My Cultural Life: Joe Lycett

The comedian and presenter tells us what he’s reading, listening to and more

joe lycett
Matt Crockett

British comedian, presenter and master of mischief Joe Lycett is the host of The Great British Sewing Bee, and a regular fixture on perennial television favourites such as Live at the Apollo, Taskmaster and 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. His own show, Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back, elevates the consumer complaint to an art form, while an appearance on Grayson’s Art Club (and a particularly memorable portrait of Chris Whitty) revealed a love for letting loose with clay and acrylics. He is on tour next year.

The first album I loved was When it Falls by Zero 7. I’ve always loved filmic, gentle music, and Zero 7 are the masters, plus this was during the era when Sia provided some seriously delicious vocals.

My all-time favourite piece of music is the theme tune to Casualty. I used to sing it out the back window of my mum’s car.

joe lycett
Fiction Records / Universal Music Group

Recently I’ve loved Billie Marten’s new album, Flora Fauna, and particularly the track Creature of Mine. She’s a star. I was introduced to Introvert by Little Simz by a friend recently and have listened to it approximately 70,000 times.

One of my best-loved books is My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl. It’s such a gloriously daft premise. In recent memory, Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart really gripped me, and I particularly adored the descriptive language that was often more comedically beautiful than I could ever hope to achieve.

At the moment I’m reading Postcapitalist Desire by Mark Fisher – probably not what you’d expect from a daft little queer lad off the telly. It’s a collection of his final lectures and I find each paragraph so rich with thought and inspiration.

Favourite quotes? Basically, all of Bob Monkhouse’s jokes. My favourite being: ‘My dad only hit me once. But it was with a Volvo.’

joe lycett
Birmingham’s Ikon gallery
Ikon Gallery

My favourite film is The Great Beauty directed by Paolo Sorrentino. Every time I watch it, I fall in love again, and yet I feel a sense of melancholy once it finishes, like it has sort of lied to me. I can’t explain it. That’s why it works. I also started up on the Lord of the Rings trilogy again recently. They’re good aren’t they?

My lockdown cultural discovery was Love is Blind on Netflix. It’s the height of culture. We can end culture now. We’ve done it.

One of the best shows I’ve seen was the ‘Grayson’s Art Club’ exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery, which really proved that galleries can put contemporary stuff from unknowns on their walls and people will go wild for it. I hope to see a lot more major galleries doing the same. Ikon Birmingham’s recent ‘Ikon for Artists’ exhibition was similar, and so welcome.

If I won the lottery, I’d buy my own sculpture, Chris, which is priced at £12.5 million.

chris sculpture by joe lycett
Joe Lycett

I can’t wait to go back to Italy. One day I hope to be an old Italian woman making pasta. Have big nonna arms. Slightly aggressive. A touch violent. Heaven.

My favourite place in the world is my garden. I sit in it drinking gavi. It’s my happiest place.

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