Joe Lycett opens up on backlash to David Beckham stunt and "velvet rage"
The comedian reflected on a whirlwind 2022 ahead of his brand new show.
Joe Lycett has revealed he felt "strangely" calm during the backlash to his World Cup publicity stunt, when he seemingly shredded £10,000 in cash – which was later confirmed to be fake.
The comedian made the bold gesture in protest of David Beckham's support for the Qatar World Cup, after the football legend was reported to have signed a multi-million pound deal with the organisers.
Lycett had grave concerns about the treatment of LGBTQ+ people in Qatar, with the comic threatening that Beckham's status as an ally would be left in tatters by his involvement in the event.
The widely covered stunt closely followed a headline-grabbing appearance on the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg show, where Lycett's thinly veiled criticism of then-Prime Ministerial hopeful Liz Truss caused a huge response on social media.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press, Lycett said he didn't feel any pressure to make his next stunt even bigger, explaining that he never knows which ideas are going to take off.
"The ones that do well are always the ones that surprise me," he began. "I didn't expect my appearance on the Laura Kuenssberg show to become such a big deal. I thought I was doing a bit of press, essentially.
"I thought I was going onto a show to sell a few tour tickets. That's it. And then... for people to stop me in the street about it and for people to essentially claim that I brought down the UK Government – none of that was planned. None of that was expected."
He went on to say that while the Beckham campaign was clearly intended to garner press, he doesn't tackle an issue with that goal in mind "unless I'm really confident that I can get some sort of result".
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Lycett said: "It’s much easier for me, actually, if I'm not trending and I'm not in the paper because I live a much happier, quieter life. And so if anything, I feel pressure from my own mental health to not do big stunts, but then I get wound up by something and I can't help myself!"
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The comedian, who will be hosting Late Night Lycett for Channel 4 at the end of the month, explained that he was well prepared for the visceral reaction to his threat of shredding money.
"The Beckham thing was a deliberate attempt to court negative press," he explained. "I went in expecting and hoping that people would go, ‘Oh, he can't do that. That's a disgrace.’ It needed that in order to kind of put fuel on the fire and to get it talked about.
"I suppose I was very surprised by how effective that was. I talked about having anxiety, but as I say, when things are going well, the anxiety is at its worst. It's when things wheels are off that’s when I feel the most calm, strangely."
He added: "So actually, when things have kind of not gone to plan or when I've been sort of under attack, that's when I get my most zen... So around that Beckham stuff in particular – it’s probably the noisiest thing I’ve done [but] I was very calm.
"I was angry, but I didn’t feel wound up particularly. I had a bit of what was described to me as ‘velvet rage’, which I really enjoyed as a description."
Additional reporting by Grace Henry.
Late Night Lycett launches on Channel 4 at 10pm on Friday 31st March 2023. Check out more of our Entertainment coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.
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