Dom Joly’s smash hit hidden camera show plagued Londoners in the early 2000s. And was also rather funny. Let’s remember it all right here.
Trigger Happy TV
The show stars Dom Joly and his producer Sam Cadman, although the former takes on most of the acting duties.
Unlike traditional candid camera shows, Trigger Happy TV’s premise wasn’t to make unsuspecting members of the public look stupid.
Instead, Joly went about behaving in a bizarre way. And the nearby public’s reactions were then recorded.
The first series began in 2000 and over three series it ran to 2003.
A very fast-paced show, the format involved Joly entering into ludicrous and embarrassing situations with someone nearby.
Such as this, which plays on the English football hooligans of the time who’d just trashed various French towns in Euro 2000.
Of course, this being TV land, Joly would do the sketch and then would require the individual(s) involved to sign legal agreement for use in the show.
So he’d have this odd situation of behaving in a bizarre way. Then he’d have to chase after someone who’d just been startled by his behaviour and kindly ask them to sign on the dotted line.
Joly later noted some of the best skits he did didn’t make the show, simply because those involved refused to sign off on it.
Anyway, occasionally some of the efforts were incredibly elaborate, involving a hundred extras or so wearing furry costumes.
The most famous sketch of his turned out to be remarkably prescient. A recurring character, it involves Joly holding an enormous novelty mobile phone.
He’d then receive a phone call and answer it by roaring “HELLO!” into the phone, startling everyone around him.
That’s the first clip we saw in 2000 and immediately laughed and loved the show.
What we didn’t know at the time is, with the present smartphone explosion, that’s now a regular occurrence wherever we go.
Self-absorbed folks roaring into their phones in any given location.
Another fun part to Trigger Happy TV was Dom Joly’s crew mainly filmed in central London. So you can see many famous locations all over the place.
All of which led to sudden fame for Joly, although he’s more of a cult star now.
But at his peak of success around 2001, he’d often attend certain events and be considered a security threat.
Such as a Wimbledon during the tennis—his image was distributed amongst guards to stop him interrupting matches (which, of course, he wasn’t there to do).
In later years, Joly took the show to America with moderate success. The BBC also hired him after Trigger Happy TV and he produced a failed spoof TV chat show.
However, in 2005 he took up the World Shut Your Mouth project for the Beeb. And it was much better, playing on his Trigger Happy TV skills.
As he’s very adapt at playing the sardonic straight man in absurd moments. With an uncanny ability to keep a straight face in the face of ridiculousness.
And for that, we doff our caps. Because the shows are very funny. And we like them a lot.
Where to Watch Trigger Happy TV
You can actually watch all of series 1 through to 3 online with the Dead Parrot channel on YouTube. Which is nice of them.
That’s of Trigger Happy TV, of course. Whilst World Shut Your Mouth is also available all over the place online.
If you want some fast-paced, goofball humour with a cool soundtrack… well, then this is the one for you.