Joly shot to fame with his innovative Channel 4 TV series, Trigger
Happy TV. The series was a mixture of spoof interviews with unaware
celebrities and pranks on unsuspecting members of the public.
element of surprise was key to the success of many of the sketches
and one memorable wind-up involved a high-tech superloo. An unsuspecting
punter went in to spend a penny and emerged to discover that she
was the loo's 'one millionth customer'.
outside was a brass band, mayor, photographer and blonde model complete
with a celebratory bottle of champagne - all to the complete shock
of the loo user!
course, it was all a brilliant wind-up and the show thrived on confusing
and bemusing members of the public and celebrities alike. Dom believes
the superloo sketch was one of the best from the series, he said:
millionth toilet customer was actually one of my favourite ones
simply because I've got an absolute paranoia about electric loos
which are just everywhere now. No-one wants to use them as you've
got that myth that when they flush, the whole thing lifts up and
gets flushed at the back. So if you get caught in it, you think
you're going to get caught up in the machinery. It's all very odd
- the doors open as if you're in some sort of TARDIS and you're
making an appearance.
thought that if people were embarrassed enough to go into one of
those things but what would happen if they came out and there was
an entire reception committee and press and stuff. It worked very
enough, the person we showed in the show was the third person we
did. The first person we did, by chance, was Richard Curtis who
went on to write Notting Hill but the moment he saw the cameras,
he bolted so we couldn't use him."
pranks on people is a tricky game because there's always a chance
someone could react badly to one of the sketches. Did Dom ever face
a really angry victim of one of his pranks?
main thing about Trigger Happy was that it wasn't a sort of Beadle
thing, we never wanted to get people angry. It's quite easy to get
people angry. What we were always after was doing something that
was a bit confusing that people would think 'what the hell is going
on? What's all that about?' and that's what we normally did.
only time I've ever been assaulted was by a nun in a supermarket
in Notting Hill who threw a can of beans at me because we accused
her of 'shoplifting' and that was a bit upsetting. She had a lawyer
and threatened to take me to court as well but we settled out of
court so it was okay!"
series gained both critical and public praise for its innovative
pranks. Was Dom surprised by just how successful it was?
was absolutely gobsmacked. When we finished the show, we gave it
in to Channel 4 and they announced it was going out on Friday at
9:30 between Friends and Frasier, and that was like 'oh, my God,
no pressure there!'.
weird thing about comedy is that there's no right or wrong, you
can only just make yourself laugh and the really nice thing about
it going out was obviously what made me laugh made millions laugh
- and that's quite a nice thing that you're not a nutter!"
new book is called 'Look At Me, Look At Me!' and he describes it
as a 'celebrity auto-lie-ography'. He said:
supposedly the autobiography of my life but it's fifty percent lies
and fifty percent true, and you have to guess which is which."
book is littered with colourful characters and one of which is Arthur,
a rather foul-mouthed Rhodesian Ridgeback (a brown dog). Where on
earth did Dom come up with such characters?
actually did grow up with a Rhodesian Ridgeback and in the book
I have this dog who talks to me. Churchill had his black dog and
I have a brown dog. The dog tells me to do terrible things and he's
like my evil conscience!
I don't know how I came up with that but it's just my excuse for
having done bad things. I did have a brown dog... but he didn't
speak to me!"
from the book that has a local Gloucestershire connection is the
mutant farmer woman. Dom reveals:
based a bit on truth because I moved to Gloucestershire about two
years ago and, obviously, I'm a confirmed townie from London. I
was a little bit nervous about the whole moving to the country thing
and, actually, it's been a lot better than I thought.
had a couple of experiences of opening a small village pub door
and it creaking and everyone going very quiet. And everyone going
[adopts a Gloucestershire accent] 'You're not from 'round 'ere are
you?'. It's sometimes a bit 'League of Gentlemen' in the real far
met some mad farmers in my time and someone did try to sell me a
Labrador that was pink [and uncannily like a pig]."
series on the BBC
has a new series out on BBC 1 in January 2005 called 'World Shut
Your Mouth' and he revealed what we can expect:
kind of moving on from Trigger Happy but it's in the same vein.
If you loved Trigger Happy, you'll love this one.
premise of it is that I've gone all around the world doing stuff.
We've done stuff on the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, Las
Vegas, the Grand Canyon - obviously I've been having quite a nice
year travelling around but we did go to some very grim places as
well like Newfoundland where it was -30.
really pleased with it and I think it's going to be good."
Joly was interviewed at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature on
Sunday 17th October 2004.
about Gloucestershire festivals