Joe Lycett says viral stunts put ‘pressure’ on his mental health to stop doing them

Joe Lycett has opened up about his penchant for high-profile PR stunts, explaining that he feels “pressure” from his mental health to stop doing them.

In recent years, the comedian has built a reputation for orchestrating news-worthy stunts.

The most notorious of these was his ultimatum to David Beckham last year in which he threatened to shred £10,000 in cash unless the ex-footballer renounced his World Cup ambassador contract with Qatar over the country’s LGBT+ human rights abuses.

After Beckham neglected to respond, Lycett posted a video of himself shredding what appeared to be the cash – only to later reveal that he had in fact donated the money to LGBT+ charities.


Speaking to Radio Times in a new interview, Lycett said: “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. And so 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!”

“The Beckham thing was a deliberate attempt to court negative press,” he continued. “I went in expecting and hoping that people would go, ‘Oh, he can’t do that. That’s a disgrace.’ It needed that in order to kind of put fuel on the fire and to get it talked about.”

He also referred to his appearance on Laura Kuenssberg’s political talk show last year, in which he effusively applauded Liz Truss, who was to become prime minister shortly after.

Lycett satirically lavished praise on Truss, while claiming to be “very right wing”. The appearance drew criticism from right-wing media pundits, and saw Lycett feature on the front page of some newspapers.

Joe Lycett on stage at ‘The Graham Norton Variety Show’ during Just for Laughs London on 3 March 2023 (Getty Images)
Joe Lycett on stage at ‘The Graham Norton Variety Show’ during Just for Laughs London on 3 March 2023 (Getty Images)

“The ones that do well are always the ones that surprise me,” Lycett said. “I didn’t expect my appearance on the Laura Kuenssberg show to become such a big deal. I thought I was doing a bit of press, essentially.

“I thought I was going onto a show to sell a few tour tickets. That’s it. And then... for people to stop me in the street about it and for people to essentially claim that I brought down the UK Government – none of that was planned. None of that was expected.”

For one of Lycett’s other best-known stunts, he legally changed his name to Hugo Boss to protest the fashion house’s business practices.