Contact

Hey there.

BUSINESS

I’m represented by Hannah Layton at Hannah Layton Management.

(I know sometimes people think they prefer to go around agents, but honestly: all that’ll happen is I’ll tell you to go through the agents, and then the agents will be annoyed you didn’t go through the agents in the first place.)

For Voiceovers and Narration I’m with Earache Voices.
For books, and foreign rights, speak to Robert Kirby at United Agents.
For dramatic rights, it’s St. John Donald at United.
In the United States, my agents are United Talent Agency.
US Management is through 3Arts.
Corporate/Awards bookings are JLA.

NOT BUSINESS

You can e-mail me here – I’m afraid I’m not always able to reply to everything I get – although I do read ’em all. For updates, you can sign up to the mailing list, or join this Facebook group. Or, if you’re part of the Twitterati, there’s this: @dannywallace.

Question for me? Well, below you’ll find some answers to some questions that newspapers have asked me over the years, which may contain what you need!


FAQ&A

What would you accept for payment apart from money?
Good karma. Or a big horse made from diamonds.

 

What’s your favourite game?
I still find hide and seek disproportionately exciting, although I am now more burly than I was at four, meaning I can now no longer hide behind small trees.

 

If you were a meal, what would it be?
Curry and a six pack. A six pack of beer, I mean. Curries don’t tend to lead to the other kind.

 

Favourite work of art?
There’s something about Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North that I’m drawn to. Either that or the Big Boxing Crocodile of Humpty Doo.

 

Recommend a book.
Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith is my favourite. So much so my wife gave me a signed first edition from 1892. If you’ve not read it read it

 

Strongest childood memory?
Chasing a fat black cat around the field outside our old cottage in Scotland.

What question would you most like an answer to?
Was there ever nothing?

Who understands you best?
English speakers. And my tiny wife.

What moment in history would you travel to?
I’d probably pop back and say hello to Jesus, if only to prepare him for his impending celebrity, and warn him about his dad.

Do you need much sleep?
I like eight hours. Eight hours awake, I mean.

What conversation would you like to erase?
I think I’m at ease with the conversations I’ve had.

Have you ever said I love you and not meant it?
No. But I did accidentally put a little kiss on the end of an angry email to the council recently.

What’s the worst thing anyone’s ever said to you?
I’d only have to type my own name into google to find out. Anonymity is an abused priviledge, abused most by people who mistake vitriol for wisdom and cynicism for wit.

Guilty pleasure?
A Big Mac. But it’s amazing how the guilt disappears if you pop one on a proper plate and concentrate on the healing power of gherkins.

Would you want to live forever?
Too long. I’d like to live nearly forever.

What is the closest you’ve ever come to death?
I was once in a Tiger Moth as it sliced into the side of a private jet on a runway, inches from the fuel pipe. It was a rubbish plane crash, but hey it counts.

Property aside, whats the most expensive thing you have bought?
What I was in my Yes period, I bought a car off a bloke at a party, just because he said, I don’t suppose youd be interested in buying a car, would you?

What superpower would you like?
The power to control time. At the moment, all I can do is change it on my watch and pretend.

What is the worst job you have ever done?
Shifting boxes of weightlifting equipment when I only weighed the same as an apple.

What inspired you to embark on a career in the media?
Shifting boxes of weightlifting equipment when I only weighed the same as an apple. But I think there was a moment when I was watching the first episode of Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush when I realised blimey thats someone’s job! To be involved in something that seemed to be so much fun, and so cool, and so funny, seemed like a complete dream.

When you were 15 years old which newspaper did your family get, and did you read it?
The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph. I’m not sure I really read them, to be honest, but I did get Private Eye and pretend to understand it all.

And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?
It’s unfashionable to say it, or maybe it’s ironic-fashionable now, but Noel’s House Party. I think in its prime it was genuinely one of the best shows on TV. Imaginative, original, warm, inclusive and with some of the finest ideas for Saturday night fun that are still being stolen today. NTV was probably the most exciting idea ever.

Describe your job?
Writing and talking.

What’s the first media you turn to in the mornings?

I’ll switch LBC on as I wake up, and I’ll have The Wright Stuff on while I potter about, bumping into things and trying to find the kettle. Its handy for finding out what’s in the newspapers without trudging down to the newsagents, and also handy as I am particularly interested in Anton Du Beke’s take on world events.

Do you consult any media sources during the day?
Yeah. I’ll get the news from bbc.co.uk and I’ll watch Channel 4’s News at Noon, to get me ready and informed for Loose Women at 12.30. I also keep my eye on broadcastnow.co.uk

What do you tune into when you get home?
I fall asleep listening to the radio. Either Richard Bacon on 5Live, or Ian Collins on TalkSport. They’re both such great broadcasters, able to mix the funny and the serious with great ease. Although I preferred Richard Bacon when he had the polyp on his throat. It leant him great authority.

What is the best thing about your job?
Being able to have a bath at two o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon.

And the worst?
Worrying that I’m able to have a bath at two o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon.

How do you feel you influence the media?
I’d rather influence a reader.

What’s the proudest achievement in your working life?
I think, so far, it’s that Warner Bros have made a movie out of one of my books.

And what’s your most embarrassing moment?
Being at a BBC party to celebrate the awards various programmes had won. I saw a novelty get-your-picture-taken-with-a-fake-BAFTA stall and drunkenly convinced Alan Yentob to have his photo taken with me holding a fake BAFTA. He didnt really understand what was going on, but gamely had his photo taken with me. I had my arm around him at one point. As he left, I thanked him, and he shook my hand firmly and congratulated me on my achievements. I was confused. I asked the photogapher where I could pick up my novelty photo. He told me they were already with the press. I went white. It was not a novelty BAFTA stall. It was a real display, for real BAFTA winners, with real BAFTAS, and I’d just grabbed one and had my picture taken with Yentob, who clearly thought I was responsible for Walking With Dinosaurs. Two days later, I popped as a strangely-unnamed winner on a magazine website. I am still receiving congratulations to this day.

What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?
The Observer, The Independent on Sunday, and the News of the World. Guess which one I read first.

Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire?
The Eurovision Song Contest commentary.

What would you do if you didn’t work in the media?
I think I’d still have to do something along those lines, even if it was just editing the parish newsletter.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?
Jonathan Ross for pioneering, reinvention and quick wit. Terry Wogan for comfort, reassurance and warmth. And John Pidgeon, my mentor at the BBC, who took me on as a trainee a finer and more creative man youre not likely to meet.

First holiday memory?
Wearing a tiny cowboy hat and sitting on an air-bed with my incredibly tanned Dad in the sea in Mallorca.

Best holiday?
When I was a kid, we spent one summer in the south of France. All I did was read Asterix, but I came back browner, healthier and happier than after any holiday.

Favourite place in the British Isles?
The Highlands. I remember going with a friend when I was a kid and staying in a disused watermill. I love it in Scotland because of the natural wonder on your doorstep.

What have you learnt from your travels?
That most people are nice, wherever you go.

Ideal travelling companion?
A man I met in Barcelona called Marc. It was his philosophy to say “yes” to everything. If I travelled with him, we’d go off and have ridiculous experiences.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I like to be a beach bum.

Greatest travel luxury?
I realise this makes me sound like Elton John, but if I’m on the road for a few weeks, a Molton Brown travel pack. It’s nice to crack open something with a familiar smell.

Holiday reading?
A classic, a bit of non-fiction and something for fun. I recently read Lord of the Flies, Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia and Mike Gayle’s Wish You Were Here.

Where has seduced you?
Fagernes in Norway: acres of fir trees, a deer skipping gayly, salmon leaping… In my head I was one step away from a bird landing on my shoulder and talking to me. It was like a Disney cartoon.

Better to travel or arrive?
After being in economy-class hell on a flight to Shanghai, it’s nice to put your bags down.

Worst travel experience?
In Egypt with my friend Ross. We almost had guns pulled on us by airport security as we tried to convince them we were supposed to be on the EgyptAir plane.

Worst holiday?
Returning home from Sorrento to find that builders had inexplicably moved into my flat. I walked in to find scaffolding, half-empty tins of paint, a T-shirt on my pillow and a little surprise in the toilet. I nearly went back to Heathrow.

Best hotel?
The Park Hyatt in Sydney. The concierge was like a genie you could pick up the phone and he would get you anything. In the end we were setting him little challenges like, “We want to go to a roller disco but they don’t have any size 11 boots.”

Worst hotel?
A ryokan in Tokyo. It was a great hotel, but built for someone not quite as burly as me. Every time I walked down a corridor I’d break something, slam a door in an old woman’s face or bruise myself.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?
Driving on New Zealand’s Great Barrier Island, where I was for Castaway. I’d sometimes finish work at 6am, and drive up gravel roads and through streams. I’d get out of the car to watch the sun rise over crystal-clear water, which dolphins would leap from.

Best meal abroad?
The best curry I’ve ever had was in Warsaw’s only curry house. It was cooked by Tony Tandoori, a part-time stand-up comedian who employed models as waitresses.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
I watch the local news because you can judge quickly what sort of town you’re in. In Auckland there was a story about a man who’d been expelled from school for having a tattoo then trained to be a plumber, which outraged people.

Dream trip?
I quite like the idea of a half-safari, half-beach holiday.

Favourite city?
I got a huge kick out of Shanghai. I like completely alien places. I was constantly being stared at, even by other Westerners.

Where next?
I think I’m going to have a London holiday by doing the things I always do if I’m somewhere else.

How has your life changed since becoming a daddy?

Well, there are the awards, of course. I was so surprised and touched last year when, on my first-ever Father’s Day, I received a badge from my tiny son which read, “World’s Best Dad”. I was absolutely amazed. I had no idea I’d even been entered into the competition. To win it on my first attempt was a truly wonderful thing, and I just hope it will act as inspiration to other dads.

Of course, when I started to tell my friends about winning World’s Best Dad, they said things like “Oh, yeah, I got one of those, too,” which is quite sad, isn’t it, but I suppose people act weirdly when they’re jealous. One of them did show me a badge which looked quite similar, but I’m fairly certain this must have been some kind of regional heat.

Anyway, I should probably take this opportunity to once again thank everyone who voted! Fingers crossed I win again today!

How have you changed as a person since becoming a dad?

I’m a more tired person. It had never really occurred to me that there was a five in the morning before I was a dad. I’d heard talk of it, of course, and I knew there was one in the early evening because of that Dolly Parton song, but this new five o’clock – this morning one – was a revelation. What was it for? Why is it there? Do people actually do things at five in the morning? Well, yes, as it happens. Five in the morning is when you can usually catch me blearily holding my son’s hand as he decides he wants to walk round and round the sofa for the ninth time in quick succession while a Waybuloo DVD plays on repeat and various stuffed animals scream their pre-recorded catchphrases out at me as I stumble over their paws and tails.

Were you there for the birth?

Yes, my wife had told me it was happening, so I decided to pop by.

Was it how you imagined?

It was amazing, of course, and wonderful and beautiful and touching and a million other things besides. It was an emergency C-section in the end, because as it turned out, my son was perfectly happy where he was. It was warm, and he had everything he needed, so probably wasn’t in a huge hurry to join us for the winter, where there are cars and fumes and clouds and noise and worry. But I don’t think he minds it, now he’s here.

Are there certain jobs, errands or tasks you do now because you are a father that you wouldn’t have done before?

I knew I needed to man up a bit. And having a son did make that happen. I used to use handymen for quite simple tasks, which I think made them think that I was quite simple, too.

Now, though? Now I read instruction manuals! I have allen keys! I own an electric drill and I know what some of the settings mean! I build cabinets and hang pictures and fix locks and use insulation tape. Having a kid means your generation has more responsibilities. There are new people in town. And it’d be embarrassing if they thought you couldn’t operate a drill.

Have you participated in any baby groups?

My son is very cultured. There’s Sparky Songs with Richard. Baby Bounce. Toddler World. Gymboree. He has fun.

Mind you, he’s now a proper toddler; always at one end of the emotional spectrum or the other. Either there’s intense joy because I’ve made a noise he finds funny, or incredible despair, because I won’t let him steer the car or smear make-up inside lamps. As he flings his arms in the air and drops to his knees, railing against the injustices of this strange new world, it only makes me love him more.

I tried to describe having a toddler recently. I think it’s like someone’s thrown an Ewok through your window and he’s found his way to the Red Bull in your fridge.

Perhaps too young yet but has he unintentionally embarrassed you in public?

Not too long ago he was asleep in my wife’s arms while she was on the phone to a builder. She didn’t mention this, because why would she? Anyway, she says goodbye and thank you to the builder, and he says goodbye too, and then, just before she’s hung up, the baby wakes up and does a massive burp. The builder must have hung up thinking my wife was the type of woman who has entire conversations quite politely and then ends them on a belch. My wife was mortified.

How has you relationship with your wife changed?

We’re closer than ever. We’re now not just individuals together by choice, but partners bound by something incredible.

I’m so happy to be my little boy’s dad, and she’s so happy to be his mum.

Our son is too young to tell us how much he loves us yet, but I like to think that every time he wants to, he simply soils his nappy.

And this must mean he loves us really very much indeed.

How did your time at university shape or help your career?
It was invaluable. It made me realise that really, ideas are what matter most. I’d always wanted to learn how I could turn the ideas I was having into something real and tangible. Westminster gave me the tools – in all senses – to make that happen.

What has always angered me is the short shrift courses like some of those offered by the University of Westminster get from the media in general. I took Media Studies, and before setting off for London was told by a then pretty big figure in media that I was making a terrible mistake. That he “would never, ever give a job to someone who did a bloody media degree.”. I told him, shaking slightly, that I was willing to take that chance. Also, I had to: I’d booked my train ticket. My graduating year alone proves just how wrong he was: my fellow students (the ones to whom he’d never, ever give a job) are now, among many other things, senior producers at 5Live, media correspondents at the Standard and other newspapers, journalists, producers, senior PRs in charge of huge national brands, promo producers, company execs heading up major European digital stations, brand managers, presenters and more.

I’ve always, therefore, been a huge advocate of my university, Westminster, and its courses, and have largely and through tense experience found those who blindly criticise or lazily dismiss it to be blank-eyed elitists or too idle to do their research.

Which is ironic, given that it’s just that research that the University urges you to do so well.

Because the fact is, the course I did set me – and others – on a fantastic path. It made us work, it made us think, and crucially – and I don’t apologise for ramming this point home – it taught us how to take ideas and make them real.

You still have to work, though. (That’s both the best and the most annoying thing about it.)

What’s your proudest achievement in your career?
I think my books are my proudest achievements, and from those books have come some really lovely career moments…

Walking down the red carpet with Jim Carrey at the London premiere of the film Yes Man, based on my book, was pretty cool, and an amazing way to see in 2009.

Or on the Warner Bros backlot in LA with ABC earlier this year, shooting the pilot for my sitcom, Awkward Situations for Men, and seeing the director setting up my first scene (he’d directed 90 episodes of my favourite-ever comedy Seinfeld, so I was nervous about my acting not quite living up to what he’s used to…)

It’s hard, talking about ‘achievements’, not to sound like a complete tool, so I’ll qualify it by saying that these achievements are obviously nothing compared to proper, bona-fide achievements that cure, help or solve… but I can’t deny they made me feel all warm and lovely inside.

What advice do you have for current students and graduates?
I wouldn’t presume to tell the graduates anything, but for the current students, it’s easy: work hard, get involved, have fun.

The having fun part comes naturally, but it’s the bit people usually miss out or forget to tell you not to feel guilty about. Because this should be fun. You should be going out, you should be waking up late and confused wondering how you ended up with a cat and three gnomes in your room, you should be embracing the social side of university. Some of the people you’ve only just met will be in your life – important parts of your life – from now until forever.

As for the working hard and getting involved parts – think about what you’re good at, as you learn. Do you also enjoy what you’re good at? Then that’s what you need to focus on. Because the best job you can get out of all this – and that, after all, is why the majority of you are here – is one that’ll make you feel like you never really left.

It’ll be… fun. And it’ll surprise you. Maybe even delight you.

But: realise you might have to make other people’s tea for a while.

And after that? You’ll be grand.

I want to write a book. Can I send you my idea? Will you steal the idea?

No, I won’t steal it, but no, it’s probably best if you don’t send it to me. Because what if it crosses over with something I’ve done, am doing, or might want to do? It’s bad for both of us, and you’ll end up feeling all annoyed or deflated.

The advice is simple: the only way to do it is to do it. Then, when you’ve done it, write it up. It’s a good idea to get a few chapters down – 10,000 words is a good amount – so that people can see if you can write, and you can see whether the idea is strong enough to sustain a book. Then, you need to find an agent who represents people you like or books you adore. Tell them why you would be a good fit on their roster. Show them you’re committed and knowledgable. (Don’t just email my guy because you’ve found his email, either! He’ll know what you’re up to because he’s wise like that) And give them plenty of time to read. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – send your stuff out to as many people as you like, and don’t just go with the first person who’ll have you. Your relationship with your agent is crucial, as is their relationship with publishers. Be patient, too. My friend Mike Gayle has some great tips here too… and good luck!

THE LAST BOOK I READ: I re-read Rob Long’s brilliant book, Conversations With My Agent. I just love his books, which highlight the strangeness of Hollywood – a place where everyone has an opinion but no one knows anything.

MY FAVOURITE BOOK: Diary of a Nobody, by George and Weedon Grossmith. Written in the late 1880s, but seriously – it’s still funny. And I think it’s because the main character is still someone we see today… pompous, self-important and put-upon. A brilliant book.

THE BOOK THAT CHANGED MY LIFE: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Sue Townsend. One of the first books that showed me you could read something that made you laugh out loud.

THE BOOK THAT MAKES ME CRY: Cry laughing? Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey.

THE BEST HOLIDAY BOOK: Lord of the Flies, William Golding. I read it on a tiny, hot island, for effect. Though it’d probably work in a Butlin’s, too.

THE BEST AUTOBIOGRAPHY: Syd Little’s ‘Little Goes a Long Way’ is an interesting one. I ordered my friend Robin to read it and it became very important to him, which was unexpected.

THE ONE BOOK EVERYONE SHOULD READ: Something by PG Wodehouse. Our greatest literary wit. Start with a Jeeves & Wooster, then revel in the fact that Wodehouse wrote about a hundred more…

What’s your ideal holiday reading scenario?

I would be, of course, on a beach, so engrossed in this book that I wouldn’t realise that my feet had gone bright red in the sun. From there, I would move to a taverna, where I would order a local wine while handmaidens iced my feet. I would finish the evening in the bath, , where Mykos, the taverna owner, would read the final chapters to me as I wept at the book’s powerful emotional ending.

Which book do you wish you’d written?

The Da Vinci Code. Because I could have spent the rest of the day doing something else.

Have you ever pretended to have read something you hadn’t?

The Da Vinci Code.

How often do you read books and what genre do you tend to choose?

Whenever I can and whatever idea grabs me – fiction or non-fiction. I love it when a book makes me laugh – crying is harder, but when it happens it’s extraordinarily powerful. The moment, I mean – not the crying.

What are you most scared of?

A ghost dressed as a clown holding a balloon made of spiders.

What did you want to be when you were little?

A stunt man, mainly because I’d seen The Fall Guy and decided that it seemed a wonderful career option. When I was seven, I informed my father that he was to call me ‘Indy’ from then on, and that I would be studying archaeology and adventuring. He called me Indy for roughly eleven minutes. I think that’s why I never studied archaeology.

You’ve written a column in ShortList magazine for six years… that’s a long time.

I enjoy it so much. It’s fun. Little sketches to reflect real life. They all come from something or somewhere real – some little moment, like the way a barman might hand you your change or a colleague might proudly try out a new word – sometimes so small you’d forget about it seconds later, but those are still moments that I think are worth hanging on to. You try and give it a beginning, a middle and an end in 750 words, and you (try to) funny it up, because you’re conscious it’s an ‘entertainment’ (or should be). It’s not supposed to be a transcript. And you aim for universal, though obviously some aren’t. Once I ended up having a picture of myself and a chimpanzee I’d put on-line nicked. It was spread across North Africa in a billboard advertising campaign for an Egyptian hotel chain. Just me and a chimp. I don’t there were many nods of recognition the day I wrote that one.

You write a lot about your friend Colin…

Colin’s not his real name. He’s 75% based on my very good friend who looks at life in a very different way. We went to school together and ended up in the same area of London. The rest of Colin is a mix of one or two other friends, and also sometimes my own doubts about whether or not I’m tackling something right. Often the column won’t actually be about a ‘situation’ at all – it’ll be internal monologue dissecting some small thing I’m worried *might* happen. I think (I hope) we all do this on some level every day. I wrote a column recently in which showed I do make Colin seem more pompous than he is – I swap his swearwords for words he would never use, for example…

You hosted a breakfast show on Xfm, too.

Yes. It was excellent fun. Very tiring, obviously, particularly when you’ve got a toddler. But I’m excited by doing different things. And the chance to do a breakfast show rarely comes up, so I grabbed it. We worked as hard as we could to make it as good as we could, and it was exhausting but so satisfying. In the end, I had to leave, because the contracts are so long and it was stopping me from doing other things. I also felt like I was missing out on little things I didn’t have to miss out on – watching my son wake up in the morning, or taking him to the park in the afternoon (because I’d have fallen asleep somewhere). Radio is a fantastic medium for a quick turnaround of ideas. The guys I worked with were incredible.

What was the last text message you sent?

It was to noted Channel 4 newsreader Krishnan Guru-Murthy. It says, “Have YOU been missold PPI?”.

What advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

The only advice I ever give is, “Be nice. Get involved. Have fun.”
Be nice, because it’s too easy to snipe. So many people mistake cynicism for wit. Get involved, because if you don’t, you’ll never know. Have fun, for obvious reasons.

Have you ever lied about your age?

No, but I’ve lied about my job many times. Cab drivers always ask. So I say I work at Argos. That usually leads to no follow-up questions whatsoever, but I did work there when I was 16 so I have the requisite emergency knowledge of stockroom ticketing techniques and basic till work technology.

Do you have a nickname?

They call me “Karvo – Warrior of Norway”.

Who would be your nightmare Big Brother housemate?

Any Big Brother housemate.

Tell us a joke…

A lady gets on a bus, carrying her baby. The bus driver says, “Good lord, that is one ugly baby!”. The lady storms to the back of the bus, absolutely furious. She says to the man next to her, “The driver just said the most horrible thing!”.
The guy replies, “Well, you go up there and tell him off! Go on, I’ll hold your monkey for you.”

First job you had?

Media distribution. Or ‘paperboy’. I was saving up for a videogame and it took what seemed like months. I was very conscientious making sure everybody got a free paper that literally no one wanted.

Last time you took a holiday?

We went to France in the summer… sunshine, baguettes, swimming pools. We went to St Tropez for the day and I’m pretty sure I saw Zammo from Grange Hill. I thought I’d see people like Elton John.

First time you wanted to do the job you’re doing now (and why)?

I remember being in the study of Scottish author Eileen Townsend when I was a kid. She’s a family friend. I remember seeing designs for a new book cover on the wall of her study and it had a real affect on me. That was a job. It was possible! Right now I’m writing this in my own study and just above my computer there are designs for the next book cover.

Last time you quit a job (and why)?

Argos. 1996. Bath branch. Handed in my grey clip-on tie and badge like a cop handing in his gun. There was no way I was doing another Christmas rush.

First time you dressed up smart?

Going to school in Dundee meant dressing up smart. My photo from my first day at Park Place – in full blazer, tie, shirt, little grey trousers and leather shoes – makes it look like it was actually my first day at the bank. I’m pretty sure I lost the blazer after that…

Last fancy dress costume?

The Honey Monster. I don’t know how the guy who does it as a job manages.

First dish you look for on a menu (and how should it be cooked)?

Burger. If there’s a burger, you can relax and peruse the rest of the menu. It’s a fallback. I get them well done, because just saying it sounds like a compliment. Nothing worse than looking at a menu and there’s only three things on it. Like, “You can choose Pilchards, Cow Tongue, or a Duck’s Neck.”

Last thing you cooked yourself (and was it any good)?

A single sausage. And yes, it was wonderful, because how can you mess up a single sausage?

First book you loved (and why)?
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole… it was the first time I realised that books could make you laugh. That’s a special moment.

Last book you read (and what did you think)?

The War for Late Night. It’s a terribly boring sound book which is essentially about contract negotiations. But it is also about backstabbing, political maneuvering and American television, as Conan O’Brien prepares to take over The Tonight Show…

First car you owned (and what was it like)?

A midnight blue Mini Metro City X. The ‘X’ in the title turned out to stand for ‘Extra’. The only thing that was extra about the Mini Metro City X as opposed to the Mini Metro City was a fog light. They made a fog light seem cool, simply by using the letter ‘X’. I think that’s where Malcolm X got the idea.

Last car you bought (and why did you buy it)?

A Volvo XC60. You see? Stick an ‘X’ in it, it sounds great. But when you have a kid you have the urge to buy a tank with airbags every six inches, so this was how I tackled that. They’re cool, though. Fast, super-comfortable, very luxurious. And a great stereo, which means we can listen to my son’s favourite station, Xfm. Which has an ‘X’ in it.

First choice to play you in a film (and why)?

Jim Carrey, because he already kind of has, and I would not have the heart to deny him another opportunity to play such a complex, enigmatic, mysterious character as me. You have to do quite a lot of Shakespeare before you’re ready to tackle a character like Danny Wallace, and I think Jim knows that.

Last time you were mistaken for somebody else?

Two weeks ago in my local park by a small gathering of local hoodlums and youths, who couldn’t quite remember my name and approached me to ask if I was Danny Glover.
Danny Glover is a 67-year-old black American actor. I said “Yes, I am”.

First record you bought?

Lionel Richie’s Dancing on the Ceiling. Did you see the video? He was dancing on the ceiling! I don’t think it matters how long any of us live, we will never solve that particular mystery. How did he do it?

Last time you sang a song (and what was it)?

I sang Ash’s “Oh Yeah” with my three-year-old son, because it’s his favourite song, along with the Automatic’s song “Monster”. He is into indie rock. The other day we listened to five seconds of One Direction before he turned to me, disgusted, and said, “Dad – what is this cheeseball music?”.

First time you spoke in public (and how did you feel)?

I was in a play and had to deliver the line “So be it” after a dramatic pause. On the night, I made it very dramatic indeed. I did a big long pause, just so I could really hit the audience with it. But someone thought I’d forgotten my lines and whispered, very loudly, “SO BE IT!”. I’ll be honest, it took away from the power of my performance in the end.