« Desert Island Discs

Stephen Merchant, writer, comedian and actor

2019-12-22 | 🔗
Stephen Merchant first came to fame with the TV sitcom The Office, which he co-wrote and co-directed with Ricky Gervais. He continued to work with Gervais on the series Extras, Life is Short and An Idiot Abroad. His comedy hero as a young man was John Cleese and as a fellow tall West Country boy, he felt he would try his hand at a comedy career. As a teenager, he worked at Radio Bristol, was a wedding DJ and enjoyed drama at school. While at Warwick University, he created his own radio programme, The Steve Show. Those radio production skills encouraged him to send in his CV to a new London radio station, XFM, where the head of speech was Ricky Gervais. Following a successful interview – conducted in a pub – Stephen became Ricky’s assistant. Stephen left XFM to join a BBC training scheme. It was the short film he made with Ricky as part of his course which would eventually lead to the creation of The Office. Alongside his successful comedy partnership with Gervais, Stephen has pursued his acting and writing ambitions and this year wrote and directed his first film, Fighting with my Family, based on a family of wrestlers. His performance as a stand-up led to his HBO series Hello Ladies, and he starred in his first stage play, Richard Bean's The Mentalists, in London in 2015. His work has earned him two Golden Globe Awards, three BAFTAs, a Primetime Emmy Award, and four British Comedy Awards. DISC ONE: Whole of The Moon by The Waterboys DISC TWO: Raspberry Beret by Prince DISC THREE: Babies by Pulp DISC FOUR: Regulate (Jammin' Remix) by Warren G featuring Nate Dogg and Michael McDonald DISC FIVE: Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen DISC SIX: A Case of You by Joni Mitchell DISC SEVEN: Change of the Guard by Kamasi Washington DISC EIGHT: Love Letter by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds BOOK CHOICE: Roger's Profanisaurus by Viz and Roger Mellie LUXURY ITEM: A piano CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Pvc sounds music. Radio broadcasts hollow unlearned event, and this is the desert island discs podcast. Every week I ask my guest to choose the eight tracks book and luxury they want to take with them if they were cast away to a desert island. This is an extended even if the original radio full broadcast and for rights, reasons the music is shorter than the original broadcast I hope you enjoy listening. my castaway this week is the writer. and comedians stephen merchant. Almost twenty years ago, he found me
alongside wiki debase as the co creator of the office appropriate enough. The two of them had met at work when Jovius gave him a job at a new london, radio station there, fruitful comedy partnership would take them from yo to television and from cold to international acclaim, winning a host of accolade, in the woods, including to golden globes three draft as an enemy and for british comedy awards. Since then, he's appeared in movies and on the london stage start in his own. U s sitcom hello, ladys and written and directed the film fighting with my family. His creative spirit was evident from I'll talk to drawing his own comics taking to the stage at school, and he was so keen to present is a radio show that he hid a speaker and his parents garden hedge hoping passes by might enjoy his material. He says I'm interested in the everyday and the idea of big,
motions being experienced in seemingly small lives. I dont need to see stuff exploding. The guy who runs the local karaoke night is more interesting than a pop star. Stephen merchant welcomed desert island. Grandma found meaner, it's great to have you here. I wonder whether you ve been contemplating life on the desert island. In the run up to today, for many many years, yes from a few enriching putting us became a garden hedge and we still owe sketches for that. Armament The the desert island discs theme music, featuring in a sketch of the life, and we can't remember what the jokes, There are many many strings to your bow as I just described. He right you act, direct produce and don't stand up to you. I mean, what's the appeal of doing such a broad range of things, I love this business. I'm lucky enough to be. I just love every aspect. The creativity of it. I sometimes worry that I'm so jack of all trades master of none and if I'm acting, I wish I was say whom writing. If I'm directing I'm wishing, I was acting as the darkness. They stressful, in an actor you
he's got a senior trainer and people bring your tea, and so I'm always johan kind of impatient for whatever I'm not doing really. I think if I had to choose a lane. Ultimately, I think the writing would be the thing that I can find most satisfying exclamation nutrients as here today. You ve spent many happy and probably some unhappy. I was teaching of the years. How was it using your tracks for us today? While I feel like I've been mulling this list over my head for years and yet actually, when you asked me to come up with a final list, I've had a very hard, I think. In the end I tried to choose genes that were lit kind of stepping stones on my life story, the things which always about memories or are they give stranded on an island would take you back to a time and place. Let's get stuck in and tell me about your first well, the first
is a song which I remember hearing on a holiday with my parents. We would go to the same place in Devon every year and there was a pause, and even though I was probably in my early teens, they would lessen the pool room around. There was an older kids and they seemed recoup. They were playing. Pool and I would just hang arraign putting money in the dupe ox, and this was a song that I discovered that you box, that I just loved and I love the fact that It seemed to be a song, a bite, the idea of reaching for grander thing. Seeing the world adventure sucking it dry living life, maybe that's a misinterpretation of the sombre. That's I've always interpret. It was the whole of the moon by the water yeah.
no, yeah. The holy the moon, bite of water boys, Steve merchant. Let's talk about young steve. I have seen some absolutely adorable photographs of you as a little and butter wouldn't melts. How would you describe yourself as a kid? I think causal was quite happy kid. You know I think sometimes about in some way of comedy here is richer. Prior yoo, hoo, hoo grub, every tough life and groping bordello and his mother was a prostitute. You know is also growing up in time racism and a new fuel, the anger in the passion and is in his comedy- and I just you know I don't have that really. I had quite pleasant life
As far as I am aware, my mother wasn't a prostitute, and so you know it was always nice you, my family's, always support. Even we never really shall in screen. Emma lane was a nurse and you dont ronald was a plumber and he was in the office. Yes, he plays the caretaker who will periodically kind of walk into a shawl and just stare luca rabbit coined the headlights, which occasionally he'll, get recognized for you. No car park, asda, which he's very thrilled about place, but you know he's excited with never a frustrated actor inside him. Out of there are frustrated actor, but certainly I think he tells me he was quite creative when he was a kid you play and he universe and poetry and stuff, but in us he would tell it he grew up in that period. Where being us working class kid. The idea of pursuing a life of creativity. on the card? You know you leave school early and you become an apprentice plumber whatever in that sort of like mapped out for you. Alien united Remember, as I got lil overruns maintains b
coming aware. The hidden particular enjoy that job and that kind of was quite upset the one, I think some motivated me to want to do something that I enjoy for a living. Did you watch your committee on tv together with? would have been a golden age that you have grown up in absolutely wash law comedy with my dad and introduce me to a love of cinema, particular unhardy, the marked brothers in them together we would watch love for iter prison, monty python and last summer wine and oil tape, tv comedy shows sometimes I would even transcribed them and write the script a ring at descriptive. An episode of some others do have. which is not one to choose, because its mainly frank spencer falling over. So I did what I could learn from that, but I think I thought that maybe there was some kind of formula or some way of unlocking the mysteries of the comedy people I might and was then No, I don't think there is really, in fact, I think it's the opposite. I think we have to learn. Is that is writing from instinct or, as they say, finding your voice, but I think if I learn anything
just sort of some of the mechanics of storytelling and have to format a script. If it is not, probably the most glamorous most exciting thing. You said that you dont group, in a time when he wouldn't have had an aspiration, particularly to have a creative like that, would have been available to him. Was it to you what we all hopes for yourself? Why don't we? beware. I got this grand idea that I could somehow be john, please that was my son of overriding passion for my meetings. Ina junk treated grown up in western superman not far from Bristol, where I grew up and he was told, and he was very funny every british and for some reason I as such admirer of him. I just I just thought. Maybe I could do that. It's almost like, I thought what, if they want to people from the west dream. I can do that, a weird sense of self believe, and I would tell teaches you know I love to go to the cambridge footlights like John, please and get into
but in they would just. I don't think they were rude or are they just what you talking now just seemed like something that happened to us folk were interesting me not to you, and I dont know why that was because again my parents were negative about it. I just think they thought it was something I grow out of war. We sure do you ever go back guess and simple job, as well, with a pension plan, and I dont know why I thought I could do it. I have no idea where it came from. it's time to go to the music. This is your second disk. Tell us about this one in my days as mobile dj, my Andy and I were wholly in our time and therefore the sea could afford to buy all the new records the came out, so we would very often have to tape the pop songs that were big in the charts off the radio and then play the cassettes at the discos and try fade out my good yahoo who is hosting before remembrance before he came on to a net. It's who is number one.
Me, I'm sorry too, the people whose weddings me to another, the ample firewood, often overheat. Let me you die during the slow. That's how we live was terrible, but anyway, among the songs that was always a cry. Pleasing favorite was raspberry, break my prince tell me rascal. Very by prince, hopefully not taking you back to any of the several weddings that you may have ruined stephen as an alibi
I think if you slap prints on it would have been a it would mean a barnstorming wedding endeavour, makes anything worse stood claim prince. Would you take any gate where we would take it? gig assuming initially to our parents could drive us there and dumb aren't. We did a escaped marie has, we might be one of the biggest we did. It was a big old tent and member playing smells a team spirit and it was kicking off and they went crazy, there's from a climate one of these kind of posts that get it up and over there Ok, the commitment you have switched off and I like it Could raw love is the closest? I never got to feeling like like a pug rockstar. You don't mean that some I was breaking the rules and I was by the hand that feed I didn't care, who is not a rock and roll person generally, despite the fact that looking back running a mobile, this guy was probably cooler than working in a shop or doing a paper and is a teenager at the time I didn't feel cool, and that was a moment of coup that took up to me a free time
Did you get in at school? What kind of people way was good? I was good studious kid. I think I enjoyed school on the whole. My parents are very good at saying that an education was valuable and important, which was very smart, because I think I never quite understood why people didn't, daddy it's good. It seemed like this was a few years we had to get through. It would open us up to the rest of our lives, but german written a later part in my sort of six form. I got a little bit can a cocky, then I knew I was a good student. There was a handful of us if we realise that if they wanted some aid on the end of year results than there was pollyanna. Be awesome. that doesn't the meanest swung around the school, where the ace Can you not, but no otherwise you know not a troublemaker. Come ahead of. You said that you were too even when you were very young since six or seven now, how was that can be tricky to be taught in it
it's funny again. It's those things you wish. You knew when you were young, if only I realise that being tall is regarded as an asset. Everyone wants to be tool and at the time it just made me feel self conscious and I wanted to be shorter. You know, leaning on things sitting down and is only now. I realize I should just embraced it and help my had high. So, yes, I felt so conscious, I think I think, probably doing comedy I want to be funny you're doing school plays in trying to be funny was a waves with taking ownership of stand, out and if people going to look at you them as we look at you and think what you're doing is good or funny entertaining rather than just pointing laughing it. I wasn't bullied particularly in oh, it's probably just teenage insecurity, but you channel that into performing or can performing dvd. I did some school plays. I played a comedy. Vicar arose a player in motion teachers and I had to open an envelope and
results of of contest contest on the first first, I open the envelope- and I said in the winners- are two points of milk and bread. Sorry, that's my wife shopping list which is not a funny joke, but when you're a kid and the path and are looking for anything resembling agenda to laugh. They went through the roof lab and I thought and make a big laugh. I thought this is unbelievable and I went back stage in their teacher said that wasn't a scrape merchant leave where they love I speak very much like to older women aren't heinous drama teachers yet and I and I just think it goes a little bit of a bus kind of both getting a laugh and also sort of having written by whom the now you know I've done stand, but I don't feel the need to constant gap in front of audiences and feel that the adrenaline of laughter, but just at that moment in time, is my younger years. Probably that is why felt less good music teacher said why we're gonna hear it well, I remember at university
probably around the same time that I was there that so the brick pop music explosion happened and it seemed like that was the music of my generation going to see oasis in coventry polytechnic and persuaded, sir come to see this band I'd, read about in the enemy and being blown away, and I think my first ever tv appearances, the dress and recovery of pulp and they pushing on a woman whose dancing on her boyfriend shoulders. But next to her is a very tall very pale face. Man in cricket hat signal onto a baby's, but when I saw him next day, I really
so you're not gonna, tell me bob hope and babies. So stephen merchant university days are often times for experimentation, and so it was for you. It was at the university of work that you were able to indulge your desire to dabble in radio. Tell me a little bit about the Steve show in I think use pretty terrible, but I think we were
learning our skills. I think it is a medium wave and I don't think anyone heard. I think you you had to be one of the cafe on campus to actually here I mean it was only a notch above putting a speaker in my mama those garden and broadcasting deposits, but but some they had proper equipment least. You are obviously starting to kind of whom yo comedy chops. You doing a bit of stand up at this point way. I almost it's down of a university and then the gig got cancelled and then I waited until I go back to bristol and I venture we did a gig again, which my mother drove me too, and I didn't come in. I made her stay in the car when, indeed my five minutes and silent when it went very well and I thought out yet turns out and bringing the vis a cracked it and then data gig about a month later and died on the earth, and religion is not as easy as I, as I thought. You met ricky vase in ninety ninety seven. How did this happen? While I was keen to get into radio thinking? That was uneasy life and that were perhaps let me do stand up in the evenings and right sketches and sitcoms on things and
I'd, read about this new radio station in london ex affirm that some agreed by the enemy I sent a my cv and ricky was the purse. You read the tv and I wished I within that it was probably on the top of the pile, because you re lazy man, and so he he called me up for an interview. He had got a job. Somehow is the head of speech. I mean he's. That was absurd. If you ve heard him speak he's not, you know, he's not he's, not he's, not good speakers. Justine enemy is not a refined speaker niger. With an open, your mouth, I urge of, and he can't hear the words you saying it's slurring and dumb. He needed an assistant and He called me up for an interview. He said: look, they sat in a one two and sweet told my way into this job. If you do the work for me I'll make sure you have a fun life, everyone says even ricky hit it off straightaway I was that. Do you think what you member back those any days, I just us in practical sense of humour, literally from that first interview, if you can call it that mean ricky tan within them
here. I was younger, but I think I was ambitious and I was enthusiastic and he was out of the mannings tommy's odo some thing, and we start going on the air. Occasionally with the de I goofing around, and we had a nice easy rapport in working with ricky. I just naturally fell into a slot with him. He would pay around and we had a radio show in the innocent afternoons, and here I am he's dead. What we wanted really and as long as you didn't say too many rude words, you kind of got left alone and dumb. I remember once once I join the bbc. Had. I was driving with a work colleague and I had acts. Have him on the air, and I saw got friend whose honour and an ricky came. All that was doing a bit accommodated the person I was doin with when I only friends, not this guy's, not funny that I now saw him out,
like it was kind of exactly wide hoped it would be really. Finally, we were radio dj, so we can pay for it, but you decided to leave a fun for proper training course. The baby say yes, and was that your sensible streak kicking anything? I think it was initially. I turned the bbc diagnosing somewhat from Ricky and then MR spoken, my parents, with what hang on this is a bit of a golden ticket here, and so I from the back into please can I can I do the course and in the end it turned out to be a real privilege, because I got to go to all kinds of departments of the bbc and until see how the machine worked and allowed to take things apart and see how they and I learned radio production skills tv directing skills. I discovered pigs world service. They sent me to nairobi. I remember I interviewed a guy called
Iraq has to members, namely, was a use of self appointed vigilante in the slums of my roby, who, during the course of the interview but carried sword, let the fact that, but during the kosovo he went off and arrested. I dragged him back through him in a makeshift saddened and continued the interview at least the quest kind. Every inch of it it was, is really thrilling, and- and so we hide it. I did all kinds of things, one of which was a training course where I was supposed to have a camera team for day and film. A little documentary about should have you know the name of the news agency whenever and instead I said to Ricky when we do not use these chrome will do her. Our own comedy thing in that became really the genesis of the office and we were off the races and when we hear that now in a minute for now, I think it's time for some music steve. What are we gonna annexed when I first used outwardly, ricky I'd summaries night got into hip hop which is absurd. Rita me, why am I listening to hip hop? It doesn't sailor to me about my life, I very rarely have to take my ok to work.
And yet for some reason there was a moment in time where I just really loved hip hop and of them. choose that you'd I've enjoyed over the years. This one by Warren g always put a small in my face, and I've played it in a shared flat, a university, and I played it I've been doing since it boulevard in an iron and it's always great, regulate by origin, Was it a clean white when she was on the public? So one gets well now that he's the ale these emission drawn up by mr seen a possible. They don't need a twig. You search, I would mention one someone out one and with some whether she dared. So what such a thing was. Some web is positive. It was the people smugglers. It's why these windows looking so they straight up. They got better things that the regulation of orange-
feature in late dog stephen merchant? The office was that dream sit com that you always wanted to make a mockery of entry about working lives of employees at a paper company in slow, so we require writing and directing ricky restoring and it was very unconventional. The form that it took wasn't very did. You feel, like you were reinventing the sitcom, do something that has never been done before really it was one of those things that it's easy again The kind of look back and sort of retrospectively see that by the time they had been this spinal tap and there have been other people who done fake documentary, so it didn't seem to us like any great revolution. It's just, I guess in retrospect there wasn't anything else like it at the time things were still show in front of an audience in cipher. Maybe the royal family and here comes a show that in I was very kind of dour and in a wasted joke about how we would draw
the color of its like it been lying on a shelf at the bbc for years and finally put it on to kind of philip some hours. It saint going back to that idea. When I was a kid thinking somehow I could be jointly. There was an arrogance about ass. You know, I don't know where it came from it for me. I think it was just. I didn't know better I'd the arrogance of you think with Ricky. He hid quite happily guy into a groove in life. He wasn't trying to be a tv star. Was autonomy, a sick come actor writer, so he, if I can have anything to lose and we're going to me with the bbc. We said: you're gonna die. She was well and they what you mean we're here and they will have No? You can direct and we have you don't know we might be the next orson welles and they weren't you might not be, and in never occur to us that we might be the next orson welles unanimity, which is it. We didn't know either. Do you think it was partly the two of you and the effect that you had on each other? Maybe I think so. I think that you know have dislike foot
the bbc. I think I was quite dynamic and proactive and I think Ricky he was willing to work, have a room if he didn't gave way, and then I would go away. You do not worry you know and and yeah they, because he was in his there. Is they trusted him? A bit more seem like an adult. I dont know I think it was cheap and it was in one location and it didn't evolve, dragons, she joined. I think they just last comment on the show was hugely successful mentioned the whole trophy cabinet full of awards that its one year and by the time you know that happened? He still went thirty. What was thought like achieving the dream that you tat such a young age? I never august the complacent. I can take it for granted. I just think I thought I I've wanted to do for him time, and I and everything I've done has been trying to move in this direction, and so here we are- and you know its again is only now as I look back, and I think how did this happen? You have
was there was just so many more variables than than I thought at the time, but at the time it just seemed like yet we did the work and we give any given after thanks very much. There was in part, That was thinking. Well, I've done it now and I'm still not that you what's next. I think that set in probably at some point. I think it was not so much in terms of the work, as I think we can. I worked so having fun coming up with new ideas, and that was always enjoy, but I think it was more in my mind like my real life. I such if I put so much energy into this, pursue that I think I thought the inner you ve got to this thing that you wanted to do it. We made the sickle and someone opened the door and went here's the rest of your life. You know and actually that somebody not what happens in the not I was unhappy boats would have you know I wasn't it. like suddenly? Life was figured out, use living to figure things out, and I think that was the surprise still waiting for enlightenment.
Well. That's how I looked back now, and I think you know that I often think about people who chased fame, for instance, is the, no people at endlessly say it does not solve everything. Fame does not solve whatever it is that you need resolving? That's true, but you don't know it when you young and its yes, of course, success and famous just is just another thing to do with tests by annex disk. What, if you had told young university steve that one day he would be the world's biggest bruce bringing fan of ediths spying, your eye, but even give you a piece of his mind. I think I'd dismissed Bush Springsteen as being meat love for share. Just is very kind of anwar rock. I on singing songs about how great america is needed. listening to born to run the album and not getting it and for some reason, sticking on again for a second time and then something piece of my brain clicked and I just fell in love with it, and I went see, bruce live and he was just electrifying on state
I'm just an amazing performer, so yeah I just I just became enamoured of bruce and the song thunder road was that first track on that point, run album and it's not the romanticism bruce Springsteen
found a road, stephen merchant. You followed the office with extras in two thousand and five and you acted with ricky this time. Each episode featured at least on guess, star who exaggerate their public persona show pushed the comedy even further. Do you think you were ever cruel to your guest stars I don't think we'll cruel knowing there was never anything that we sprung on them. They always knew exactly what the script was. Gonna be if they didn't want to do it, they chose not to and think originally, we began to discover that these famous people were fans of the office and the idea, samuel Jackson had got the dvd You know what put on one night any slippers of cocoa, and so it was funny and was willing to do show. This was extraordinary our original thought, was the switchover.
It was, but let's have the real life start playing extras literally walking through the backers shot with no lines, and then we, though, that seems a bit silly if you ve got Caitlin if he's bothered to come now, let's give us an alliance to do It's also the comedy awkwardness though, and so many shows and comics of followed suit, since what is it about that? That's people enjoy. So much. Do you think it's funny? It's not so think what we set out to do. I think our obsession early on was just one feel real and make things feel real. That's it two in the office and, I suppose not just bled, overrun taxes. I think you know wreaking I like anecdotes of discomfort. You know he was always amused when I would term some awful dating story or some time only I'd embarrassed self in some way and that's it seem like so much power of life, in particular, being british. It just always seem very truthful to us and
I dunno sums with exorcism to put on screen, but I think sometimes you know it was more painful for people to watch the wheat intended, I think, is going if you're making a horrifying rightly know the blood is fake, and you know that laid reflections that into the handle that some you realize it? She, when you put on screen its lights, really quite distress at the city, and we were faced with that you know: did you ever watch things back and think and feel that kind of look, I've got to do anything at all. I just made us law just always made us laugh at me was lightly The polls is longer in the agony, harder was, it was always entertaining, and where do you see that your dna now in terms of so many programmes that have followed in the wake of the office and ex? Well, I mean I worked with us in children. Does people just do nothing which is trivial,
those a dance away to the office and in a he himself will will declare you raise a fount of the show and it was an influence on them, and it just makes me feel all because when we ve started, we felt what we were. These sort of the new kids on the block, any sort of on for two reasons we can mock there, the old school comedy in oak as we were, then you can now we hardly old school. It's Clinton's if other november happened, what that leg, three distress in its really let you take so much that happened when I was young, and so I just I still feel I have that energy. I don't feel but a forty five year old, and so it's baffling to me that I would in any way be someone else's john, please that just seems adjusting distressing a theory. disk, this is number six wisely chosen. I think I've always liked and was being kind of romance and bitter sweet quality to the work they have done, whether its tim indoors,
office or the movie regulated symmetry junction, which in many ways is inspired by thunder rode by boosting thing. I think some like this journey, which was a case of you, it's just such wonderfully delicate, beautiful song, foes, romantic they also fills sad. It is enough in a way I could try to all. I would become a musician and you could spend months trying to write the tv show and you'd never get to the elegance the city of the emotion of this kay
beyond that- the steel, the journey mitchell and a case. If he's such a ban for some stephen merchant. So your creative partnership with ricky debase was of course, hugely successful, you were so closely associated with them for such a long time. How was it once he started working separately working without him? There was no great decision to remove apart from each other's. You know it's not like. We broke up the band, we just between different things. I think you
Did you feel a sense of freedom that you knew at once? It's just you! I guess you can do anything you like well working. We recommend that he's just but he's berlin he's just put him, and so, if you have problem and you look across room. It's him, there's a chance, he's gonna solvay or help you solve it, and and when you work without that, it's hard right making the decisions yourself, but there is the pleasure of you know where I live and die by my own decisions, but I say that and yet you know what I've done. Other things I've immediately swell other collaborators as well. I do like the idea of an injection of other energies. Other fresh ideas I was worried. Slutty may be that in a week and I would get into a raw if we weren't careful there is that worry that you know you you, you repeat self, and it's one of these is poverty that I jumped from acting to writing to production, to directing it back again the united stand up, and that was really tough and hard and I did apply- and that was a nightmare really tough to do and each of those things
I don't know It- feels like its exercising a muscle. I just get itchy for sending you it's testing yourself. Is it also proving yourself? Do you think and who to? If so? Yes, it's definitely there. I think, having had heroes, whether its improved junkies, Aubrey Springsteen or whoever might be, I think you have wanting to be the best at it and never feeling that never feel like I've, cracked, it never feeling that I am the best I'm even close to the bastard. I'm in the same conversation is the best. I do feel that urge to keep doing that, and so like I'm trying in particular to prove-
that twenty one, but myself I mean- maybe that awkward teenager unit as part of that you nothing. Certainly when you are young, you want a sort of show, you wanna, be it more attractive to the opposite sex or you want the the cool kids to think you're cool, but that goes away by the time. You're, forty five and now I don't know what it I don't know. I don't know who it's not like. I haven't had enough pet on the back over time, people have always said nice things written nice things I didn't. While still have this urge to prove to myself. I could do better, but I do have a yo sit come hello. Ladys was about the length that your character, Stuart, would go to to find love. Now, happily partner it up with the american actress mercier monroe, what was he first date, like so ugly to say because we met a
allay showbiz awards. Not I wasn't it was. I was a party the night before and award ceremony. I mean how an acre that a pre parliament approves everything even an amicable, each bullet award ceremony. Normally, I should point out that need Us were invited to put some yeah, we were there, we got shot and on the way. to the valet. I may be so allay the story, it so hollywood, but are we? in an all night diner in pancakes the ceremony, This is the seventh tell me about this. One wants. I started spending time and I got myself a place there, and I was in this lovely house of building the nine fifty in I would hills, and I was in my four is of course I realized. I have to start listening to jazz and for some reason putting on jazz in that environment does feel appropriate, and then I was in new orleans and I was making film Logan, with huge admin yet have named dropped over the land,
I wasn't needed. I wandered into this barn, this musician commodity, Washington was playing, and I think of a moment as ireland I want something. Takes me back to it being a delay in being with miss unjust in that jazzy made for his paradise
change the world.
By commodity washington. So stephen mention, as he said, your new mid forties now looking back at interviews in your thirties, he spoke back then of a certain amount of arrested development and of resisting kind of growing up how feel now that you've settled down and brace jazz and all that goes along with him. Yes, I think I have tried to embrace my adulthood a bit more. I think I'm a bit less restless now. I think I and die and opportunities and work, because I felt like it for long. So I think I did sacrifice things. You know the events or friends getting married, whatever Justino it seem like somehow career stuff, always took a prior to that. Somehow you could not shocked someone's wedding cause. You had a job you had to doing. Actually you know, that's not really there you should do it, and so it's only a one. I think too to realise that so now I think I try and met things a bit more carefully
but I think I still have the urge to to work hard and I lost that parliament had lost a love of. Why do you said that you ve met a lot of people are used to look up to, but I gotta you ve, never met your old time here, john place, but found your parents did. Parents in the way I got into jazz as they are they going to cruises, and they were on a cruise ship from new york to london or deal we. I forget, which- and please was on board apparently is giving a talk. by book he had written there. They were excited to go and see him. Saturday night could see John trieste even ass. He gently but tapping my parents. They got it wrong either giving speech on Friday night and they turned up in the bordering on sunday, and it was just a empty tables, so they re upset. They were hoping to get book signed for me. They asked someone in the crew is anyway, they could get MR case to sign a book and they came danger than they showed me. This little come quarter for each of them in their room like press black perspire, they press play,
they answer found in its junkies, his voice, saying another, MR missus march entire. I'm sorry that you missed my talk, but shall be more than happy to sign your book. I'm just wondering is your steve the merchant. Your sons even wishes. That saves you merchant who collaborated regulation the office, because I'm an enormous fan and please pass on my best regards and you can see how They were so you can imagine how dizzy I was when I heard that aunt em that was a big threat and in a way I feel I need to me him that was there was a low needed, maybe even nice it to give that moment to them. I think be Sonia stephen, it's time for your final disk, but are we gonna hear well, like I said I think, there's always being a romanticism in the work of. I think I've always had quite a romantic spirit. I think it's shifted over time from the awkward teenager who felt that somehow he was an undiscovered power that every girl should fall in love with, even though he never spoke out loud. His poetry, went to someone who's grown and in own is happy now in his relationship and I've always like love, songs, I've always liked songs which her
love, Lauren or hopeful, or sad or romantic in one way or another, and I think nick cave is someone who has written some of the best, and this is one of them, the cave and about seeds love letter with some dead matter of lesser by nick cave and the bad seeds Stephen merchant. It's time to cast you away to your desert island how'd. You picked yourself spending your time. That's what I've been quite good, ol moya quite like
being on my own those times where inevitably in and I will not see anyone for three or four days. Just kind of whole up in the house in park has yet again car in its drive anywhere to go anywhere in allay enzymes. That would have gotten a food in the house. Why? My leaving- and I quite like that, but but equally yes, I should I would get lonely, and I think I should have practical enough are not bear grills Eminem, not confident about building shelter, but I feel, like I give it a go. If I get a splinter, I'm not crying to my ma. Am you a big thirty? So I could I could cook, assuming that there was food I'd like to think that could probably ferried ran and if maybe there's some animals, perhaps I'd throttled of chicken give. I know it's hard to know until you confronted with that moment, isn't it but some there. So, yes, I think like be all right. My big anxiety would be not having a comfortable bed very difficult when you six seven to sleep in a hammer
so. That will be a concern, will give you the complete works of shakespeare in the bible to read. You can also have a book of your own. What would you like to put that? I always think it's just endlessly enjoyable to me Is it so juvenile, so I'd lesson remember when these comic first appeared, We were at school and it was like contraband him. It was just seem so noise. So outrageous and get us something about these, which always since that they're on the right side of history- and they got it right about things and people in events and em- they have a section invisible. Just made up definitions that are always always rude about. You know what are the functions of whatever and it's just hilarious and they publish them is rogers profanisaurus, it's just a delight, and so I take that and it when feeling that you bluetooth I realize I'm not gonna die alone on the island. I'd have a dip into that when I was a gene,
to a luxury item. What would that be when I thought about chessboard, but it's hard to play chess on Europe? Unlike us before you know, I think if I had my time again, I probably would have gone into music and I love music and I love the way that many the sums have chosen. Compressed the emotions that I fell or the stores I void, attired in three or four minutes, and so I think I'd take a piano and maybe one of this kind of self teaching books and twenty two of the piano thing when you. Finally, let me back cause us emerge like John, why did he learned the songs or magic? And finally, he had to saint just one of these discs from the answer, which would you go I think it would be bruce thunder road, stephen merchant. Thank you very much for sharing a desert island discs. Let us thank you very much.
Well, I think we'll leave stephen there on his island tinkling the ivory, maybe even playing some christmas tunes. I hope you enjoyed our conversation. I loved stevens revelation that he was a late convert to prove. Springsteen Bruce is also being cast away in twenty. Sixteen, he spoke to Kirsty young bruce Springsteen underlie to them not a little bit surprised to learn that you're, a regular. The flighty nights worries of the young men christian association, but you were dancing the monkey, the swim, the jack, the pony the match with rising to do them no decided, learn the dances. And what did you look like a matter? I'm sure a complete fool, but before I play the guitar, I realized that girls
to dance. That's the whole. I've spent quite a bit of time in my own home, mirror practicing different dance moves the day. Will you good luck was good enough to get the girls in the dance floor here and what about here How did you look in those days pretty hideous? Let me see I would use my mother's hair clips to pay my hair down and then I would sleep on it exactly right on the pillow, because I had it. curly hair when I had more hair. You of course plead these legendary stadium gigs in front of tens of thousands of people. You have played the superbowl into mission in front of I imagine tens of millions of people of alive tv audience, but your first ever life performance on stage was ass. The freehold alex club- or can you remember how old are you? I was dryly.
Maybe fifteen what was your said? We had a bit of a stone's you playlists and played a lot of arm, be some blues and at the end of the night I would sing twisted shark. Did you feel at home on stage from the very beginning yeah? I did I was nervous when we first started, but at the same time. It was a very singular place and I was I was seeking out no someplace I was gonna cut me out, is as different, because that so confirmed that you were different. You felt yourselves yeah yeah. I suppose everyone feels like that, but I was looking for some place to express it in so getting up to that like an they're doing whatever I didn't do it at the time. was exciting in law was felt good. Afterwards, ass, you go next piece of music. What are we gonna Hannah?
This is it's all over now by the rolling stones. It's all over now held a special place for me because when I got thrown out My first ban, I learned the guitar song went home that night and I was pissed off, I went in my room and I said alright, I'm going to be a lead, guitar player and for some reason that's totally felt like something I might be how to manage, and so I put the record on and I sat there all night until I was able to scrape up some relatively decent version of Keith solo on it's all over now
stay. There. stones. It's all over now, one of the track choices of brief springsteen, who was castaway in twenty. Sixteen as I'm sure you'll know by now. That is an incredible costly supports singer. Some writers and comedians in the desert island discs back catalogue among them. Stevens cool, conspirator, Ricky, debase his hero, John, please, as well as Sarah american mind, heart John bishop and on car, and you can find them all on baby,
He sounds next time. You'll have another chance to hear the track choices and life story of the inspirational american lawyer, kimberly motley and our first programme of the new year will be the fabulous rupert effort. I do hope you'll join us. Hello, I'm great jenna out of your dead too may be funny. History, partners are people who don't like history and if you enjoyed series one Do I have a special festive treat for you? Yes, me: incentives else have been bashing away in the workshop and we ve loaded his lay with a brand new episode all about well, you can probably get so join me. The hilarious russell kind and I'll cover historian, doktor thunder doubt as we crack cracker gags and get to grips with how the victorians did christmas. You can find it now
and all the other episode under a tree or visa.
Transcript generated on 2022-06-08.