DOM Joly is a man of many parts, but one thing he is not is a stand-up comic.
“I don’t tell jokes,” he feels it necessary to establish as he embarks on a live UK tour which brings him to Sheffield City Hall next week.
He first made his name on the hidden camera show Trigger Happy TV and last year was a contestant on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here but is also a newspaper columnist, travel writer, author and film-maker.
“People assume that I must have done comedy before I came to Trigger Happy but I had actually been doing quite serious things,” he insists.
So if there are no jokes what do we get in his show, Welcome to Wherever I Am?
“Talk about myself basically,” he says. “I have done 10 years of telly from things like dressing up as a grey squirrel to sniffing Gillian Keith’s pants. I have got all these weird stories to tell and I thought it lends itself to a live show.
“It’s scripted view of my life and then there’s a Q and A session so the audience interact,” he explains. “I didn’t know what to expect but I am enjoying it.” But didn’t he come to Sheffield a couple of years ago doing a similar thing at the Off the Shelf literary festival?
“That’s what gave me the idea when I did that book tour but I felt with that you do a lot of reading from the book which can be a bit boring. So this time I’ve taken it on a bigger level. I’ve got slide projections, it’s more of a show really.”
When it comes to explaining what he does for a living, Joly declares: “I am a shit polymath, I’ve no career structure and I flit from one thing to another. I am blagging my way through life. I find it difficult to say no to things with the result that people don’t know what I am any more.
“The theme of the show is how I started off having a go at celebrities and weirdly ended up as one.”
Which brings us to I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and whatever possessed him to take part. “I love watching the show and all reality TV and the educated snobbery that surrounds it.
“For the participants there’s the smell of death about it, what I call the death of hope. It’s normally when your career is dying. The reason I did it this time was the opposite because I had so many things going. I thought actually this is the time to do it.”
His wife wasn’t too happy. “She said you could end up killing someone which I thought was nonsense until Gillian Keith made it more of a possibility.”
It also provided a holiday in Australia for his family unlike the times he goes off on his world travels – such as for his forthcoming book Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), searching for things like Bigfoot and Yetis.
His children are 10 and six. “They’re at school age now and the other day I thought it was time they saw Trigger Happy TV,” says Joly. “They saw me dressed up as a squirrel and were not impressed. ‘Is that really what you did for a living?, they said.”
An Evening with Dom Joly is at the City Hall on Sunday.