Meeting the Dirty Sanchez guys in person is a little nerve-wracking. Welshmen Lee Dainton, Matthew Pritchard and Mike 'Pancho' Locke, their English buddy Dan 'Joycey' Joyce and filmmaker Jim Hickey, the jokesters who make the Jackass team look like wimps. At today's press conference, in a basement beneath an empty bar in Camden Town on a weekday afternoon, they have promised not only to talk to the assembled press about their new movie, but to perform one of their trademark stunts.
Indeed, after a rather raucous press conference, they spread out a sheet of plastic and produce a large funnel taped to a piece of hose. It's their notorious beer enema, which they demonstrate with lively good humour and energy, as if they haven't done it hundreds of times before.
But first, they talk about their "work"...
Surely as you travelled around the world shooting this movie, there was a lot of stuff you couldn't use.
Jim Hickey: Someone asked me where do you draw the line, but I think we drew the line about three series ago. There were a few things that we definitely couldn't put in the film, one of which was when the guys meet, the Tokyo Shock Boys. There's an incident with a rabbit which was still well and truly alive ... and the censors had a problem with it, so...
Dainton: Jim, I had a f---ng problem with it. Sucking s--t out of a rabbit's arse!
Hickey: There were definitely a few things that don't make it in. Some you just can't put in. Some of the things that we try don't always - they're always good for DVD extras. They'll appear somewhere.
Do you each have a favorite incident?
Pritchard: Pancho walked out at Ninian Park - the home of Cardiff City - with a Swansea top on. We hate the Swansea people. The whole place shouted, 'You jack bastard! You jack bastard!'. He's the only Swansea person to get out of Ninian Park alive.
Pancho: I can't walk around Cardiff now. Mine was probably when we found the doctor who was going to give me the liposuction. He looks after all these people, he's a doctor who makes sure people regain their tone and shape, and he's got this huge mole with loads of hairs coming out of it. I was thinking, 'Jesus Christ, you want to take care of yourself first!' I didn't feel at ease until I came back home and made sure that I didn't have hepatitis or anything. But that was probably it for me. At the time it did the job, it's just I now have this weird oblong beer belly because there's no fat at all on that side.
Joycey: Favourite parts? Favourite flavour I'd say was Pancho. Very reminiscent of a chocolate éclair, slowly slithering over the back of the tongue. The only thing is I've got a bit of a taste for it now. I want to try some more. I'll try a bit of flesh next.
Dainton: I definitely would say the part of the film that sticks out the most was Bangkok roulette in Thailand. If you're a normal person, and you come from the Valleys, and you end up on the roof of a hotel in Thailand with liposuction body fat and there's a Thai hooker under the table, you suddenly question your own reality. Is this really happening? How did my life go so wrong?
Pancho: You know when you're at school and you have your careers advisor asking what you want to do when you're older? If you said you just want to be stood on the top of a high rise hotel, with a bunch of white liquid in sight and my mates are about to drink me.
Dainton: There was no way on this f---ing planet that I was drinking Pancho's body fat. At that point where Joycey drank it, it seriously spun me out. That was my high and low point of the filming, I couldn't believe we were doing this for a film, for MTV.
Joycey: Where do you draw the line on cannibalism? Is it eating your own fingernails or eating fat.
Dainton: You didn't draw the line, you stepped over it. It's disgusting.
Pancho, aren't you afraid to fall asleep around these guys?
Pancho: Of course. I pay if I fall asleep in front of these lot. But you're on the road, it's a busy time, going partying. It's mainly Jim's fault, because we don't get hotel rooms, it's always youth hostels. So when you do want a long kip it's never alright. And also suffering from narcolepsy, that doesn't help either. Which is brought on by the amount of alcohol.
Is it difficult to go into these situations without knowing what might happen?
Joycey: I don't think it would work if it was scripted; you couldn't really script what we've got together. A lot of the time we say, 'Don't have a look at the script, just let it roll and see what happens.' Half the joy of it is spontaneity.
Dainton: I'm not saying that we're intelligent and funny people, but if we were to just nail something to a table and say, 'Look at me I'm nuts,' it wouldn't be that appealing. I think it's because there's a certain chemistry between us, our friendship comes out because we're real people. We're not wannabe film stars or TV people; we're just a bunch of random guys that have kind of lucked our way into the TV industry and now we've got a movie, which is quite amusing really. A bit of a piss-take as well.
How has America reacted to what you do?
Dainton: We must be doing alright, because I think it was the third highest programme on a Friday night on MTV 2.
Pritchard: I don't think the Bible Belt like us too much.
Dainton: I think we've got a lot of fans in the States, and I don't think they see it as competition or copying Jackass. I just think they see it as another vein of humour that's come along after Jackass really. Brilliant.
Aren't comparisons with Jackass inevitible?
Joycey: "I went on the Gumball Rally with Bam margera and Ryan Dunn, and it was just one big business trip for them. They were whinging because their Blackberries weren't working, so I pissed all over his car. And then he got the hump about it. I said, 'You only got that car for f---ing around with your Dad!
Dainton: You've got to give them props. To be honest with you if it wasn't for Jackass coming out with their humour first, Dirty Sanchez wouldn't be here. You couldn't just break into TV with what we do, it's just too hard straight-away. So it was like people got weaned onto that sense of humour and Sanchez came after. They were like a stepping stone for us in a way. I think their show is funny. People might say we're more hardcore, but it's all the same thing. We're all laughing, having a good time.
What is it about skateboarders that draws you to these things?
Joycey: For years skateboarders have basically grown up throwing themselves down stairs every weekend, coming back covered with blood and everything. So you get used to it, and hardened to it. A little staple is nothing compared to throwing yourself down 13 stairs or bollocking yourself a handrail.
Pritchard: Bollocking yourself on a handrail is far worse.
You had some serious problems in Moscow while filming this. Was that scary?
Hickey: Basically it was the last day of filming in Russia, and we were trying to go out and get some nice shots of the city to get a little montage, and get the boys just wandering around. We were told by our fixer that we could film in a little area just outside the Kremlin. But it turns out he wasn't really a fixer. He was a tourism student and he also lived 100 miles out of Moscow, so he didn't really know where we could and couldn't film. As we were filming there some security guys actually came up to us and confiscated all our equipment and gave us a massive bollocking. They pushed us into a van, and then we were holed up in a cell for about four hours. We were due to fly to Bangkok that afternoon. Everyone was a little bit worried about getting out alive, they wiped all of our footage from that day. It was a little worrying.
Pritchard: And why, Jim? All because of 'one last thing'. Whenever we worked on Sanchez he always say 'one last thing', and every time he says that something goes wrong.
Hickey: We got out for about US $200 I think, which was pretty reasonable in the end. It wasn't too bad.
Were there any other surprise experiences on the trip?
Joycey: In Japan they've got people called the Tokyo Shock Boys, and we were shocked by their rabbit antics. But I think we ended up shocking them a lot more.
What about those Japanese wrestlers?
Pritchard: You should have seen their scars, all over their bodies. I mean we've got some scars, but that took the piss. Their backs looked absolutely f---ed, and they had all those big baseball bats. We were in Bangkok before that, watching them wrestling on TV, and me and Dainton were crying with laughter because we thought it was all fake. Then we met these guys and they absolutely battered the living s--t out of one another. And we were next.
Pancho: It was so intimidating going to see those wrestlers, because they had these big baseball bats with nails in them. And their backs, they looked like they'd been self harming for decades. It was so intimidating, we were like nothing to these guys.
How do you deal with all the pain?
Dainton: It all hurts. There's no magic secret in being able to handle the pain. You know it's going to hurt, and there's no getting away from it. I don't like pain, but there's a confidence between us which keeps us going and keeps me laughing which is why these are the scenarios of madness and the bizarre.
Pancho: But it's also facing your fears and stuff. The achievement, that's what keeps you going, that you pushed the bar and you got through it. That's what keeps me going.
Pritchard: That's where the comedy comes from as well, because if you don't like the pain you're going to laugh your arse off at the person going through the pain. That's the whole idea of it.
Hickey: It's a lot easier in hot countries. It was a real struggle in Russia, trying to do anything outside because it was like minus 20, you were filming something and the cameras aren't even working. And you're trying to get something going but it's actually impossible because it's just so cold. Everything hurts 15 times more.
Do you have a favourite scar - a badge of honour, as it were?
Joycey: I've got a favourite scar from my time in Bangkok. [indicates the tattoo on his shoulder]
Dainton: I've got plenty of mental scars. Doing this series has brought on my OCD and severe hypochondria. I've got it really bad, I'm not trying to be funny, I've really got it. Trying to fight those things at the same time as trying to do the stunts is just f---ed up. But you've got to fight the old demons haven't you?
If you had to get a nine-to-five job, what would it be?
Dainton: I'd have to work on the dustbins after this.
Joycey: Pancho, you'd be a beer tester, wouldn't you?
Pancho: That would be the ideal.
Pritchard: I'd be a chef.
Dainton: Who would let you cook for them?
Joycey: You'd put loads of chilli sauce in it.
Pritchard: I'd be a chef for the homeless. They don't watch TV, do they.
Has fatherhood changed you at all?
Pancho: It should sort my head out. We never thought we'd get three series, let alone a film, so perhaps this will be the be all and end all.
Dainton: What's that got to do with fatherhood?
Pancho: I won't have to fall asleep in front of you again, will I?
How can you warn your kids not to do stuff when you get up to this?
Dainton: I do try and shelter my kids from what we do, and at the end of the day it's a personal laugh, it's not war we're doing here. We're strong environmentalists, we care about the planet, and I think my kids will grow up with a strong, balanced background. I think my background and my life experience will help mould my children into better people than a lot of these council estate f---ers.
Pritchard: What's wrong with council estate people?
Dainton: I'm from a council estate, but I've learnt I'm from that environment, and a lot of this is why I've got where I have in life apart from being sat in front of a bunch of press people talking s--t.
Pancho: At least I'll have confidence in telling my kids, 'I've learnt the hard way, don't go doing that.' And hopefully they'll take it on board a little better cos Daddy's made all the f---k ups.
Pritchard: Yeah, and don't drink booze like your father.
Dainton: And learn by my mistakes?
UNDERWORLD, CAMDEN TOWN • 11.Sep.06
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