Monday, 21 March 2011

Communication is a Virus: Trigger Happy TV- TV prank shows.

Trigger Happy TV is a hidden camera comedy television programme. The original British edition of the show starred Dom Joly and ran for two series on Channel 4 from 2000 to 2002. Joly made a name for himself as the sole star of the show, which he produced and directed with cameraman Sam Cadman. 

The programme largely consisted of Joly entering into ludicrous or embarrasing situations in public places, all of which were secretively filmed by Cadman. Sketches took place in a variety of locations, though largely in Central London and Cheltenham.

Unlike most hidden camera programmes, most of the scenes in Trigger Happy TV revolved around Joly making fun of himself as oppossed to making fun of others- many scenes making people stop and either laugh, or simply very curious about what was going on.

The programmes surreal sketches have often been described as being influenced by Dadaism. Other scenes include people dressed as animals breaking into a fight and the progress of various costumed pedestrians (such as snails and an olf man) across a zebra crossing in London. 

The signature sketch of the series shows Joly present in a public place, often somewhere relatively quiet such as an art gallery, a library or an internet cafe, when a loud Nokia ring tone sounds. After a moment's pause, Joly lifts an oversized model of a mobile phone into view and shouts "HELLO?!" into it, and continues to loudly converse.

I discovered Trigger Happy TV rather embarrasingly late in my life- perhaps only half a year or so ago, so this has played a huge inspiration in my more recent work- I love the way that Dom Joly weaves surreal and dark humour into his practical jokes and pranks- a style which I would love to develop further in the future with for Dada-esque stunts and displays.

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