If he looks a little out of place, that’s the point: Merchant is carving quite a niche out of his own inability to fit in.

“He’s a loser in England who is a loser here too, but here in LA, he is even more out of his depth.” While he might be playing a part for the TV version of Hello Ladies, the scenarios are no less real, Merchant asserts.

Much of the action is borrowed from his own life, and that of his co-writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, who both wrote and directed on the US version of The Office.

In the stand-up show Merchant was himself, whereas the HBO version dramatises his own dating disasters.

Stuart is a socially awkward British web designer who has relocated to Los Angeles convinced of landing upon a lifestyle of limo-hopping with bikini-clad lovelies.

If they haven’t lost anything then if nothing bad happens more than likely they will probably continue to cheat. It’s not about changing partners and then I will never cheat.

It’s about the consequences of their cheating and how they react. If you are in agreement about these that is how you can prevent it.

On a muggy summer afternoon, in an airless marquee – in reality a studio set in Burbank, Los Angeles – the British comedian Stephen Merchant is tugging at the collar of his jacket.

Surrounded by attractive young women in Californian wedding finery, he is sweating in his formal suit. That thermal vest was a mistake,” he says in his Bristol burr.

“Stuart is a 15 year-old trapped in…well, in reality, a 38-year-old’s body, but I’m playing 35,” his creator confesses when we meet on set between takes.