At six feet and seven inches, one would be unlikely to lose Stephen Merchant in a crowd. It could also be argued that the multi-talented Bristolian stands head and shoulders above many of his contemporaries - and not just in a literal sense.
The straight-A student who earned a first at Warwick University (and an appearance on Blockbusters) met the somewhat stouter but no less talented Ricky Gervais at XFM radio before enrolling on BBC production course and writing the short film, Seedy Boss, which eventually became a sitcom entitled The Office.
A second series of The Office soon followed... and a Christmas special, the world's most listen to podcast with Ricky and Karl Pilkington, Stephen's own radio show on BBC 6Music, a host of awards, including Emmys and Baftas; even a British Comedy Award for Best TV Actor for his role in Extras. Phew!
After a second series of Extras (and Christmas special), Stephen and Ricky co-wrote and co-directed the film Cemetery Junction, which was released in spring 2010. A new BBC sitcom currently in the works, Life's Too Short, brings us right up to date.
But what makes Stephen Merchant laugh? Well, in a BBC exclusive, he chooses his favourite web clips and also delved into the BBC's archive for some inspirational comic moments...
Originally featured in Song Wars on Adam & Joe's BBC 6Music radio show, Adam Buxton's demented nutter manages to rhyme 'winkies' and 'stinkies'. Mental poetry.
Cassette Boy cuts and pastes an alternative take on a Christmas message from David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg, although it's not certain whether this was the reason for Brown's demise.
When Robin Cooper won 615,810.00 Euros he immediately called the sender of the letter to ask what to do next. Fortunately, the kindly Mr Lopez only wanted 680 Euros to activate Robin's winnings. What could be simpler?
Slow it down; watch it over and over; pause it at the moment of impact – you'll never work it out. The Amazing Wizards axe trick shouldn't be funny. But it is.
Dinner parties will never be the same again. The No More Women name game is sweeping the nation (probably). Tim Key and Mark Watson demonstrate the game they invented before an episode of We Need Answers.
Big Train first broadcast in 1998 and kick started the careers of some of Britain's best regarded comedy stars, including Simon Pegg, Kevin Eldon and Julia Davies. Here Mark Heap explains why he wishes to change the name of the hotel he is acquiring from the Ritz to the Titz.
After the success of their game show, Shooting Stars, Vic and Bob returned to the sketch show format with Bang Bang, It's Reeves & Mortimer in 1999. It featured recurring sketch, The Club, a precursor to the docu-comedy of The Office just two years later.
Stephen Fry's delectably plumy pronunciations were never better utilised than in this sketch from A Bit of Fry and Laurie. Audiences agreed as the show ran for eight years. Well, spank us quietly with a chamois leather!
During the late ‘50s, Hancock's shows were broadcast simultaneously on BBC radio and television, such was his popularity at the time. He still remains one of the best known comedy figures of all time and one of his final BBC episodes, The Radio Ham, from which this clip is taken, is a particular highlight.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.