Advent calendar 2: Danny Wallace interview

On the second day of Christmas,
The Bakery gave to us all:
An interview with a jolly nice chap.

Way back in 2003, I was fortunate enough to interview Danny Wallace for a short-lived online magazine at my Sixth Form College. At the time, he had just released his book Join Me, telling the true story of how he started a cult of ‘Joinees’ who perform random acts of kindness every Friday.


What I didn’t know at the time of contacting him, was that he was just embarking on a campaign of saying Yes to everything. This period of his life was later turned into a book and adapted into a film called ‘Yes Man’ with Jim Carrey playing Danny (albeit renamed Carl). The scene where I contact Danny and interview him was mysteriously missing from the film (maybe Johnny Depp was busy that day?) Anyway, it did happen. And I am extremely grateful to Danny for being kind enough to do a good deed and say Yes to my request. So, here is the first ever celebrity interview I conducted…

Hello Danny. How are you?
I am very well, and thank you for asking. You have been well brought-up.

What was the last good deed you did in the name of Join Me?

Quite an unexciting one, I’m afraid. But I was walking past someone’s door in the building where I live and noticed that it was really quite grubby. So on the way back I buffed it up a treat. They’ll probably never notice, but if they do, they’ll be both confused and happy, which is a combination I love.

You are the man who once famously had a bet with Dave Gorman that he couldn’t meet 57 other people with his name. Is Dave a Joinee?

Dave isn’t a joinee, no – for the simple fact that if you know me, you’ll know I’m a bit rubbish. None of my mates would have joined me in the early days for precisely this reason!

Which Joinee’s name do you think has the nicest ring to it?

I’ll always have a soft spot for Joinee Slootmaekers of Belgium.

Have any well-known people become Joinees? Have any steps been taken to get a celebrity to join?

No steps have been taken to get a celeb because I like things to be organic – if one wants to join, then that’s cool. Richard and Judy offered, as did Phillip Schofield and Melinda Messenger and a host of others, but as yet, no photo. I did bump into Mackenzie Crook last night and he said he was about to join, so we’ll see!

What is the weirdest experience you’ve had as a result of being the leader of the Karma Army?

Probably becoming a minor celebrity in Belgium. But then, that happens to everyone eventually.

What is it that you really have against bongos?

What is not to despise about the Way Of The Bongo?

What is your message to any students of Solihull 6th Form College who may be unsure about joining?

Nothing will ever happen to you unless you do something.

Are there any romances that have blossomed as a result of Join Me?

There are a few – and there’s even a Join Me wedding happening in Australia next year!

How far do you see Join Me going? I assume you are going for global domination? Do you have any plans to move into Outer Space? (I’m sure Dennis Hope could help with this aspect)

I think we can agree I’ve conquered Europe. America is the next step, and the launch of the American Karma Army (aka AKA). Space travel does not figure in my immediate plans.

How many nationalities are united by the Karma Army?

God, loads.

You recently introduced Happy Mondays. What spurred this on?

I liked the idea of people doing something small and special for themselves once a week – just something to make them happy on that most annoying of days. Plus, it gave me an excuse to use the phrase ‘Happy Mondays’.

Many suggestions for good deeds involve spending money. What do you advise we poor students do on a Good Friday?

Smile more.

When the time comes, what would you like your epitaph to be?

“He came, he saw, we joined him.” – Danny

3 Comments

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  1. Chef Alaric

    Holly Christmas Balls, this is a very good interview. In 2003 i was still getting over the shock of hair appearing on my body, instead of conducting interviews with interesting people.

    Also Richard, are you aware that you haven’t aged a day since then? Infact i think you’ve got younger. Then again, i’ve always had issues visually understanding humans born north of Tewkesbury.

    • Thanks Al. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Well if you weren’t interviewing interesting folk back in 2003, what were you up to? Write us a blog post. I’m sure we would all get a lot more in the festive spirit if we heard tales of you throwing bangers at doggers in Stroud.

  2. Florence & the blood pressure machine

    Most enjoyable, good to see this again I had forgotten about it.

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