Merchant never misses a beat

DAVEN PARSONS-PIWARI
Last updated 09:10 19/12/2012
Stephen Merchant
Not a single joke fell flat for Stephen Merchant in Wellington.

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Performance

Grease is still the word The one that she wants Verdi's La Traviata fine theatre Conducting a new direction The road to take is one that delights Red-carpet glamour at the opera Rally round rascally pirate and prissy prince A whisper to be heard A solid but not memorable performance Of masks and Freddie Mercury

Steve Merchant - Hello Ladies

Opera House, Wellington, December 17

As soon as Steve Merchant takes the stage he starts fooling around. Posing for audience photographs, making sure they get some nice shots of his booty, and the crowd already loves him. This sets the mood for his highly parodic style that has served him well as a co-writer for The Office UK alongside Ricky Gervais.

Merchant loves to take the mickey out of all sorts of situations that are easy to relate to, and he often speaks as the cynical voice in the back of our heads, the one that pipes up during dinner conversations full of mundane stories and infants who act like scumbags and get away with it. It's the voice that we don't let speak out loud, unlike Merchant, who unleashes it upon anyone foolish enough to tempt it.

Impeccable timing is just one of the many skills Merchant has. He'll unleash a flurry of jokes which build up to one big punch line that leaves the audience in stitches and applause. As well as telling jokes, he is also great at acting out situations in an exaggerated way to highlight just how silly they are, and, surprisingly, it didn't get annoying and only added to the humour.

Because of his fast pace and the forward momentum in the act, there was always a lot of anticipation while Merchant built up a story, which meant there were big expectations for the punch line.

However, Merchant would always exceed expectations, and there was never a punch line that fell flat - every joke he told would get a laugh.

Overall, Merchant's act peaks numerous times over the duration of his show with great consistency. While I felt that some of his jokes were geared a bit towards an older audience, he's a man who can definitely tell it like it is, and not a minute went by in his show where I wasn't laughing.

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- The Dominion Post

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