Joe Lycett admits viral stunts put ‘pressure’ on his mental health – but he’s not ready to stop

Joe Lycett wearing a white t-shirt and smiling at the camera against a teal background.

Following his evisceration of David Beckham and Liz Truss last year, comedian Joe Lycett has gained something of a reputation for being the UK’s most hilarious troll.

Yet despite his antics making him one of the most beloved household names in the country, Lycett has revealed that the stunts do put “pressure” on his mental health.

“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,” Lycett told Radio Times in a new interview.

“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,” he said.

Lycett made headlines throughout the duration of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, as he criticised David Beckham’s involvement with the country due to its appalling record on LGBTQ+ rights.

The comedian, 34, threatened to shred £10,000 unless Beckham backed out of his £150 million World Cup ambassador deal, forcing the former footballer to make a statement about his controversial collaboration. 

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Speaking about the PR stunt and its implications, Lycett said: “The Beckham thing was a deliberate attempt to court negative press … I went in expecting and hoping that people would go, ‘Oh, he can’t do that. That’s a disgrace’.”

“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.”

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Lycett explained that he usually goes for full-on trolling when something has made him “angry”.

Back in September, he appeared on the BBC’s flagship weekend politics show, Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, posing as a “very right-wing” comedian to highlight the chaotic nature of Liz Truss’s leadership.

A graphic showing on the left an image of comedian Joe Lycett dressed in a pink and white frilly top and David Beckham on the white dressed in a tuxedo. The background shows pink and blue spots
Joe Lycett has been nominated at the British LGBT Awards for his David Beckham stunt. (Getty)

In December, he explained the personal reason behind his decision to troll Truss – it came from his anger at the Partygate scandal.

At the height of the pandemic, Lycett lost a close friend to cancer who had to have a “very small, inadequate funeral” in order to follow the Covid-19 lockdown rules.

“We did everything properly and to find out they didn’t – less that they didn’t, ’cause I understand the movement of government, and there was so much going on and people make mistakes; I get that – but the consistent lying that they all did for each other and for Boris [Johnson], I thought was disgraceful, really,” Lycett told The News Agents podcast.

While Lycett may feel the pressure following his viral stunts, they have clearly impressed the executives at Channel 4.

From 31 March, Lycett will host his new, “queer” Friday night comedy series Late Night Lycett, featuring celebrity guests and, of course, chaotic antics.

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