Stephen Merchant steps out from the shadow of Ricky Gervais to star in his own HBO comedy, Hello Ladies (Sunday, 11:30 p.m., HBO). And it's as uncomfortably funny as you might expect.
Merchant has been a writer, producer and sometimes actor in "The Office," "Extras," "The Ricky Gervais Show" and "Life's Too Short" - and there is a definite echo of those shows in "Hello Ladies."
Merchant stars as Stuart, an obliviously geeky British Web designer who's sort of a warped optimist. He doesn't have any actual luck with the ladies, but he's living in Los Angeles so he genuinely believes there's a chance he might end up hooking up with a movie star.<