Stephen Merchant may be a household name in the UK with millions of fans who respect his talent — but not so long ago he was an awkward teen whose height made it impossible to blend in. During this interview clip, his candor and honesty are so refreshing and endearing. He talks openly and, of course, is full humor about navigating adolescence and what it really means to be funny. From learning self-deprecation from his dad to reaching a towering height of 6’7” during his teenage years, Merchant had a lot to grapple with — and it took him a while to learn that the source of his self-consciousness is actually what makes him so special.

You can see the whole clip here:

Speaking with Sam Jones, Stephen Merchant is incredibly grounded and relaxed for someone who’s achieved so much fame and success — but maybe it’s exactly that adolescent self-consciousness that’s allowed him to stay humble. There’s often this stereotype that humor can win over anyone, but for young people it can be much more nuanced and complicated as they start to combat their awkwardness and shield themselves with humor. But as Merchant shows, with good nature and a heap of talent, they can learn how to harness that comedy in the long run and turn it into something so powerful.