For the latest in our WISE WORDS interview series - where stars from a whole range of fields share the important life lessons they’ve learned along the way - we’re posing some of the big questions to comedian JOEL DOMMETT.
Joel is an English comedian and actor known for his television roles in ‘Skins’, ‘Live in Chelsa’, ‘Impractical Jokers UK’, before his muscles popped out of the screen in this year’s series of ‘I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!’
Now Joel is set to fulfil one of his life’s dreams, with two nights at the Hammersmith Apollo on 15 and 16 September, as part of his UK tour. To mark the occasion, we asked him for some Wise Words, and he provided some remarkably intimate insights...
How do you switch off from the world?
I watch the OJ documentary, all 9 hours of it. At least, that was my most recent trick. Otherwise, I go to the gym. I’m always switched on, so that’s where I go to switch off. It’s the only time I don’t look at my phone, and all my friends go together. It’s just fun.
How do you deal with any negativity that crosses your path?
My mum will tell me if there’s something terrible on Twitter, so I can’t really avoid it. A tweeter once said to me, “You’re so unfunny, I want to stab you #prick.” The worst thing to do is to reply.
When and where are you at your happiest?
Doing stand up comedy. Touring. I love it. I love a massive audience. The show is the culmination of three to four years of work. My mate Steve comes on tour with me, and when it’s going well, there’s no better fun. It’s like sex.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A fellow comedian told me, “Don’t ever wait for gigs. Just turn up.” That’s what got me started. I didn’t sit around waiting for invitations.
What has been the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
That comedy isn’t easy. I didn’t think it would be, but I didn’t really think it would be a proper job, with all the discipline that comes with it. I just want to get better.
What would you like to tell your 13-year-old self?
”You’re about to discover masturbation. Enjoy it while you can, between the ages of 13 and 30, because that’s the guilt-free window. After that, the guilt kicks in, and you might even occasionally have an erectile problem.” People ask me why I’m so muscly, it’s because I figure that, even if downstairs fails me, at least my partner will have something nice to look at.
What 3 things are at the top of your wish-list?
Perform at Hammersmith Apollo; find someone to hang out with; for my mate Steve to be really successful because he deserves it.
What do you think happens when we die?
I like to think it all stops. I don’t want to think about the admin involved, because I’m not there to sort it. I always think, Just live your life, there’s no point worrying about anything else.
When have you felt in the presence of something larger than ourselves?
Makes a series for Comedy Central and travelling around the world. There were so many beautiful places, particularly in the Philippines.
What is the quality you most prize in your relationships?
It’s not the same thing as a few years ago, but now honest is the top of the pile for me. I’ve had experiences of not sharing honesty. For a lot of my life, telling a little white lie felt easier, but now I find it easier to be completely honest.
What keeps you grounded?
The challenge of comedy. My friends, who take the piss out of me all the time and fill my pockets with teabags. And my family. We’re not a talkative lot, we’re a farming family. Recently I asked my dad, in a really needy way, “Do you prefer my brother?” And he replied, “I just have more in common with him.” Talk about breaking it to me gently...
What the most recent act of kindness you received?
A fan knitted a wool version of me. It’s so good, I keep it in the corner of the living room.
Joel Dommett will be performing at Hammersmith’s Apollo on 16 September, with further dates to follow. Click here for info.