Dom Joly shot to fame as the star of the hidden camera show trigger Happy TV in 1999 but after two series and two christmas specials the funnyman wanted to move on to new projects.Since then he moved to the BBC and fronted the spoof chatshow This Is Dom Joly before going to to revamp the Trigger Happy TV format with World Shut Your Mouth in 2005, also with the BBC.But now Joly is back with Dom Joly's Happy Hour which is a spoof travel investigation show which explores the drinking habits from around the world.Dom Joly took time out to speak to me about his new show, his Trigger Happy past and what he has got coming up in the near future.

How did the idea of Happy Hour come about?
Coz I did a one off travel documentary going to Lebanon and Syria with my friend Pete, which is where I grew up, and we had such a good time and Sky really liked it and said would you do a series. And they said what do you want to do and I told them I just wanted to go to very weird places and kind of get into trouble and they said 'well we need something that is a bit of a peg for Sky' and they said did I have any interests and I was thinking, because I don't really have any interests, and I said I like drinking. And they were like I had just said something genius and I was like are you serious? And I had to ring up Pete, which was the best thing, and say guess what? We are going round the world getting drunk. It was the best blag in TV history I think.
Where did you travel to and what did you get up to?
God we went to all sorts of places. The first place we went to was America, we went to Miami, where we blew most of the budget on cocktails, and then we went up into the Appalachian mountains and drank Moonshine, which is leathal, with like wierd hillybillies. Then we went to Russia where we drank homemade voka which nearly killed me. It's the only time in my life I've had a black out, and I don't really believe in blackouts I think people just say they had a blackout when they did something embarrassing, but I genuinely don't remember a thing. And I was on film.
And how was the experience for you?
It was absolutely amazing, you see I'm a bit obsessed with travelling, and I'm a travel writer for the Sunday Times and I'm kind of making my bid to be the new Michael Palin but a bit more drunk. It was amazing I was a bit warey about doing alcohol because I just thought if we go to Australia to find out about alchol that's a turn up for the books it's beer. But actually it was great because in the end it was perfect, I watch so many travel programmes, and what Happy Hour is is a nice spoof of those travel programmes because I always find them a bit patroising, like you will watch Michael Plain and he is like we have got to get to this train at one o'clock or we are going to miss our connection, and he just gets there in time and then there's a lovely shot of the train leaving and you are like well how did you get that then. And so I kind of like the idea of two idiots going off to investigate alchol because the whole point of investigatig alchol is to get pissed and you can't remember anything.

But alchol turned out to be quite a good way at looking at countries, it's kind of like football, if you can't speak the same language everyone waves a beer at you and shouts Manchester United so it's kind of an international language. But I was a bit pissed off because there were a couple of places I wnated to go to, I wanted to go to Iran, because I thought I would be good to do a programme about alchol where you didn't see alchol once in the whole programme. But Sky wouldn't let us.

You are bes known for Trigger Happy TV where did you get the ideas for the show and what was your favourite characters or sketches?
Well embarrassingly it's alcohol related most of the ideas were in a pub, just sitting in a pub. And I think the difference with Trigger Happy was I would sit in the pub with a couple of mates, and we would come up with stupid ideas when we were drunk, and the difference is I could go and do them the next day. I think loads of people have stupid ideas but then they just for get about them and go to work.

I was really lucky the next day I could say I thought of this last night lets go abd do it. My all time favourite sketch, in the sense that it just worked perfect I think, was the snail crossing the road. Except now when I watch it, it was a snail crossing a zebra crossing really slowly, but just to make it perfect I would have made a little thing that left a silver slimy taril behind me and then it woud have been absolutely perfect, but apart from that it was good.

But I liked the depressed characters I liked being character on the verge of a nervous breakdown like a traffic warden. That's why I liked Trigger Happy it was a really, we didn't set out to make a whole of the family can watch it wholesome thing, but what I liked is they did. There was quite a lot of darkness in it and that is what I really liked you didn't really have to notice it if you didn't want to.

When the show went to America you were unhappy with it why was that?
Oh I was so unhappy! I had just finished Trigger Happy and I was going on to something else and then it went out on Comedy Central, and did really well, so they said come adn do a show in America. I thought long and hard about it, I had just had a kid, and I didn't want to move to America and said no.

So they asked if they could make an American version of it and you can put your name to it and the people I spoke to were really good so I thought why not see what happens. Then they asked me to go out and film a couple of bits, just to kind of put me in it, and again I thought yeah great I can go to Miami and Seattle and places like that. But the agreement that I had had was once they had started doing it I would be in the edit, where alot of it gets done, and really make it good.

It was only about a week into filming it that I realised that it was going out already, they were literally filming stuff, sending it to L.A and shoving it out. And it was just so bad it was almost like a joke as if someone had said make a spoof Trigger Happy and we need some stupid costumes, put some in slow motion, random indie music it was just so fucking shit frankly, I was so unhappy with it, I was so angry but we had no rights we had signed it off it was a big mistake.

In hindsight I should have either said no or gone for the money and gone out there and made another series myself, the Ali G way, and I would be in Malibu at the moment and this call would cost you a lot more.

You recently appeared on Deadline what was it like as the paparazzi and were you surprised to get to the final?
Well the thing is I hate reality, well I don't hate reality TV, I like watching it because most people on it are just losers and it's just awful. And I get asked to go on lots of those things and I have always said no and this one came up, and it was the one thing when I was doing Trigger Happy I always had the ability to spot famous people, and evryone used to joke that I would have made a good paparazzi. And I have always liked the idea of being paparazzi it was quite adrenalising and stuff and so when that idea came I thought ok I'll do it because i thought I would be good paparazzi.

The next day I turned up, at work, and I'm sitting next to Abi Titmus and I'm just thinking how has my life got here? But actually it turned out alright because it was totally suited to what I do, which is just going out and being an idiot really, and I loved being a paparazzi I loved the adrenaline of it.

I'm into photography, not that that has anything to do with it you just put it out there press a button and hope, but I loved it actually in the end. I wasn't surprised that I got to the final, I wanted to win, I thought I gave best telly but I'm glad Iwan Thomas won he was the only genuinely nice person on that programme and he was so sweet, he was like a little boy really who had stopped evolving once he trained for the Olympics, so he was a thirty year old man trapped in a nice thirteen year olds mind. I was just really glad that he won and that Yvette (Fielding) didn't win, she was just too cheesy.

Did you have any bad experiences chasing these celebrities?
Oh yeah it was an absolute nightmare! I got so attacked I got hit on the head by Pete Doherty with a guitar when I was sitting outside Kate Moss' house, which is fair enough really. And then he hit me then he realised it was me and went 'Oh sorry man I didn't realise it was you' which was quite sweet, at least he apologised.

The best one was I was waiting for someone else, I con't remember who, outside a hotel and suddenly Pierce Brosnan comes out. So I thought alright so I said 'excuse me Mr Brosnan can I take your photo' and he said 'no fuck off' so i just took his picture. And he was being so learly I followed him so I crossed the road and he crossed the road after me and he comes right up into my fiace, and he doesn't realise we are being filmed and I have a radio mic, and he said: 'You're a persistant fat fuck aren't you', and stamps on my toe. So I still have the shoe, which I have framed, which has got Pierce Brosnan's trainer mark on it, but I'm quite pleased because I have been stamped on by James Bond.

And then I think there was one more, I can't remeber who I was attacked by, oh Lily Allen punched me in the face. She was actually being quite sweet, I was following her down the road in a sort of Verve you know in the video where he is just trying to get a picture, and she was like I haven't got time, I'm depressed blah blah blah and I was like give me something pretend to punch me. It was quite sweet because she did try to pretend to punch me but she actually did punch me, and I was so bad at the photography all I got was this blur so I didn't even get the shot. But I like Lily Allen loads she just needs to cheer up ay.

You are also a writer for various publications but you are well known for travel writing in the Sunday times how did all that come about?
It came about because I had been doing a lot of travelling anyway, and I had been writing in The Independent, and then when I did World Shut Your Mouth, which was my BBC1 show, I did loads of travelling, which was another blag basically just to go abroad, and we a nine day trip where i went to the Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, the pyramids, the Colleseum and the Grand Canyon in eleven days just so someone could come up to me and say isn't that amazing, there's a puase, then I say 'That is shit!'

I love that joke so we went there just to do that. And I got interviewed for the Sunday Times, they do a thing called my holidays or something, and I was talking about travel and the editor of the travel section tyhought I had been to some really good places, and liked it and asked me to have lunch. So I went to have lunch with her, and I thought Sunday Times all very grown, and I had all these clever ideas and concepts she listened and nodded and siad that that was all very well but what she wanted was for me to go and write about the things that people say they are going to on holiday and never get round to. And I was like really? And I go wellI've always wanted to scuba dive and I have a freind who does it in the Caribbean can I go and do that next week? And she said 'that would be perfect' and I'm like oh my god - I'm so jammy.

You are about to release a second book Letters To my Golf Club
Basically I'm a really crap golfer, I kind of hate golf really, I love playing but I hate all the stuff that comes with it all the stupid clothes, the crusty old members and all that. I just want to play golf and fuck off I don't want to make it my life but I had bought all the golf clubs before I realised that they had all these stupid rules like measurements of how long your shorts could be above the knee and so I suddenly thought that's probably the only place left in the world where they still do letters and probably reply.

So I started writing a couple of letters pretending to be a crusty old colonel complaining about when he was playing he suddenly heard a noise so he went into the woods and there were six members having a dog fight and things like that. And I got these great replies, really straight replies, back saying never in my ten years have I heard of this and so it so it kind of carried on from that really.

I created this family the Lindsay Bird's and there is the wife who thiks her husband is constantly having an affair at the golf club so sending letters, he is always complaining about weird things happening, his son Dave runs Mental Productions and is always asking golf clubs whether they would be interesting in hosting Golf on Drugs with Snoop Dogg and things like that and then there is the gay son Randy who runs the Tight Hold Society and that's kind of playing on the conservative, that most of them are. It was really cool I would just send loads of letters and then everyday when the postman came I would be so excited hopeing I would get a letter back. That's the annoying thing you have to wait for a letter back before you can write another one and you would send lots and not get a reply, but when you did get a reply it was so exciting.

When are we going to see youback on television?
Actually I'm just literally on my way to my first day of my new TV show it's called The Complainers and it's kind of like, I'm becoming a grumpy old man, so The Complainers is a bit like that book Is It Me Or Is It Shit. It's like that everyone seems pissed off with Britain at the moment with traffic, and congestion, taxis and things don't work so it's going to be a bit like Watchdog but we are going to go and do something about it. So people complain to us about a company or womeone's calling in the middle of the night and we will go and get revenge. I wanted to call it Revenge inc, it's kind of revenge for the little man basically. So I'm going to the first day meeting to decide who I'm going to annoy.

Don Joly's Happy Hour is released Oct 1.

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

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