Zane Lamprey is a comedian, actor, writer, producer, editor and world trekking television host. His show Three Sheets has jumped from now defunct MOJOHD to the Fine Living Network and is now airing on Wednesday nights (11 pm EST) on the Travel Channel. He is embarking on a fifty-three city comedy tour starting on April 30th at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California. He also recently wrote a book called Three Sheets: Drinking made easy! 6 continents, 15 countries, 190 drinks and I mean hangover!.
Last Thursday, I chatted with Lamprey about his upcoming tour, his book and the origins of a mysterious furry creature that follows him everywhere he travels.
The Drinking Made Easy comedy tour doesn’t start until April 30th, have you done any test shows?
ZL:We did a test run up in Modesto (California). We had a wonderful sendoff there. We had three parking tickets, one car got broken into, one got impounded and one just got flat out stolen. It’s just funny when all of that stuff was happening and then we ended up looking it up later and Modesto is in fact the car theft capital of the entire country.
Was this the only test-run for the upcoming tour?
ZL:We did about eight dates in December and we did them all over California. They did so well, they sold out and were such a good precursor to this monstrous tour. I wanted to get all the moving pieces and all the people involved in this set. There’s like sixty people traveling with us. I wanted to be able to figure out the staging and the jokes and all that kind of stuff. We went up to Modesto and did the test show on a Friday and Saturday and now we hop on a bus in a week and head on out of there. Our first show is in Anaheim and then we’re gone.
One of your tour stops is in Syracuse (NY). That’s your home town right?
ZL:It’s not one of the biggest cities that would necessarily be on the map of our tour, but I know the place pretty well. I’ve drank there many times. We’re going to do a show there and it’s going to be awesome.
Tell me a little bit about your book:
ZL:We have 22 minutes of airtime in a show with commercials and intros and outs and all of that kind of stuff. We only have that amount of time to really explain to people what drinking in champagne or Tequila or Scotland is like. Imagine me sitting here and just filling you in with information for 22 minutes and then that’s it. That’s what we get to do with the show. In the book, I was able to dig deeper and talk about my experiences but also explain more of the stuff that we really didn’t have time to get into when we were over there. It’s good. I’m very ADD and I have a lot of stuff going on. I want information delivered to me in a very concise and humorous way and that’s what this book is. Before things have a chance to get boring I’ve already moved on to another subject,
How is Three Sheets doing on the travel channel so far?
ZL:I think it’s doing ok. We really wish the travel channel would have welcomed us in with a big hug. But, I don’t feel like that is necessarily what happened. It’s been fifteen months since we shot that last episode of Three Sheets and I can only wait for a beer for so long. So, we went out and I talked to Mark Cuban and sold him a show called Drinking Made Easy. It will be about drinking customs across our fine country. We’re going on a 53 city tour to do standup at a lot of these great venues and we’re also shooting the TV show. Me, Steve McKenna, my buddy Marc Ryan will go out and learn about drinking. We are doing about 24 episodes. Everywhere from New Orleans, Napa, Philly and everything in between. The first episode we shoot is Phoenix. It’s going to be on HDnet. We’ll be back in high def. I’ve been in standard def for too long. We started off on Mojo, which was in about three million homes and it did really well. Now we’re hopping on HDnet and that’s in about fifteen million homes.
How did you get started with Three Sheets?
ZL:I went in for an audition for a food network show (*Zane previously hosted the Food Network show Have fork will travel) and they said, “You’re a little too edgy for food network right now”. But they said, “How about this show called Three Sheets where you travel around the world and drink?” I was like, “OK, call me when you want to get serious.” A month later, we were in Seattle shooting the pilot at a Polish social club and shot it as if we were in Poland. About a month after that, we were in Ireland shooting the first episode and that was that.
Did you ever imagine that the show would become as popular as it is?
ZL:I knew we were doing something great. But, I just had a concern that the network was so small that no one was ever going to see it. Nobody that I knew had heard of the channel INHD. That was what it was called before they changed it to MOJO. Nobody had heard of the channel so I figured let’s just goof off and at least have some fun while we’re doing it. Sure enough, people liked what we were doing. They liked the goofy, spontaneous stuff that we were doing. I think that was really the beauty of the show. I got to be myself and have fun. I think when people see me having fun, they get to have fun watching me. It’s just been really fun doing it. I’ve worked really hard and I’m thankful that I’ve been able to do that kind of stuff and get paid for it.
Where is your favorite drinking destination so far?
ZL:That would be like picking a favorite sibling. My brother or my sister. In this case, it’s my sister. If I had to name one off the top of my head I’d say Croatia. I wish I could go back there. The old cities were so incredible and the people were great, the booze was interesting and the beer was amazing. It was an incredible experience. I never thought I’d experience anything like that.
Tell me the history behind Pleepleus: *editors note: Pleepleus is a stuffed monkey that can be randomly spotted in every episode and is referenced often.
ZL:He just kind of came out of thin air. We had an opportunity to make up a drinking game and we wanted it to be similar to drinking games designed around shows like Mash or Cheers. Every time someone says “Norm” you’d have to drink. That was Pleepleus’ roll. His first roll was to just be a drinking game, but now I don’t think I could ever lose my trusty side kick. I’d rather lose Steve Mckenna than Pleepleus.
How does traveling all the time take a toll on you?
ZL:Anything over time will take a toll on you. Relaxing for too long would take a toll on somebody. There’s a lot of traveling, but I’m not going to complain because I get paid to do something that most people consider to be leisure time activities. I never really have to work that hard while I’m out there doing it. It’s a good gig.
Tell me about the youtube video for the Travel Channel where you fell off of a bar? How are you feeling? Some chatter says that was a stunt man.
ZL:I’m doing fine. As long as you don’t tell anybody besides your readers, that was probably not me. I have some very talented friends out here. That was a stunt double and we had some great people shooting it and editing it. What looks like we went in and shot on a phone was actually a very well choreographed video where somebody else took the fall for me. It was fun to let people hypothesize whether is was true or not.
Check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkln0UgOrxE
More clips of Three Sheets can be found on youtube.
Whole episodes can be found on hulu here: http://www.hulu.com/three-sheets