Writer Stephen Merchant was desperate to break up his comedy partnership with Ricky Gervais because the pair had become like an old married couple.
Merchant and Gervais first found fame when they co-wrote The Office, and they went on to pen a series of hits including TV show Extras and comedy movie Cemetery Junction.
The funnyman is about to embark on a solo stand-up tour, and he's told of his "joy" at finally branching out and writing comedy routines by himself.
Merchant tells British TV show This Morning, "Finally I've broken free. I've got a hall pass from him for a year... It's a joy not to be working with Gervais. It's a huge relief. Time off from him is... It's like a marriage now. It's, like, 12 years we have been working together."