WHAT I meant was, that Trigger Happy TV was in a similar vein as Game For A Laugh and Candid Camera, the hidden camera show. Not at all, says its star Dom Joly
“Game For A Laugh was naff,” he says.
“Really old Candid Camera were quite cool and weird and then it became so boring, repeating the same joke.
“We wanted to make something that was really cool. We weren’t interested in people’s reactions or having studios or who I was. You could watch Trigger Happy and I’m in every scene but you didn’t know who I was.
“It was just about: ‘Is it funny?’ That was it.”
The Channel 4 show which ran for three series, saw Joly bawling into a giant mobile phone and dressing as a snail to make his way very slowly over a zebra crossing.
“I don’t think people ever realised the amount of thought and detail that went it to making it. We weren’t just a bunch of drunk students. Well, we were...”
There are no plans to reprise the show but he and co-writer Sam Cadman are working on a new hidden camera film.
“We’re developing the Ben Hur of hidden camera movies,” he laughs. “I’ll have to get a new catchphrase now, too, as I still get ‘Hello!’ shouted at me about ten times a day.”
More recently he was in the jungle alongside Stacey Solomon, Shaun Ryder and Gillian McKeith in I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here.
He’ll be discussing both and more at Nottingham Playhouse this summer using slides and video clips as part of his Welcome to Wherever I Am Tour.
“It’s the first time I’ve done anything live,” he says.
“Public speaking and being myself is probably my biggest phobia. In everything I’ve done before I’ve been either dressed as a squirrel or whatever.”
He adds: “Everyone assumes I’ve done stand-up or live stuff before but I haven’t and in a way that bugged me. If I have any skill it’s probably lying and making stuff up and I thought that should work in a live arena.”
He’s quick to point out that it’s a not stand-up show.
“I don’t tell jokes. But I’ve had such a weird ten years since Trigger Happy came out. I’ve done such odd things, from being a paparazzi to travelling the world to going in the jungle. And I thought it would be a really weird, sort of guide to how not to have a career in showbusiness.
“Including breaking my foot doing Total Wipeout. As I was being put in an ambulance in Argentina, the director leaned in and said ‘it’s probably no consolation to you now but we got some great angles’.”
The BBC TV show sees contestants battle it out on an assault course in Argentina.
“I watch it with my kids and it’s the first thing I’ve done that they’re proud of,” says the dad of two, aged ten and six.
“It was brilliant. It’s like being let on the big bouncy castle. I was going to Antarctica anyway when they asked me to do the show, so I thought they can pay for me to go to Argentina, I’ll be my kids’ hero, then I can go on to Antarctica. But I came back five days later with four broken metatarsals.”
His fellow contestants on the show, which Joly says won’t be broadcast until the end of the year, he didn’t know.
“There were a couple of Olympians which I thought was a bit unfair. I don’t think they expected me to do very well but I did all right.”
The holiday in Antarctica never happened but it ensured he finished writing the show, which will also include tales from Trigger Happy TV of stunts that went awry and weird photographs from his travels.
Joly has been skiing down volcanoes, holidayed in Chernobyl and North Korea, tried flying across the Grand Canyon strapped to an eight-foot rocket and been arrested in Switzerland while dressed as a yeti.
Audiences will also have the opportunity to stone him.
“Since I’m famous for being in the jungle and having Stacey Solomon throwing a stone at me, I’ve had 500 fake stones made that you can buy in the interval and throw at me. But please don’t bring your own.”
And if you see him wandering around the city, resist the temptation to shout “HELLO!”
“It’s really nice that people remember me for that and I don’t mind but everyone who does it thinks that they’re the very first person to have thought of it. And they look a bit surprised when I don’t look thrilled.”
He adds: “It confuses the kids when I’m with them and someone does it, so I sat them down to watch Trigger Happy TV. I thought it would be great, you know there are squirrels and dogs, they’re going to love it. Nothing. Not one laugh. And they both looked round at me: ‘Dad, is this really what you do?’”
Dom Joly’s Welcome To Wherever I Am comes to Nottingham Playhouse June 21. Tickets are £19.50, call 0115 941 9419.