As he prepares for the release of his new book ‘Happy Slapped by a Jellyfish’ – Xfm’s Karl Pilkington took some time out to speak to Charles Whitworth about working with Ricky Gervais, his new book and why he would eat a kangaroo’s genitalia!
ST: Karl, your new book ‘Happy Slapped by a Jellyfish – The Words of Karl Pilkington’ was released on October 4th, about your memories of travelling the globe – should readers be expecting another laugh a minute following your release of last year (The Words of Karl Pilkington).
KP: Don’t know if it’s a laugh a minute. Depends on how fast you read. It’s just a load of stories about holidays that I’ve been on.
Suzanne me girlfriend came up with the idea when I was on holiday. I got some paper from the hotel reception and started it.
When I got back I showed what I had done to the publishers and they liked it so I did a load more.
It was weird because I could remember holidays from years ago but struggled more with the recent ones – I can only put it down to the fact that I’ve nearly filled me memory space in me head.
ST: You have obviously reached the top of your trade being a Sony Award winner and producing and presenting on radio station Xfm with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant – what would you say the highlight of your career so far is?
KP: I suppose the pod casts should be me highlight as they are really popular world wide and I have got into the Guinness Book of Records with them, but I don’t think they are the highlight as they were easy to do.
We just sat and had a chat for 30 odd minutes then bunged it on the internet. They were popular because of Ricky and Steve, not me.
I was just lucky to be part of it in the same way the wise men got a mention in the bible – just because they knew Jesus. I bet there were wiser men knocking about.
The highlight is probably this new book as I did all the writing and drawing on me own, which considering I never really completed an essay at school – isn’t bad going is it?
The wise men never did anything on their own did they?
ST: You have been described by your peers as ‘the funniest man alive in Britain today’ – how do you feel about this tag?
KP: It’s daft; I think Ricky said it once meaning I’m quite funny considering I’m not a proper comedian, but nobody believes taglines anyway do they.
Is Gillette really the best a man can get? It isn’t is it?
ST: You have gained cult status both here and in America due partly to your statement that you could ‘eat a knob at night’ – would you like to set the record straight on this at all?
KP: It was when we were talking about ‘I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here’ on one of the pod casts.
On the programme they eat kangaroo knob for points, and all I was saying is we forget that when they are doing that, we’re watching it in the evening when it is breakfast time in Australia.
I just said I couldn’t eat something like that first thing in the morning. I don’t really like eating in the morning; I do it because I have to, whereas I like eating stuff at night so I could probably eat a knob at night. That’s all it was.
They also ate kangaroo anus. I don’t even think the Aborigines in the outback eat that bit. There is loads of meat on a kangaroo so why would you eat its knob and arse?
ST: Your video on Amazon shows you trying to write your book, with great difficulty due a combination of noisy builders and a childish Ricky Gervais – was your new release harder to write than ‘The World of Karl Pilkington’?
KP: It took longer as the first book was just a transcript of stuff we chatted about on the pod casts.
We brought that out for people who didn’t have iPods. I had to think a lot more for this one.
The noise from the builders was annoying though. It’s still going on and they are Polish builders as well which makes it worse as they work longer hours.
ST: What advice would you give the nation’s students that wish to pursue a career in comedy, either on the radio or on television?
KP: I don’t like advice. When I told my teacher that I wanted to get into radio she advised me to stop wasting my time and then sent me on work experience at a garage as she said I’d be a good mechanic.
I was kicked out of the garage on the second day for getting oil all over the owners’ floor and he advised me to find another place to work.
So, who was I meant to listen to? I think you should have a go at anything. You’ll eventually find out if you’re good enough or not without someone else telling you.
ST: The nation eagerly awaits the release of your new book, in the meantime what three words would you use to describe it?
KP: It’s – A – book!
ST: You have recently finished filming a show for Channel 4 called ‘Karl Pilkington – Satisfied Fool’ will this be touching on much of what you write in your book?
KP: No, it’s nothing to do with the book – I made it about a year ago.
I just wanted to know if I’d be happier if I was more intelligent as I left school with only an E in history.
Ricky and Steve and other mates are always saying I should know more but I wanted to know if I did know more, would it make me any happier.
I met up with some intelligent people and had a chat with them for a bit. It’s a short documentary – I think it’s going out in the middle of October.
ST: Your new book is rather oddly named – can you tell us a bit a about the title or should we sit tight until October?
KP: It’s taken from one of the chapters in the book as I hadn’t been in the sea for years.
It put me off when I found out that we know more about what’s on the moon than we know about stuff that’s knocking about in the sea.
I don’t like the way that there is too many hiding places for dangerous stuff. They can hide under the sand, in the seaweed, and under rocks.
My girlfriend said that I was being daft and was missing out so I went in and ended up being stung by a jellyfish. It came from nowhere and stung my foot and I said it was like I’d been ‘happy slapped’ by a jellyfish – Suzanne said it would be a good title.
ST: Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are obviously hilarious people to work with, but are they just as funny away from work and finally, are there any plans of a show that will star the three of you – this would surely be a real treat for anyone interested in contemporary comedy?
KP: They’re just normal blokes. You probably have mates who can be funny and make you laugh. Saying that, your mates probably don’t want to squeeze your head and wrestle you like Ricky does.
The problem with funny people is they never really stop.
Even when I was in hospital with kidney stones Ricky came to visit me and started laughing at me because I had those surgical stockings on. He said something about how the doctor would be sticking a finger up me arse when I was put to sleep. Not what you need is it?
There isn’t a show planned. We might do some more pod casts at some point. I don’t really want to do comedy stuff though – I would prefer to make some documentaries where I learn stuff.
I’ve made a short film for Ricky’s [Gervais] ‘Fame’ DVD where I talk to a bloke called Howard who is going to live forever. I might be making another short film as well about what it’s like to be a real extra for an extra on the Extras DVD.
Karl Pilkington’s Book Happy Slapped by a Jellyfish – The Words of Karl Pilkington published by Dorling Kindersley on 4th October, priced £12.99.
Posted: 21/08/07 By Charlie Whitworth