It’s fair to say we think Scottish-born funnyman Danny Wallace is pretty ace. As a slacker BBC producer he made us laugh by giving The Mighty Boosh guys their first big break and by getting up to shenanigans with his flatmate Dave Gorman. He’s since written a flurry of rib-tickling books which have seen him start a cult, become king of a country called Lovely and say yes to everything. That last project has now been made into a film, in which he’s played by Jim Carrey. Oh, and he’s got a new book out. Busy man.
Has Hollywood changed The Yes Man?
It’s very different from the book, because it’s American and it’s Jim Carrey. So from day one I just said: “The book is always there, the book will never change, but with the film we can do anything, and Jim Carrey’s doing it, so do your thing.” The structure’s the same, the characters are pretty much the same, but a lot is very different.
Has that annoyed your diehard fans?
People do get on their high horse. But that’s silly. That’s saying no when the whole book is about saying yes to things. Why close yourself off? It’s a silly book with a good heart. I said: “As long as it’s a silly, warm film with a good heart and it’s funny, that’s what I care about.” I’d rather there were two things in the world that were different and exciting than two things the same.
How’s it feel being Jim Carrey?
Great. I’m a big fan of his. I thought if he plays it like The Truman Show then that would be the way I would want it. He does it really well. Jim Carrey challenged me recently to bungy jump, because he bungy jumps for the film. Apparently there’s a crew coming over to London and they’re going to push me off a bridge.
Are you still saying yes?
I don’t say it to everything because I’d be dead by now and broke. But I say yes more. When I see one of those opportunities it’s like a foreign film where a subtitle comes up and I know what I have to say. My grandma used to say, “you’re as likely to meet the love of your life at a bad party as at a good one”.
What’s the story behind your new book, in which you’re hunting down mates you haven’t seen for 20 years?
I was turning 30. You realise that you’ve basically been coasting along on a diet of lager and processed cheese. What happened to me was, I went to my fridge and I thought I’ll get out a can of lager and there wasn’t any. There was brie and a bottle of nice sauvignon blanc. I had ready access to basil. I had scatter cushions. I realised that somehow something had changed. Around the same time I found this address book with 12 names of some of my best friends from growing up. I just thought, how are they dealing with the changes? Because unless something had gone really wrong, they’d be the same age as me still.
Was it strange tracking them down?
It was a marvellous little adventure. My mate Tariq is now one of Germany’s premier rappers. He picked me up in a blacked-out, blinged-up Merc with his crew. Another one is weirdly third in line to the throne in Fiji. He’s a minor royal. He’s got his own village.
And you’re Down Under touring the Big Things at the moment?
It’s a great way of moving along the coast. I’ll start with the chook and write about what happens on the way to the big earth worm.
What’s the appeal?
I like the fact that everyone in Australia thinks they’re rubbish, and yet they keep building them. They started out representing the area, “hey look, we’re great at prawns,” or, “we love oysters”, and then it just became, “we’ve got a lot of mosquitos, let’s build a big mosquito”. Why? Keep that quiet. Don’t build
a massive one.
Danny’s new book, Friends Like These, is out now, published by Ebury Press