Stephen Merchant rose to comedy stardom in collaboration with comedy icon Ricky Gervais on an impressive succession of hugely successful television projects in the U.K. and United States. Having received his start in stand-up comedy, he and Gervais became partners in crime as the co-hosts of a short-lived weekly radio show prior to sowing the seeds for what would evolve into the hugely influential workplace sitcom “The Office” (BBC2, 2001-03), which he co-wrote, co-produced and co-directed. Success from the series led to more work with Gervais on another popular radio show, acting and writing jobs on other BBC programs, and the smash-hit adaptation of “The Office” (NBC, 2005- ) on American TV.
In addition to his usual duties, Merchant also performed in his and Gervais’ next series, “Extras” (HBO, BBC2, 2005-07). His performance as the well-meaning, but utterly incompetent talent agent Darren Lamb earned Merchant a British Comedy Award for Best Actor. Other collaborations with Gervais included the feature dramedy “Cemetery Junction” (2010); the travel series starring their clueless radio producer Karl Pilkington, “An Idiot Abroad” (Sky1, 2010- ); and the series “Life’s Too Short” (HBO, 2011- ), while his acclaimed stand-up comedy tour “Hello, Ladies” proved he had plenty to offer all on his own. Astonishingly prolific, he had amassed a career’s worth of credits in a scant 10 years, and along with Gervais, earned the respect and adoration of fans, both famous and not, for their consistently hilarious work together as a comedic team.