Arts

Jungle Joel Dommett stops off at Belfast Comedy Festival

English comedian and actor Joel Dommett is known for his television roles in Skins, Live in Chelsea, Impractical Jokers UK and coming runner-up in last year's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here. Scene quizzed the 31-year-old ahead of his stand-up show at the Belfast Comedy Festival tonight

I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here star Joel Dommett will take to the stage at the Belfast Comedy Festival tonight

Are you enjoying touring?

I'm really enjoying it. Everyone keeps on saying to me, “You must absolutely hate it, you must be really bored of the show…” No, I think it just gets better and better, and I'm enjoying it more. There's a real story arch to the show, a huge crescendo, and a really big epic ending – it's a really fun, big, stupid show. And that's what I think is important for the position I'm in. People saw me on a reality show being kind of funny, but I feel I'm in a real position where I have to deliver more. I'm fully aware that this reality TV thing might be a small bubble and that bubble might burst, so I've got to do my absolute best to deliver a show which is beyond people's expectations so they come back to see me again.

You've gained a whole new fan base since ‘I'm A Celebrity…' Are they different from the usual comedy-going crowd?

Yes, but I was really scared that it would be an absolute nightmare. I thought: it's going to be lots of screaming young girls and younger people who haven't seen comedy before. But the demographic at the shows has been so mixed. For a lot of people it is their first comedy show, but we're trying our best to entertain them as well as educate them. It'd be quite easy to do a generic, easy stand-up show and just talk about the jungle. But even though I'm quite commercial in my comedy, I like to think that it's also slightly weird and not completely straightforward.

How much do you have to acknowledge the jungle on stage?

Before the tour I wrote loads of jungle stuff because I thought that's what they'll want, I thought they were going to demand it. But I quickly realised that they just didn't want to hear it. Now, I barely mention it, it's just part of the story. At the first couple of shows I called Carol Vorderman on stage, just because I thought it might be funny. Then I realised that, although it was funny, I can't call Carol Vorderman every night – it could start to get a bit grating for her.

Was it a difficult decision to go on ‘I'm a Celeb…' in the first place?

It was a real gamble. I thought a lot about the pros and cons. But I felt like I'm quite an optimistic person and if anyone could do it maybe I could because I don't really get angry or frustrated with other people very easily. The entire time I was in there I was so scared that the comedy community was going to shun me because I'd gone into a massively commercial reality show. But since I've got out it's been so nice, they've been so lovely, as well as this new demographic of people coming to my shows.

The Australian jungle isn't the only place you've visited recently. You've been travelling around the world with Nish Kumar, meeting some of the strongest and toughest people on the planet for a Comedy Central series. Could your fitness levels keep up with them?

They tried to, but no. I did a 32-mile marathon with some Mexican guys, I did a 5km relay race in Brazil with a 100 kilo log, I did stick fighting in Kenya… Basically it was four months of my body being absolutely battered.

Were the Bushtucker Trials good practice for it?

Well, all the ridiculous stuff in the jungle did help me. I spent about four months eating ridiculous things and sleeping in uncomfortable places – I'm actually really good at that now.

:: Joel Dommett: Live 2017 takes place at Belfast's Waterfront Hall tonight at 8pm as part of the Belfast Comedy Festival. Tickets and festival programme at Belfastcomedyfestival.com

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