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Series / Trigger Happy TV

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Trigger Happy TV is a hidden camera/sketch show starring Dom Joly. It ran between 2000 and 2001 with a total of 15 episodes and opening theme is a segment from "Connection" by Elastica.

Unlike other hidden camera shows the comedy isn't at the expense of the public, instead it is Dom that is the butt of the joke leaving the British public be unwitting extras to his many bizarre stunts.

Notable sketches are:

  • The Millionth Customer: Dom and a group of people stand outside a shop and tell the customer they are the millionth customer, and so they have a free run of the shop in the style of Supermarket Sweep. By the time they return Dom and Co are gone. The best moment, easily, came when they did this outside of an adult bookstore/sex shop, causing the "lucky" winner to quickly shuffle off and run away.
  • The Burglar: Dom while dressed as an archetypal burglar asks directions to houses of people who are on holiday and requests ladders.
  • The Street Artist: Dom pretends to draw a picture of a tourist in a busy place. After a while he writes a different message on his easel, then wanders off and leaves them sitting on the stool.
  • The Fat Guy(s): Dom and occasionally others don fat suits and awkwardly cram themselves into tight spaces such as theatre aisles, phone booths and alleyways. The crowning moment for this sketch came when Dom and another fellow blocked off a lengthy descending escalator while riders behind them seethed with aggravation.
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  • The Celebrity: while doing an interview with a celebrity something interrupts the questions, most famously is that he was "kidnapped" at one point.
  • The KGB Spy: While dressed in a trenchcoat, Dom attempts to pass on a suitcase to various people by using codes "You are Grey Squirrel, yes?".
    • Another twist was put on this: after Dom left, having established that the unfortunate target wasn't "Grey Squirrel", someone else would enter shortly a squirrel costume.
  • The Two Dogs: Two men dressed up as dogs beat each other up in various locations.
    • Has numerous variations, including bunches of dogs attacking a cat or vice versa.
  • The Annoying Phone Call: The Show's most famous sketch, Dom while in a quiet location will pull out a massive phone and shout into it. Famous? NAH, THIS SKETCH IS SHIT! NAW, IT'S RUBBISH! OKAY! YEAH, CIAO! In the American version aired on Comedy Central, these opened each episode.
  • The Rabbits: Two people dressed in full-body rabbit costumes, going at it with vigor in public. The crowning moment for this sketch was when an elevator door opened to reveal this to three waiting people. None boarded.

All three of the original series are now available to watch on YouTube through the channel Dead Parrot, along with Joly's similar hidden-camera program World Shut Your Mouth.

Contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Blah Blah Blah: Dom Joly recites a poem that consists entirely of this through a bullhorn, and is applauded.
  • Briefcase Full of Money
  • Candid Camera Prank: With the key difference that unwitting participants remain unwitting throughout the prank (it was explained to them and permission was obtained to use the footage, but this was not shown onscreen).
  • Chekhov's Ashes: Purposefully scattered so they'd drift over a nearby family.
  • Drives Like Crazy: In one sketch, Dom (dressed in a full auto-racer anti-fire suit and helmet) comes screaming up to a line at a cab stand in a heavily beaten car. "FASTEST CAB IN LONDON!!!"
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: A number of sketches involve a suicidal man in a full-body penguin costume botching his death. In one example, he laid down on a train track... and then a train passed on the opposite track.
  • Feathered Fiend: When Pigeons Attack
  • Furry Fandom: One of the more obscure sketches has an old man walking down an alleyway for about ten seconds...before a hoard of Fursuiters comes rushing at him, yelling and screaming and waving picket signs.
  • The Grim Reaper: One particularly memorable sketch involved several people standing outside an office building on a smoke break. The camera pans over to show a man dressed like Death, scythe and all, watching them intently and checking his watch.
  • Home Version Soundtrack Replacement: Gracefully averted on the Region 2 DVDs, despite the sheer volume of licensed alt-rock songs used as background music. On the other hand, at least some international re-airings swapped the original soundtrack for instrumental soundalikes.
  • Jump Scare: Part of the humor in the phone sketches comes from the onlookers who get startled by Dom's "HELLO?!" greeting. One poor woman right behind him in a bookstore briefly went into an arm-flapping conniption from the shock.
  • Mobile Maze: a rare Real Life version, where a mobile prism of shrubbery is used to block someone in a hedge maze.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: The "Swiss tourist" (i.e., Dom) who learned English from a medical textbook.
  • No Indoor Voice? NO, IT'S RUBBISH! YEAH, CIAO!
  • Spy Speak: "You are Grey Squirrel, yes?"
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Aside from Elastica's "Connection" as the theme tune, there's also a huge collection of eclectic songs used as background music in sketches, some of which may be a little hard to take seriously thanks to Song Association. For instance, it becomes hard to listen to Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind" and not think of the Street Artist sketches, or Paul McCartney's "Nineteen-Hundred and Eighty-Five" and not be reminded of Dom Joly in a fat suit, squeezing himself into tight spaces.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Sometimes he'd be the one boarding (squeezing into a packed car wearing a huge fat suit, pretending to be blind and trying to walk into the wall), and sometimes Dom would already be inside (sitting down to dinner at a fully set table, using the toilet and reading a newspaper) and indignantly hit the "close" button when he notices he's being stared at.
  • The Unintelligible: Dom would sometimes ask people for help or information in inarticulate gibberish, growing increasingly frustrated with their confusion before finally giving up and storming off with a perfectly intelligible "Great, so you can't help me, either!"
  • "Wanted!" Poster: Dom has, on occasion, stood underneath a massive poster printed with his face and the words "Do Not Trust This Man". He then asks passersby if they will loan him money.
    • The strange part is, IT ALWAYS WORKS.