I got down on one knee and read her the fi­nal line

Co­me­dian and re­al­ity TV star Joel Dom­mett talks to HAN­NAH STEPHEN­SON about pop­ping the ques­tion via his new book and turn­ing his ‘cat­fish’ ex­pe­ri­ence into com­edy

Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - BOOKSHELF -

IT’S a rare oc­ca­sion when a man asks a woman to marry him in the last line of his de­but book. But that’s ex­actly what Joel Dom­mett does at the end of his me­moir, It’s Not Me, It’s Them, in which he charts his ro­man­tic en­coun­ters and dat­ing disas­ters up to the point where he found ‘the one’, in model Han­nah Cooper.

“I planned to read her the last two pages of the book,” the 32-year-old co­me­dian and I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! run­ner-up, ex­plains. “I got her to read the whole book and ripped up the last two pages – and then read them to her.

“I put on a tuxedo, I bought a can­de­labra from John Lewis – it was huge and cost me 60 quid – set it all up and lit all the can­dles. I’d for­got­ten how hot a flat gets when you’ve lit 150 can­dles. Then she came home and I got down on one knee and read her the fi­nal line,” re­veals Joel, a self-con­fessed hope­less ro­man­tic.

“Her re­ac­tion was to say, ‘What?’, lots and lots, and then cry lots and lots, and then say, ‘Yes!”’

They met on In­sta­gram, when she sent him a mes­sage of a cat emoji with heart eyes when she was drunk, and Joel, who now hosts spin-off show I’m A Celeb... Ex­tra Camp, pro­posed af­ter a year of dat­ing.

“It’s so odd go­ing down on one knee. You’ve been on one knee so many times in your life do­ing up your shoelace and not thought about it.

“I don’t know whether I be­lieve in love at first sight, but you just learn to get to know each other and un­der­stand that per­son is the right one for you

“She is amaz­ing and we laugh so much and get on so well. She’s way fun­nier than me – it’s been a great year.”

He was happy to share the news with his 570,000 In­sta­gram fol­low­ers, post­ing a pic­ture on In­sta­gram of a toi­let door lock first say­ing ‘Va­cant’, and then ‘En­gaged’.

In­deed, he’s not ex­actly shy when it comes to shar­ing snaps on so­cial me­dia, in­clud­ing a few cheeky pho­tos with Han­nah, with a fair bit of flesh on show.

“In Thai­land, we were naked most of the time, so it made sense re­ally,” he says, re­fer­ring to im­ages they shared dur­ing a re­cent trip.

“In­sta­gram is a doc­u­men­ta­tion of your life, and that’s what I was do­ing in my life at a par­tic­u­lar mo­ment. It’s not like I’m do­ing any­thing too dan­ger­ous.”

But three years ago, how­ever, he was ‘cat­fished’, when some­body he’d met on Twit­ter asked him to par­tic­i­pate in Skype sex – only to later use the footage to try to black­mail him.

While pri­vately, Joel says the ex­pe­ri­ence was hor­ren­dous and could have meant the end of his ca­reer (af­ter spend­ing the pre­vi­ous few years try­ing to get his com­edy off the ground, he’d just been signed up to do I’m A Celebrity... at this point), he de­cided to use it as ma­te­rial in his rou­tines.

“I re­mem­ber the ut­ter sink­ing feel­ing when I found out it wasn’t a real on­line re­la­tion­ship and these pic­tures were posted up.

“My world caved in, and for a full evening, I thought, ‘What am I go­ing to do?’

“But then I thought, ‘Let’s just make it funny’. I wrote an en­tire hour about the ‘cat­fish­ing’ thing and it re­ally helped me to flush out the anx­i­ety and bad vibes.

“It made me much more cautious – un­til I met my fi­ancee on In­sta­gram – I clearly hadn’t learned!” he jokes.

He does, how­ever, re­veal a lot about his pre­vi­ous dat­ing catas­tro­phes in his book, from teenage kiss­ing – in “the way you at­tack a drip­ping Mr Whippy” – to al­most los­ing his vir­gin­ity, un­til he re­alised the con­dom was past its sell-by date and the tri­als of on­line dat­ing.

Glouces­ter­shire-born Joel, who be­gan his ca­reer at the Na­tional Youth Theatre, keeps in touch with his old I’m A Celebrity... jun­gle mates, in­clud­ing Carol Vor­der­man and 2016 win­ner, Scar­lett Mof­fatt.

“They’re a re­ally nice bunch. Scar­lett does the Ex­tra Camp show with me. We just get on so well. I’m re­ally ex­cited to hope­fully do more Ex­tra with her this year.”

I’m A Celebrity... opened doors for him, he agrees.

“The last year has been men­tal. My wildest dreams have come true. The fact I did two dates at the Ham­mer­smith Apollo is just ridicu­lous to me, per­form­ing to nearly 100,000 peo­ple, and then to go back and do the Ex­tra show was in­cred­i­ble.

“Hope­fully it will con­tinue. I’m fully aware that peo­ple who do re­al­ity TV can en­joy fleet­ing fame. You can be ev­ery­where for a month, and then no­body cares. I’ve made it last a year and if it all fails now, I’ve had a good year.”

He’s film­ing a new se­ries of Joel & Nish Vs The World for Com­edy Cen­tral, where he and fel­low co­me­dian Nish Ku­mar visit the fittest tribes in the world, and he has more stand-up tour dates this year.

But he still has plenty of goals... “My mum’s al­ways wanted me to do Strictly – she just wants me to learn how to dance! It’s pet­ri­fy­ing, but in years to come, I’m sure I would be tempted,” he teases.

“I’ve achieved a lot of goals I set out to achieve early in my ca­reer

– a big tour and fall­ing in love – and I think this year is go­ing to be amaz­ing. I’m go­ing to­wards where I want to be, and the co­me­dian I want to be­come.

“I’m through the door now,” says Joel, “and it’s about stay­ing in the room.”

■ IT’S Not Me, It’s Them: Con­fes­sions Of A Hope­less Mod­ern Ro­man­tic by Joel Dom­mett is pub­lished by Head­line, priced £16.99.

Joel Dom­mett pro­posed to his girl­friend on the last page of his new book

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