Merchant, Stephen-Hello Ladies... Live! (2012)
|Category||Stand Up Comedy||
|Year Of Production||2012|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Matt Askem|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Funnyman Stephen Merchant is not as well known as his usual partner in crime Ricky Gervais. Come to think of it he is probably less well-known than Karl Pilkington, the subject of their gleefully sadistic programme An Idiot Abroad. Tall and gangly with spectacles for his dodgy eyesight, Merchant co-wrote The Office with Gervais and appeared in a few episodes. He also worked with Gervais on Extras and Life is Short. For fans of video games he created one of the most memorable characters in recent memory, Wheatley from Portal 2.
Merchant is not, however, a well-known figure on the stand-up circuit. It is a fact he admits in the interview which is provided as an extra to this DVD. His early attempts at stand-up work were not particularly successful. He tells the audience at the start of this live stand-up show that he has returned to treading the boards for a number of reasons, one of them that he doesn't have to give any money to "you know who". His unfamiliarity with the world of stand-up may account for some of the uneven patches in the live show. However, all in all, this is an enjoyable and funny show from start to finish.
The stand-up tour was entitled "Hello Ladies". The title refers to the fact that Merchant is a single man and is on the lookout for a lady. As the show progresses he sets out some of the reasons why he is experiencing difficulty securing a mate. His extreme height (6 foot 7 tall) means that he towers above most women and he freely admits he is not the most handsome of men - getting refused entry to a nightclub because he looked less like "up-and-coming" and more like "IT support"!
Merchant is happy to ridicule himself and creates a character who is desperate for love but at the same time often stingy and prepared to say inappropriate things at all important times. The humour is at times surreal in the Ross Noble mould.With encore the show is about 75 minutes which is just enough to take us into his world and entertain us without outstaying its welcome.
Fans of Stephen Merchant will want to pick up this DVD as a reminder of the recent Australian tour. Interestingly, the live show has now become a US TV show as Merchant travels to LA in 2013 looking for love. Much embarrassment ensues no doubt!
Hello Ladies comes to DVD in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. It is 16×9 enhanced.
The DVD represents pretty much what comedy fans would expect from a filmed live show. There is a bit of digital noise around however generally the image quality is quite sharp. Merchant uses a very basic set design and there is very little in the way of colour on show. The flesh tones are accurate, sometimes hideously so when Merchant gets close to a video camera, displaying a huge and distorted image of his face on the screen.
There are no technical defects with this DVD.
There are subtitles in English.
Hello Ladies has an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack running at 224 Kb/s.
This is perfectly adequate for the show which consists, as you might expect, solely of Stephen Merchant speaking into a microphone. There are a few interactions with the audience. The responses can't be heard however that is no surprise from a live comedy gig.
There are no technical problems with the sound.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are two extras with the DVD.
This lengthy interview with British DJ/comedian Christian O'Connell is an entertaining look at Merchant's career and contains early stand-up material. Perhaps the most interesting part is the post show analysis of the structure of the gig with his support act in which changes are made to the timing of the show.
This is the first time that I've seen an MP3 added as an extra. Hopefully it is something that will come standard on comedy DVDs. Putting the DVD into your computer allows you to save the show to your preferred device and snicker whilst riding the train to work.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
As far as I can tell this DVD is the same as the Region 2 UK DVD. I can't find a Region 1 release.
Stephen Merchant is a naturally funny person who is able to combine his quick wit and physical dimensions to create a warm and engaging presence. The DVD will be a good reminder for those who saw his stand-up tour or missed it when he passed by.
The DVD is of decent sound and vision quality.
The extras are interesting and useful.
|DVD||Cambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Pioneer SC-LX 81 7.1|
|Speakers||Aaron ATS-5 7.1|