Joe Lycett: “I Arm-Wrestled a Child at a Party Once and Won”

(Image credit: Unknown)

Coach is not happy. You agree to interview a famous comedian, doing them a favour, and then they muscle in on your patch.

Yeah, cheers Joe. You do the comedy, we'll do the six-pack in four weeks. Anyway, we’re off to sulk while you read the interview.

Have you ever had a mishap on a yoga mat?

Pretty much every time I’ve done any bit of yoga I’ve farted, without exception really. It’s just impossible not to. But, actually, my favourite yoga experience was when I did a show in Liverpool and my friend took me to a yoga class. It was all set out lovely, with a Buddha and incense, and then this girl came out and in a really strong Liverpool accent said, “Right it’s time to do downward dog now” and it was so funny. Particularly when she’s using the word “calm”, which is such a stereotype of Liverpudlian people – “Calm down, calm down!” I couldn’t stop laughing. A Scouse yoga class is something that everyone should do at some point in their life.

Have you ever pulled a muscle in less-than-heroic circumstances?

I’m pulling muscles all the time. I put my back out two years ago because I sneezed in the shower – I had a really bad back for about two months. And I love a sneeze, I never try to stifle them – I really try and enjoy them. It’s a proper horrible noise, a violent noise that comes out of me. But back injuries are always a bit pathetic, aren’t they? They never come from hang gliding or anything like that. “Oh I just sat down wrong.” You’re so vulnerable to anything like that – it makes you realise that it could just be a sneeze that takes you over the edge and kills you, it’s terrifying.

Have you ever secretly impressed yourself with a feat of strength?

Oh yes, at Christmas we were getting stuff out of the loft for the tree, and there was this super-heavy box and I thought, “I’m not going to be able to do this”. It was me and my dad, and I didn’t want my mum to think that I was weaker than my father, so I managed to lift the box. Peer pressure makes you do stuff like this – I surprised myself with that. That’s not the greatest story in the world, is it? I’m not very strong, although I arm-wrestled a child at a party once and won that, which was quite impressive. He really put up a fight.

What’s your position on kale?

Good question. My position is, I did recently have a very nice kale salad from Marks & Spencer in Birmingham – it had nuts and a bit of fruit, it was delicious. However, I did feel like a bellend eating it. I’m on the fence because I do like it when it’s done in a nice way, but I feel like most people that have it, have it to say that they’re having it. Although I do like it when they call it curly kale, because that just makes me feel nice.

How often do you take selfies in the gym?

I don’t really go to the gym, it’s running outdoors and swimming that I do. It’s very difficult to take a selfie when you’re swimming, but I have taken a few running selfies – I’m always amazed at how weird and awful my face can look, so I’ve done it now and again, mainly of me going for a run and just looking desperately out of breath…


(Image credit: Unknown)

Do you ever lose control, calorie-wise, after a gym session?

Yes, every time. It’s the perfect excuse. You go for a run or a swim and you think, “Well, I can eat a whole jar of Nutella now, because that’s the rules”. So pretty much every time, I over-indulge after a workout, because that’s why I work out, so I can eat.

What’s the most extreme thing you’ve done in the name of good health or fitness?

I feel like this morning was pretty extreme. I haven’t been running for the last few months because I’ve got a dodgy knee – I’m 27 and my knee clicks when I go up the stairs, so I’m an elderly man now. This morning I thought I’d go for a run but I put the wrong socks on and about ten minutes in I was like, “This is not going to be good” and it definitely wasn’t. Either way, I stuck with it and now my feet are absolutely torn to bits and I’m covered in plasters. I have full-on blood blisters – I can send you photos if you like.

Do you take the stairs or the lift?

The stairs. I try and do the stairs as much as possible, but as I said, my knees click when I use the stairs. I quite like it though – it doesn’t hurt when it happens, so I sort of feel like I’m doing a weird tap dance. Also, I feel smug about it, so when I get to the top of the stairs I think, “Oh great, I can have a Mars bar now”.

What’s the best way to spice up a jog?

I like to mix it up in terms of pace. I like doing a bit of high intensity and then pulling it back and doing a little jog or whatever. I also like to imagine I’m in some sort of heroic film, like in Forrest Gump, doing a marathon, so I’ll play music that fits in with that. Either that, or just proper “Smack My Bitch Up” kind of music. Oh and chasing birds as well, that’s quite fun.

Have you ever tried vaping?

No. I used to smoke a few years ago but I stopped before vaping became a thing. I just think it looks a bit daft. Whereas with smoking you’ve got a pack of cigarettes, maybe some Rizla and a lighter, with vaping you have oil that you pour into a machine like an alchemist. Vaping’s not high on my agenda.

Extra dates have been added to Joe’s tour That’s the Way, A-ha A-ha, Joe Lycett. Tickets are available from

Former staff writer

Gary Ogden wrote for the print edition of Coach between 2015 and 2016, writing features, interviewing celebrities and covering entertainment. He has also written for ShortList.