writing partner Gervais.
I can't remember a moment during the 90 minutes he was on stage that I wasn't laughing.
Merchant is already famous for writing hilarious scripts, but lesser known, is that he is even funnier on stage, more so than his partner in crime.
* Stephen Merchant appears at the Symphony Hall again on October 18, and at Warwick Arts Centre on November 8 & 9.