Stephen Merchant vs ZOO!

Hi Stephen! You’ve been on your Hello Ladies tour all year and said the idea behind it was to find yourself a wife. Has it worked?
No. But there’s still a few shows to go, so who knows? Ideally, I’ll be spending Christmas Day in a Jacuzzi with my new lady, but the clock’s ticking and I’m not holding out much hope.

So where do you think it all went wrong, then?
The problem is the people who are willing to become your wife when you are on stage are mental. No right-minded woman with self respect, dignity and a high-powered job is going to roll onto a stage and say, “Marry me, Steve!” There’s your fundamental error. Plus, most of my fanbase, God bless them, aren’t Playboy bunnies. They’re 30-year-olds who work in IT, and they’re the ones who hang around backstage. Still, there’s always next year!

Ever thought about online dating? What would your dating profile say?
Leggy blonde Steve Merchant, 37, GSOH… although that frankly has lost any meaning. Every bloody dating profile has “Good sense of humour” on it. Who’s going around saying, “I’ve got a terrible sense of humour”?

That would make you stand out, though!
Someone once said “I don’t like music”, which I thought was quite weird. How can you not like music? But yeah, “Good sense of humour, very generous…” although with a little asterisk saying, “But do not expect me to pick up the tab on a first date.” It would also say, “Incredibly low standards, good-to-adequate in the bedroom.” You need to make sure a girl’s hopes aren’t set too high. If you say you’re a great lover, she’s going to eventually end up disappointed. It’s better to set the bar incredibly low and then pleasantly surprise.
As it’s Christmas, have you ever used mistletoe to try and kiss a girl?
I find it weird, carrying it around then holding it above a woman so you can  lunge in for a kiss. I don’t know if that’s legally binding or if she’s obligated to kiss you because you’re holding mistletoe. I don’t really know what the rules and regulations are on that, so you might want to check before you try.

How about lingerie? Have you ever bought a woman that for Christmas?
I think I have, yeah. It’s an embarrassing moment when you buy underwear in a department store, particularly if you’re quite well-known or off the telly. I’m always a bit anxious with people spotting me, especially in the age of the camera phone because your friends will know what you’re getting her. Maybe I should go and buy underwear now I’m single to stock up?

That might be worse though: “Sex-crazed Stephen Merchant buys four boxes of ladies’ underwear”…

Yeah, that would be quite weird. Especially if you start dating someone and they find it under your bed in all different sizes.

What are you buying Ricky, Karl and Warwick for Christmas?
I don’t know if Ricky and I exchange gifts. I’ll keep my head down and hopefully they won’t send me anything so I don’t feel awkward. I’ve never bought Karl anything. Like he’s ever going to go to a shop and think, “Oh, 
I really must get Steve something…”

Didn’t he get you some beer once?

No, it was given free to a radio station and he passed it on to me, so it was a re-gift at best. But this is someone who bought his family a family-sized box of condoms. One year he got given a camera at work that he didn’t want, so he gave it to his girlfriend. It’s a bit rich when he tells me I’m being stingy.

Out of those three, who would you want to back you up in a fight?
Well, Ricky’s done a bit of boxing in the past, but I reckon Karl would be the dirtiest fighter. There’s a lot of rage in him, mainly thanks to Ricky and I. With all that pressure built up inside of him from An Idiot Abroad, he would take out whoever he was faced with. Although, to be honest, he would just be in the corner laughing and thinking I’d be getting my just desserts.

Not Warwick? Any plans for a second series of Life’s Too Short?
At the moment, I can’t imagine ever working again because I’ve been so exhausted this year. We’ve done the second series of An Idiot Abroad, the tour, 75 dates… Frankly, I’m exhausted. In a way, it’s a good job I didn’t find a wife. I wouldn’t have found time to charm and entertain her. I’d have to get another comedian in to pleasure her.

Finally, you’re very tall. Are people more impressed with your height than the fact that you wrote The Office and Extras?
People have always looked at me because I was tall, so I thought I might as well get into TV so they can think, “Look! There’s that freak off the telly!”, rather than, “Look! There’s a freak!” People comment on your height because they think it’s an achievement. I’ll be in a pub and order a drink, and people will be like, “Can I have a tall order?” and then burst into hysterics. But if I go into a pub and see a dwarf, I don’t say, “What are you going to order? A short?”

Stephen Merchant’s stand-up DVD, Hello Ladies, is out now.

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