Stephen Merchant - Stand Up

" "People have asked me if I get upset when a critic writes a nasty review of one of my TV shows. Frankly, when you've died on your arse in front of 300 people in a room in Exeter, some bloke being snipey in a broadsheet is nothing.

I first did stand-up comedy in Bristol in a room above a pub in 1997. I did five minutes and it went brilliantly. I came back a month later with exactly the same act and left the stage in silence.

For years that was my regular experience of stand-up : raising the roof off one evening, only for the next show to fizzle out like a damp firework.

In 1998 I was finalist in the Daily Telegraph Open Mic Awards but I didn't win.

I carried on performing intermittently over the next few years and in 2001 spent a few weeks at the Edinburgh Festival doing a stand-up show alongside Ricky Gervais, Jimmy Carr and Robin Ince. It was called Rubbernecker and it was good… so I immediately stopped doing stand-up for seven years. I can't really remember why, probably because it was stressful and a lot of hard work and I got busy doing TV stuff.

Recently I have started doing stand-up again in little clubs around London. I'm getting better at it all the time and when I have a show I want people to see, I'll let you know."