Dom Joly: Ricky Gervais may be big stateside but I'm a Bum

Click to follow
The Independent Online

'Hi, am I speaking with Bum Joly?" The soft Canadian voice paused a second, waiting for me to answer.

"I'm sorry, what did you say?" It was the best I could do, as I was in a Toronto mall with my family that's all people do here: go to malls.

"Is this Bum Joly with whom I'm speaking?" The voice was a little more insistent now.

"No, this is Dom Joly. Who are you?" It's difficult to get angry with Canadians, as they are so ... nice ... but I was rapidly losing it.

"Mr Joly, this is a courtesy call from the ******* **** Hotel in Toronto. You are booked in with us for three days from tomorrow. Is that correct?" The voice was flat and smooth, like a lake-washed pebble.

It was more of a discourtesy call since my name is not "Bum", although since this incident my kids constantly repeat the mantra "Can we speak to Bum Joly please?" and then collapse in a fit of giggles. They are at the poo-humour stage and find any reference to bums, bottoms, farts etc, totally hilarious. My three-year-old boy Jackson has cleverly reworked the lyrics to Leona Lewis's smash hit "I keep, keep bleeding" to "I keep, keep farting". This kept them going for a three-hour car ride yesterday. I really need to tap into this humour market as it's huge and it would mean I could walk into stores here and not get really bitter and angry because all I see is Sacha Baron Cohen's face everywhere.

I try to forget that we both started in the same room together at Paramount Comedy Channel, and that I'm actually really happy doing my thing. Who needs global success? It does, however, get difficult sometimes. I remember when I was on the set of the ill-fated 'Trigger Happy' (from which I totally disassociate myself). I woke up in the Soho Grand hotel in New York feeling very rock'*'roll I had my own American TV series, a suite in a cool hotel ... then I opened my blinds to see a 75-metre poster of Ali G staring at me from across the street.

"Mr Joly? Is there anything you would like me to put in your room to surprise your wife?" The woman from the hotel was still on the line. I toyed with the idea of a hooker. That would definitely surprise Stacey.

"Mr Joly, is everything OK? Are you happy to keep the booking you have, sir? Is there anything else I can do for you?" She sounded concerned. I said nothing, apart from confirming my booking.

The hotel is right next to two giant malls, and one's "the biggest in North America". Canadians love these kind of statistics it makes them feel less inferior to their American neighbours. I'm next to Yonge Street, "the longest street in the world", and can see the CN Tower, "the tallest free-standing tower in the world". It used to be the tallest "building", then the tallest "free-standing structure", but now it's just the tallest "tower" it's sad, really. I imagine Sacha Baron Cohen has probably built a taller building in the grounds of his Hollywood mansion. Not that I'm bitter or anything ...

The next day I turned up at the hotel with family in tow. It's one of the oldest and classiest in the city and I love the place. The jokes, however, kept on coming.

Parker thought they were probably huge fans of "Bum" Joly, and when they discovered I was "Dom" Joly we'd all be moved to a broom cupboard. I ignored her and wandered around the suite wondering how I could get the whole family out for the day so I could lounge around ordering room service and watching the enormous telly.

I turn it on and suddenly Rick Gervais's slightly disturbing laugh fills the suite.

"So Ricky, to what do you attribute your success stateside?" asks a fawning reporter. I call room service. "Hi, Bum Joly here. Send me up two bottles of vodka. I just love that Xmas spirit ..."