TV

Karl Pilkington: "Moaning is productive. It gets stuff done"

Archetypal Idiot Abroad Karl Pilkington has a moan about the Wonders of the World and challenges Judith Chalmers to a job swap

Is moaning therapeutic?

Yeah it is. And on top of that it’s productive. Stuff gets done from people moaning. I bet out of all the dwarfs that knocked about with Snow White, Grumpy would have done the most work. If you did some kind of pie chart on work put in, Grumpy would have the biggest slice.

Is it a very British thing to visit some of the most incredible places in the world and still find something to complain about?

You’re talking about me during the filming of An Idiot Abroad there. I don’t just moan for the sake of it. If you’ve seen Moaning of Life, I’m loving it most of the time. I moaned when I visited the Wonders of the World because I don’t enjoy that sort of organised fun where you enjoy something because you are told to. It’s a shame because I bet the Wonders were good to visit before they became tourist attractions. The places are mobbed and I bet only about 50 per cent of visitors are really interested, the other 50 per cent are just ruining it for the rest.

When it comes to intelligence I’d say I’m about average or just above

Is it true Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant didn’t tell you the show was going to be called An Idiot Abroad?

Yeah. Ricky told me right at the end of filming. To be fair, I didn’t think about the title. It’s not a baby, and as I didn’t think it had gone that well I thought there might have been a chance it could have been binned.

What should it have been called?

Anything but An Idiot Abroad. I’ve got over it now. People know I’m not a total idiot. When it comes to intelligence I’d say I’m about average or just above.

You have more control in The Moaning of Life, does that make it more enjoyable?

Dancing in Mexico and getting my hair back was good. Being attacked by a crab and being hit by a baseball going at 70mph – not so good. Worst bit of all of it is just hanging around airports. I’ve probably done about 100 flights and over 100,000 miles just for this series. The jet lag really messes with you.

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Do you think you would have got a job as a presenter on Wish You Were Here…?

I’m pretty sure if I was Judith Chalmers staying in top hotels, having a proper night’s sleep and eating well, I’d give you a more positive tone. She had a face like leather from all the sunbathing she got to do. I never had a chance to tan up. Send her on my trip and see how she fares. The only thing she would have like leather on my trip would be her arse after sitting on a camel for Christ knows how long.

You must encounter people whose lives give them every reason to moan and yet they don’t – has your attitude changed as a result of travelling?

We all watch the news every night and see how grim the planet is but we are all still in our bubbles. We all know people are dying out there but we still all have a moan because the Wi-Fi isn’t very good. Even though Lenny Henry is out there all the time seeing some grim stuff, if when he gets back home and there’s no milk in the fridge I bet he still does his nut.

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