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Jungle Warfare: An Interview with Comedian Joel Dommett

Jungle Warfare: An Interview with Comedian Joel Dommett

6 September 2017 |

Actor, presenter, comedian and 'I’m a Celebrity…' finalist – is there no end to Joel Dommett’s dominance of TV entertainment? However, this month the star will swap the small screen for the stage, as he brings his latest stand-up set to cities across the UK.

It’s fair to say Joel Dommett would prefer not to mull over his time in the mainstream spotlight. While the edgy comedian is fully appreciative of the leg-up he received as a result of finishing second in last year’s I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, aspiring to a coniferous crown is perhaps a little on the crass side for someone used to entertaining people with a slightly more intellectual delivery.
 
Sure enough, buoyed by his near-victory and backed by legions of new female admirers, Dommett is readying himself for a UK-wide stand-up tour. And the success of this past 12 months has left him feeling rather humbled.
 
“I like to think I’ve protected my reputation as a performer, with a voice, and an audience, and that hasn’t been affected by eating insects,” he begins. “And I could never say I wish I hadn’t gone on the show, as it was a humbling and enlightening experience, and actually very emotional.
 
“I accept there are those who venture into the jungle to boost their profile, but for me I had huge expectations of it being an experience… that’s all I wanted. And, you know, it really was that experience I hoped it would be.”
 
You get the sense that the 31-year-old takes nothing for granted. This is a writer with an eye on the prize, but frequently checking over his shoulder to make sure the ground covered isn’t some sort of imagined reality. “I do feel very lucky and I know I have come a long way,” he admits. “I’ve never quite crystallised why people like me and I hope I never find out, because I’d probably not live up to that going forward. Ignorance really is bliss,” he laughs.
 
That element of humility permeates almost everything Dommett appraises in himself.
 
“Everything I do gets cancelled after one series, so that becomes edgy!” he said after an appearance at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival when referencing his TV work. “Bring The Noise was amazing, cancelled… Reality Bites, everyone really enjoyed, cancelled. TV is really hard, so I made a conscious decision to focus on what I really love, and that's stand-up. Now when stuff does get cancelled, I don't really care as much, you’re just onto the next thing.”
 
That “next thing” is set to be biggest moment of his standalone career so far. Though the comedian has toured before around the country, this latest endeavour sees Dommett embark on a 44-date UK tour. Even if the door to nationwide acclaim was perhaps opened by his recent successful stint on reality TV, Dommett knows all too well that in the testing world of stand-up comedy his mainstream achievements count for little once the lights go down.
 
“Comedy clubs are harsh, unforgiving and pretty brutal if you approach them with any amount of arrogance,” he says. “There will always be some smart arse in the audience to bring you back down to earth, and that’s a good thing.
 
“Plus, comedy should also be a two-way mechanism. It’s not just what the comedian wants to get off his or her chest; it’s about being in a room sharing an experience.”
 
That’s not to say those intent on securing tickets for Dommett’s upcoming appearances shouldn’t prepare for the comedian’s more raucous side to be revealed. Though he won fans for the occasional shirtless shenanigans on I’m a Celebrity…, there’s an even wilder streak to Dommett that has found an outlet on shows like Impractical Jokers, Drunk History, and his new stage show.
 
“At the end of my tour show I crowd surf on a sat-down audience,” he recently told The Latest. “On one memorable night, I fell fully on the floor due to there being a gap in the audience that I hadn’t fully spotted. There is nothing more humiliating than crowd surfing to an empty seat.”

Joel Dommett plays London’s Eventim Apollo (September 15 and 16), Bristol’s Colston Hall (September 17) and Brighton Dome (September 30). More information can be found here.
 

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