Dom Joly: Vitamin highs, turkey lows, and a nice, cool Bellini

Sunday 23 October 2011 09:03

My UK tour rolls on (19 down, 51 to go) and I'm seriously starting to flag. A two-hour show every night really takes it out of you. The highs and lows of adrenaline leave me on my knees so I have been experimenting with (so far) legal products to assist my energy levels on stage.

My first choice was both obvious and pleasurable: alcohol. I started off with a daily Bellini rider (champagne and white peach juice) and this had a lovely kick-start effect and I was on fire. But the cumulative result of getting pleasurably smashed every night started to catch up with me and I couldn't carry on.

I tried beer next – but that made me aggressive towards the audience. I started to pick fights and ask people in the front row "What are you looking at?" and accuse them of spilling my pint and inquiring whether they'd like to "go outside and sort it out".

In Edinburgh, I upgraded to a bottle of quality red wine and a lovely meal with my wife before going on. It had the effect of Mogadon – I felt like Alan Clark delivering a slurry speech in the House of Commons. As it turned out, the entire Edinburgh audience was very drunk and we all ended up shouting slurry things at each other in an affectionate manner. Despite this, I came to the conclusion that alcohol is not the comedian's friend on stage.

Then I started developing a quite serious Red Bull problem: about six cans before going on stage. This is roughly the equivalent of about 800 espressos and I'd bounce around the stage like Zebedee from The Magic Roundabout and didn't sleep for days.

My techie guy, Ollie, then suggested a South American vitamin drink. Ollie had toured with Charlie Boorman, who apparently swore by the stuff. It seemed to work at first, but then I began to hallucinate and all of the good people of Derby turned into purple lizards that I had to fight off as their tongues were attacking me. It was a most peculiar gig – rather enjoyable, actually, even though I remember nothing of it whatsoever, except for the moment that a giant condor descended and took me high up into the Andes to its nest.

At this moment, my tour manager stepped in and banned me from taking any more. She also strongly advised me against eating turkey. This was a bit left field, but she swore that truck drivers are not allowed to eat it as it contains an enzyme that makes you drowsy. I had never heard of this, but it might explain why everyone falls asleep after Christmas lunch (apart from in my house where I lace it with diazepam so that it all ends as quickly as possible).

I'm weirdly fascinated by this snoozy turkey theory. You never heard Bernard Matthews talking about this particular side-effect. Next time I go to a truckers' pit-stop (I don't go that often, to be honest) I'm going to talk loudly about my huge "rig" outside and then try to order a turkey club and see what happens.

On my tour, I've calmed down a little and am now restricted to a bottle of fizzy water and some sushi. Occasionally, if I'm feeling really wild, I'll have a bottle of beer, but I try to remember that the audience is looking at me because it's a gig and not because they want a fight. It's not very rock'n'roll, but I like it.

Ah well, there's always the post-tour period where I go home, get hooked on heroin, discover Eastern religion and end up in the Priory.

Dom appears in Salisbury tonight, and Farnham, Crawley, Durham and Darlington later this week

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