Dom Joly

Dom Joly
Dom Joly
Birth name Dominic John Romulus Joly
Born 15 November 1967 (1967-11-15) (age 43)[1]
Beirut, Lebanon
Medium Television
Years active 1999–present
Genres Parody
Spouse Stacey MacDougall
Notable works and roles Trigger Happy TV (2000–2001)

Dominic John Romulus "Dom" Joly (play /ˈɒli/; born 15 November 1967)[2] is a British television comedian and journalist. He came to note as the star of Trigger Happy TV, a hidden camera show that was sold to over seventy countries worldwide. Since then, Joly has continued to make edgy off-beat television like World Shut Your Mouth for BBC1 and Dom Joly's Happy Hour, a spoof travel show for Sky One.

Joly is also an author with several books to his name, and an award-winning travel writer for both the Sunday Times and the Mail On Sunday. He writes several regular columns for various UK nationals and periodicals including a weekly sports column for The Independent and an eclectic weekly column for the Independent on Sunday.

Joly is currently developing a movie called War Of The Flea in the USA, and published The Dark Tourist in 2010, about dark tourism. He has also completed filming a documentary on Tintin for Channel 4 (Back2Back Productions) which aired on 19 March 2010.

Joly was a contestant on the tenth series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!; he finished in fourth place.


Early life

Joly was born in Beirut, Lebanon to British parents and speaks French in addition to English.[citation needed]


It was revealed on the game show Would I Lie To You? that, while in Lebanon, Joly attended the same school, Brummana High School, as Osama bin Laden; this was widely received as a joke (as the aim of the TV show is to trick people into guessing whether anecdotes are true or false). He said on Loose Women on 18 February 2011 that he and bin Laden were at the same school when he was 6 and bin Laden was 18.

Subsequently, Joly was educated in the UK, at two famous independent schools: first to The Dragon School in the city of Oxford in Oxfordshire, and then to Haileybury and Imperial Service College, near the county town of Hertford in Hertfordshire, followed by the University of London (at the School of Oriental and African Studies), in Central London. [3]


Early career

Following university his work included:

  • A year as an intern in the Prague embassy for the European Commission[4]
  • A year as a consultant at LEK Consulting, where he formed part of the same intake as Boris Johnson
  • A year as Political Researcher for Around Westminster (BBC Political Programme)
  • A year as Political Researcher for the New Statesman and Roth's Parliamentary Profiles


After being recruited to work as a producer on ITN's House to House, a political discussion programme on Channel 4, Joly went on to work for The Mark Thomas Comedy Product because of his political knowledge. He then created his own show for the Paramount Comedy Channel called War of the Flea. Discovering that working in comedy was both easier and more fun than his previous employment, Joly began to develop Trigger Happy TV which had a similar structure to War of the Flea.

Trigger Happy TV

United Kingdom

Joly's anarchic surreal sketches first started appearing as interstitials during advert breaks on the British Paramount Comedy Channel. In 1999, following a successful fifteen-minute pilot on the Comedy Lab, Channel 4 commissioned Joly to make a TV series. Trigger Happy TV was born; a hidden camera show that went on to be sold to over seventy countries worldwide. Joly made two series and two Christmas specials before announcing that he wanted to do other things. Joly was nominated for three British Comedy Awards for the show, won the Silver Rose of Montreux, the BBC2 Award for Best Comedy and the Loaded/Goodfella Comedy Newcomer of the Year.

The three DVDs for the shows were best-sellers, as were the soundtrack albums that Joly had personally selected and mixed himself.

United States

A spoof documentary about Joly followed, called Being Dom Joly which was produced and written by Joly himself. This aired prior to screenings of Trigger Happy TV in the USA and earned critical acclaim, with one reviewer Bob Croft, LA Times calling Joly "the funniest man in Britain".

A new series of Trigger Happy TV was made for a US audience in 2003 with an altered format in that it featured a band of different "comedians" who performed skits without Joly. Though Joly did cameo sporadically on the show, he was very unhappy with the programme and called it "Trigger Happy by numbers - take joke, put it in slo-mo, add fluffy animals and random indie soundtrack - it was made by uncaring idiots".[5] He had a producer credit on the show, but disassociated himself with the project.

2003 BBC contract

Following the success of Trigger Happy TV on Channel 4, Joly was secured by the BBC for a rumoured £5 million.[6] However, his first show for the BBC, This is Dom Joly, a spoof chatshow in which Joly played an appallingly egotistical media character who had the same name as him, thereby confusing a lot of the audience as to what was real and what wasn't, did not achieve the same success as Trigger Happy TV, leading to the hidden camera format being revamped on BBC1 as World Shut Your Mouth. Featuring all new material and an increased budget relative to Trigger Happy, allowing for pranks to be performed in different countries. It was later released on DVD.

Dom Joly's Excellent Adventure

In 2005, Joly starred in a one-off documentary as part of a series on Sky One. Dom Joly's Excellent Adventure involved him travelling back to Beirut for the first time since he left in the late 1980s, and embarking on a road trip through the Syrian Desert to find a cave in which he had scrawled his name in as a child, that he re-discovered after much searching.

Dom Joly's Happy Hour

His next project for Sky One was a critically acclaimed spoof travel series supposedly investigating attitudes to alcohol around the world, entitled Dom Joly's Happy Hour, in which Joly teamed up with his friend, Canadian digital artist Peter Wilkins. Together, they explored drinking habits around the world, travelling to the Southern United States, Russia, Australia, Europe and India. During the first documentary, the pair explored Miami drinking styles, met up with some hillbillies in the Appalachians tasting moonshine, and visited a gay cowboy bar in Atlanta before taking on the Christian right in Alabama's dry counties.

They went on to visit Russia, trying 80% alcohol (by volume) homemade vodka known as Samogon. He explained, "(y)ou have an hour where you feel you can take on the world, then you black out. But because it’s almost pure alcohol, no hangover - sadly because I can’t remember it, I don’t know if it’s worth doing". They then visited Australia, Mexico and Europe before ending the tour in India. It was described in The Guardian as "a brilliantly surreal take on the tired format that is the TV travel show."[cite this quote]

The programme included a lot more than just attempting to discover foreign drinking habits, for instance, in Russia Dom received a haircut from a nude woman and both he and Wilkins performed their own version of a morris dance before a bemused dance academy. Another instance found them catching crocodiles in Australia.

"The premise of investigating alcohol is ridiculous," Joly admitted during an interview. "I wanted an excuse to travel the world, but they (Sky TV) wanted a focal point. So I said as a joke: 'Well, I quite like drinking.' And they went, 'Fantastic, that’s brilliant!'"[cite this quote]

The DVD was released on 1 October 2007.

The Complainers

Dom Joly has appeared inThe Complainers for Channel Five in the UK. The show, in Joly's words- "intends to try and get a little revenge for the ordinary Brit on the morons, bureaucrats, health and safety officers, traffic wardens, timewasters that make all our lives a daily hell."[cite this quote]

Made In Britain

In 2009, Joly fronted a show titled Made In Britain, shown on the Blighty channel in the UK.[7] In the show Joly goes on a road-trip around the UK looking at what is still made there after his house is emptied of everything not made in Britain.


Joly writes for various publications. He was alleged to be the writer of a spoof column in The Independent called "Cooper Brown: He's out there."[8] The column is published as the work of an American character called Cooper Brown and revolves around his putative adventures as "a garrulous American showbiz type".[9]

His real-life eclectic weekly column for the Independent on Sunday covers subjects as varied as Middle East politics and fifty-foot chickens. Joly also writes a weekly column on the "Weird World of Sport" for The Independent Sports supplement on Mondays.

He is also a regular travel writer for The Sunday Times and has written about trips to Costa Rica, Dominica, Syria, Northern California, Vietnam, Canada, Miami, Scotland, Italy, Maldives, South Africa, Zanzibar, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Corsica Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Oman, Ukraine, British Columbia, Newfoundland, Quebec, Lebanon, Morocco, Nicaragua, Mexico, Jamaica, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Russia. At the end of 2006 readers of the paper were asked to vote on where Joly would go every week. He travelled the globe performing various adrenaline sports whilst making a weekly podcast from South Africa, Spain, The Arctic Circle, Paris and Fort William. He has also written for Esquire Magazine, GQ, The Mail on Sunday, The London Evening Standard, FHM, The Observer and The Spectator.

In September 2008 Joly won an award at the 2008 Canada Media Awards for "Best Travel Piece" - the piece was written for the Mail on Sunday about a trip to Muskoka in Canada.

Joly wrote a spoof autobiography called Look At Me, Look At Me!, published by Bloomsbury in 2004. Joly's second book, Letters To My Golf Club, is a book of humorous letters and correspondences sent to golf clubs around the world published by Transworld Publishing on 8 October 2007.

Joly published a humor travel book called The Dark Tourist: Sightseeing in the World's Most Unlikely Holiday Destinations (2010) which is about dark tourism.[10] In the book Joly travels to places like Chernobyl (which he visited on 4 May 2009), Lebanon, North Korea and Iran among others, places that witnessed great tragedy and death. It was commissioned by Simon and Schuster and published on September 2, 2010 in the UK.

Joly recently starred in the ITV2 reality programme Deadline with Janet Street Porter where he had to become a paparazzo. Amongst other highlights he was punched by Lily Allen, hit over the head with a guitar by Pete Doherty, called a "persistent little fat cunt flap" by Pierce Brosnan and snorted vodka with Ingrid Tarrant.

Joly was a "special correspondent" for the Independent at the Beijing Olympics. He says: "it's always been an ambition to be a foreign correspondent and this is as close as I'll ever get."[citation needed] While in Beijing he also appeared daily on the "Drive" programme on Five Live with Peter Allen.[citation needed]

Political career

In the 1997 UK general election Joly formed the Teddy Bear Alliance ("Mr Blair, where do you stand on fleas?") and changed his name to Edward 'Teddy' Bear (a reference to "Edward Bear", better known as Winnie-the-Pooh). He stood in Kensington and Chelsea against Alan Clark. Hiring out hundreds of teddy bear costumes, he staged mock protests at Westminster and came fifth out of nine candidates, receiving 218 votes (0.6%).[11] The Alliance was not registered as a political party under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.


Joly was the singer in an Indie band called Hang David in the early Nineties. He was a Goth and said that he looked more like Robert Smith than Robert Smith. Joly personally selects all the soundtracks for his TV shows. All three soundtracks albums for Trigger Happy TV were huge commercial hits. He has also directed a couple of music videos. Ian Brown - Golden Gaze, in which Joly made the whole video in one take, making Brown run through the streets of London being chased by gorillas, frog-men and ninjas before he took refuge in the Prince Charles Cinema. WigWam, the duo consisting of Betty Boo and Alex James from Blur asked Joly to direct their first single. Joly decided to pay a weird homage to The Beatles concert on a roof and filmed the band performing in cat costumes on the roof of a building opposite the Groucho Club in Soho.


In June 2008, Joly became the co-star of the Cobra Pubcast, a podcast from British beer company Cobra Beer that he hosted with humorist Danny Wallace.

Joly also frequently sits in for Gabby Logan on her Sunday Five Live show.[12] Joly was also a roving reporter for Five Live at both the Beijing Olympics and Wimbledon 2009.

Future projects

Joly is developing a hidden-camera movie with his old sidekick, Sam Cadman, tentatively called War of the Flea as well as having written a screenplay for a movie based on the adventures of Cooper Brown.

Joly has also talked about plans for a television show based on popular social networking site Facebook, visiting random people who have added him as a 'friend'. Joly would only accept friend requests if he has any type of connection with them.[13]

In June 2009, it was reported that Joly had completed a script for "a Trigger Happy movie" set in the US.[14]

In 2010, Joly entered the jungle in the middle of the tenth series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! UK. He finished in 4th place.

Personal life

Joly is married to Stacey Joly (née MacDougall), a Canadian graphic designer. The couple have a daughter, Parker (born 2000) and son Jackson (born 2004).[citation needed]

Having lived in Notting Hill before their children were born, Joly and his wife bought a property in the Cotswolds. They sold his flat to Salman Rushdie[15] and the family now live near Cirencester.

While they were on holiday in Canada, the house was affected by sewage from the 2007 UK floods.[16]

In March 2011 Dom Joly announced his first live show, Welcome to Wherever I am, at the Underbelly in London on April 30th. [17]


  1. ^ Researcha
  2. ^ "Bluffer's Guide to Gadgets with Dom Joly". Comet. 
  3. ^ "Not as Joly as he seems"
  4. ^ Dom Joly's Happy Hour - Europe episode
  5. ^ "Television The return of the king". The Times (London). 2 January 2005. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "Dom Joly Biography". Chortle. 
  7. ^ "Love Blighty", Love Blighty. Retrieved on 26 May 2009.
  8. ^ "The Londoner's Diary". The Evening Standard. 25 October 2008. 
  9. ^ Spanier, Gideon (10 January 2007). "In the air". The Evening Standard. 
  10. ^ "Dom Joly: At war in Thailand, but keeping my Buddha dry". The Independent (London). 19 April 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  11. ^ "Guardian Unlimited Politics, Kensington and Chelsea". The Guardian (London).,,-1052,00.html. Retrieved 27 September 2007. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Weinberg, Jonathan (21 October 2008). "Dom Joly's Facebook show". The Sun (London). Retrieved 11 June 2009. 
  14. ^ "Dom Joly on Trigger Happy movie". Retrieved 11 June 2009. 
  15. ^ Dom Joly, The Dark Tourist (Chatham, 2010), p. 11.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Dom Joly added to Underbelly line-up, retrieved 2011-03-15

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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