Dom Joly

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Dom Joly
Dom Joly in 2011.jpg
Joly in May 2011
Birth nameDominic John Joly
Born (1967-11-15) 15 November 1967 (age 54)
Beirut, Lebanon
MediumTelevision, books, stand-up
Years active1999–present
GenresCharacter comedy, improvisational comedy, physical comedy

Dominic John Romulus Joly (/ˈɒli/; born 15 November 1967) is an English comedian and writer. He is best known as the star of Trigger Happy TV (2000–2003), a hidden camera prank show that was broadcast in over 70 countries worldwide.

Early life[edit]

Dominic John Romulus Joly was born in Beirut on 15 November 1967, to British parents John Joly and his second wife, Yvonne.[2] John Joly, a pilot with the Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War, owned banking, insurance, and shipping agency Henry Heald & Co., which was managed, later bought, by Joly's great-grandfather.[3][4][5][6] The family business is now run by Joly's sister.[7] Joly's parents were "quite detached" and he was raised with a nanny; his parents separated when Joly was 18, and for 20 years he had little contact with his father, reconciling in his old age prior to his death in 2011. He has a half-brother and two half-sisters resident in Lebanon and England, to whom he is not close.[8][7]

Joly attended Brummana High School in Lebanon.[9][10][11] He then moved to England, where he was educated at Dragon School in Oxford and Haileybury College near Hertford. He later attended the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.[12] He studied for a degree in politics.[13] Joly speaks Arabic, Czech, and French in addition to English.[10]

In 2018 Joly told the Sunday People that when he was at school in Beirut in the 1970s a fellow pupil brought a severed head to show his class.[14]


After university Joly was a diplomat, based in Prague.[15][16][17]


Trigger Happy TV[edit]

The original series ran for two series on Channel 4 from 2000 to 2003.

In 2003, a new series of Trigger Happy TV was made for an American audience with an altered format that featured a band of different comedians who performed skits without Joly although he cameoed. Joly was not happy with the US version.[18]

Following the success of Trigger Happy TV on Channel 4, Joly was secured by the BBC for a rumoured £5 million.[19]

This is Dom Joly[edit]

This is Dom Joly was a spoof chat show presented by Dom Joly, originally shown on BBC Three in 2003.

World Shut Your Mouth[edit]

World Shut Your Mouth was a hidden camera television series starring Joly. It ran on Friday nights in 2005 on BBC One.

Dom Joly's Happy Hour[edit]

In this series which aired in 2006, Joly and his partner Peter Wilikins travelled the world and tried the unique alcoholic beverages of each country. It ran on BBC One.

Made in Britain[edit]

In 2009, Joly fronted a show titled Made in Britain, shown on the Blighty channel in the UK.[20]

Fool Britannia[edit]

In 2012-13, Joly made two series of Fool Britannia, a hidden camera show that aired on Saturday evenings on ITV1.

Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls[edit]

In 2016 Joly was marooned on a desert island for two weeks for Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls.


In 2020 Joly walked the Sultans Trail from Belgrade to Istanbul for the BBC One series Pilgrimage. [21][22]


Joly was a columnist for The Independent on Sunday from 2003 until the paper closed in 2016.

He was thought to be the writer of a spoof column in The Independent and then i called "Cooper Brown: He's out there",[23] and later confirmed in his autobiography that this was the case.[24] The column is published as the work of an American character named Cooper Brown and revolves around his putative adventures as "a garrulous American showbiz type".[25]

In 2010, Joly published a travel book called The Dark Tourist: Sightseeing in the World's Most Unlikely Holiday Destinations, investigating dark tourism.[26] In the book Joly travels to places that witnessed great tragedy and death, including Chernobyl, which he visited on 4 May 2009; his childhood home of Lebanon; North Korea; various spots in the United States including locations of famous assassinations; the Killing Fields of Cambodia; and Iran for a skiing holiday.[27] The book was published on 2 September 2010 in the UK.

Joly published his second travel book, Scary Monsters and Super Creeps, in 2012. In the book, he travels the world in search of mythical monsters such as Bigfoot and the Yeti.

In 2019 Joly published the travel book The Hezbollah Hiking Club, in which he documented his walk across Lebanon with two friends.

Joly was a special correspondent for the Independent at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.[28] While in Beijing, he also appeared daily on the Drive programme on Five Live.[29]

Political career[edit]

In the 1997 UK general election, Joly stood in Kensington and Chelsea against Alan Clark. Hiring out hundreds of teddy bear costumes, he staged mock protests at Westminster and came fifth out of nine candidates, receiving 218 votes (0.6%).[30]


On 29 June 2018, Joly released the first episode of his comedy podcast, Earworm.[31] In 2020 the second series of the podcast was released by Audible.

Personal life[edit]

Joly is married to Canadian graphic designer Stacey MacDougall. Having lived in the Notting Hill area of London, the two later sold their apartment to novelist Salman Rushdie and bought a property in Gloucestershire to raise their children there.[32]

Joly has spoken about his struggles with anxiety and depression.[33][34]


  1. ^ "Dom Joly on vaping, turning 50 and why he's an embarrassing dad". 19 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Dom Joly reveals horror when classmate bought severed head into school growing up in Lebanon".
  3. ^ "Not as Joly as he seems". 10 April 2012.
  4. ^ The Downhill Hiking Club: A Short Walk Across the Lebanon, Dom Joly, Hachette UK, 2019
  5. ^ Charlotte Reather. "Dom Joly : TV's prankster and star of The Complainers has taken to country life like a duck to water. Hunting, shooting, polo? Bring It On, he says" (PDF). Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Dom Joly Biography". Celebrity Birthdays. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Dom Joly: A sad homecoming, to bury my brave father". 9 July 2011.
  8. ^ "Dom Joly: My family values". 9 September 2011.
  9. ^ Dom Joly (9 June 2019). "Dom Joly's foodie tour of Lebanon". Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  10. ^ a b Child Genius vs Celebrities Christmas Special. Channel 4 Television. 24 December 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  11. ^ Also on television comedy panel show Would I Lie to You?, and radio show Loose Ends 8 June 2019.
  12. ^ "Not as Joly as he seems". London Evening Standard. 31 January 2003. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Dom Joly: How we made Trigger Happy TV". 24 February 2020.
  14. ^ McKelvie, Geraldine (27 October 2018). "Dom Joly revisits trauma of childhood after meeting Ukrainian landmine victim". mirror. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  15. ^ "Dom Joly: Taming my inner political animal". 11 February 2007.
  16. ^ @domjoly (17 July 2021). "@vivajohnyates I speak four languages, am a former diplomat and a former producer for ITN in Parliament with a degr…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  17. ^ "The accidental diplomat: Dom Joly on his "magical" year in early '90s Prague".
  18. ^ "Television The return of the king". The Times. London. 2 January 2005. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  19. ^ "Dom Joly Biography". Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  20. ^ [1] Archived 4 August 2012 at
  21. ^ "Here's all you need to know about Pilgrimage Road To Istanbul". 10 April 2020.
  22. ^ "Pilgrimage: Road to Istanbul was more Duke of Edinburgh than RE". 27 March 2020.
  23. ^ "The Londoner's Diary". London Evening Standard. 25 October 2008.
  24. ^ Joly, Dom, Here Comes The Clown: A Stumble Through Show Business, p. 141, Simon and Schuster, 2015, ISBN 0857207695, 9780857207692
  25. ^ Spanier, Gideon (10 January 2007). "In the air". London Evening Standard.
  26. ^ "Dom Joly: At war in Thailand, but keeping my Buddha dry". The Independent. London. 19 April 2009. Archived from the original on 21 April 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  27. ^ "Dom Joly, The Dark Tourist". Tuppence Magazine. London. 1 March 2012. Archived from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  28. ^ Locke, Suzanne (22 March 2016). "British comedian Dom Joly works to live a 'fun' life". The National. Abu Dhabi. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  29. ^ "2008 Olympics press pack: 5 live at the Olympics" (Press release). BBC. 19 June 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  30. ^ "Guardian Unlimited Politics, Kensington and Chelsea". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 25 June 2006. Retrieved 27 September 2007.
  31. ^ Joly, Dom. "Earworm". iTunes Store. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  32. ^ Dom Joly, The Dark Tourist (Chatham, 2010), p. 11.
  33. ^ "Dom Joly on anxiety attacks: Trigger Happy TV star says they almost cost him his big break". Daily Mirror. 15 May 2014.
  34. ^ "Not as Joly as he seems". 10 April 2012.

External links[edit]