A Tour of the Fringe with Dom Joly:

Conspiracies, Comedy, and Controversies

In a world where the line between reality and parody is increasingly blurred, maintaining a sense of skepticism is not just valuable—it's essential. 'Some Dare Call It Conspiracy' is proud to present an emblematic figure of satirical wit, Dom Joly, who peels back the layers of conspiracy culture with a scalpel-sharp humor. As a comedian and traveler with an acquired taste for the absurdities that the spectrum of human belief has to offer, Joly provides a unique lens through which we can examine the persistent appeal of conspiracies.


The landscape of conspiracy theories has transformed dramatically over the years, shifting from the playful and harmless to the dangerously ubiquitous. With the rise of political figures amplifying these narratives and a pandemic serving as fertile ground for misinformation, it's imperative to explore the societal impact of such theories. Dom Joly's perspective, steeped in his own diverse experiences and encounters, grants us access to a more nuanced understanding of this cultural phenomenon.


Dom Joly's comedic ventures—both celebrated and scorned—serve as a backdrop to our exploration. His suspenseful and sometimes eerie tales from his time on 'Trigger Happy' to hair-raising moments in the Congo, relay the depth of his encounters with the surreal. With the recognition received by 'Some Dare Call It Conspiracy,' crowned as the best factual true-crime podcast in 2023, this episode promises to be a riveting blend of laughter and learning, whimsy and warning.


The Genesis of Engagement: Dom Joly and The Cure's Odd Odyssey


It all started with a non-broadcast pilot, a tale worthy of any eccentric narrative where Joly played an intoxicated character, persuading none other than The Cure to perform. This stunt ebbed into a night of surreal adventure, with Robert Smith joining Joly at his flat, resulting in an escapade as unexpected as the gothic tunes that linked them. Joly's favorite album, '17 seconds,' echoes the fleeting yet enduring impact of such peculiar experiences—a prelude to the intriguing blend of truth and fiction that characterizes conspiracy culture.


Moreover, Joly's encounter with The Cure segued into deeper discussions about his forthcoming radio show on the evolution of goth music. Emphasizing the transitions from punk to post-punk and beyond, Joly underscores the parallels between musical metamorphosis and the mutations of conspiracy theories over time. Both realms, characterized by their fervent adherents and their own form of cultural rebellion, become a stage where Joly's narrative weaves a rich tapestry of counter-cultural influences.


These intersections of chance, artistry, and the alternative cannot help but mirror the matrix of conspiratorial thinking. Joly's mock chat show 'This is Dom Joly,' revered by some as brilliant and derided by others as misguided, epitomizes the complexity of audience reception and the contentious nature of alternative perspectives. This poignantly illustrates how conspiracy theories are often misinterpreted, or in some cases, intentionally contorted—reflecting the dual-edged sword of media production and public perception.


Making Waves in Goth: From Post-Punk to Present Day


Continuing on this auditory journey, Joly delves into the gothic radio waves with an affinity that surpasses mere casual listener. His exploration of goth music, branching from its punk and post-punk roots, denotes a thorough understanding and appreciation for the genre's storied past and its current incarnations. This metaphorical darkness in music, much like the conspiracies he explores, speaks to the human penchant for the obscure and reflective domains of thought and culture.


Drawing parallels between the niche of goth music and the enigmatic world of conspiracy theories, Joly observes how both arose as outlets for expression, dissent, and understanding in chaotic times. Much like goth music provided an alternative scene during turbulent political times, conspiracy theories too gained momentum as they offered alternative explanations during the uncertain moments of history. This cultural evolution reflects a deeper psychological play where individuals and societies gravitate towards narratives that provide meaning and direction amid disarray.


The goth movement, with its distinctive sound and style, symbolizes the transformative power of subcultures, a recurring theme in both Joly's work and in the sphere of conspiracies. Subcultures often challenge the status quo and foster new modes of thinking. They become a refuge for those who disdain mainstream narratives—not unlike the way conspiracy communities provide sanctuaries for those questioning conventional wisdom. Thus, Joly's musings on the maturation of goth become an allegory for the cultivation of conspiracy theories, marking a creative intersection of music and myth.


The Perils of Perception: Navigating Public Misconception in Media


Dom Joly's career, punctuated by his satirical chat show 'This is Dom Joly,' sheds light on the perilous dance between creator intent and public reception. An overwhelming 80% of the audience failed to catch the dry humor woven into the fabric of the show, branding Joly as rather disagreeable, rather than recognizing the brilliance perceived by the minority. This reception is indicative of the broader challenge faced by content creators: how to convey irony and satire in a way that resonates correctly with the audience. Joly's experience serves as a microcosm of the difficulty in managing public perception, particularly when dabbling with dry, British humor on the delicate subject of conspiracies.


The misunderstanding surrounding Joly's work mirrors the broader issue of misinformation in conspiracy culture. Conspiracies have become weaponized versions of their former whimsical selves, and with leaders like Trump giving them a voice, the game has changed. The narratives have shifted from the fringe to the forefront, affecting vulnerable groups with disinformation about critical issues, notably the COVID-19 pandemic. This has significant consequences, sowing discord and doubt at a time when unity and clarity are desperately needed.


Joly's engagement with detractors and manipulative figures in the conspiracy sphere reflects his commitment to challenging false narratives. Confrontations with those spreading dangerous misinformation are emblematic of the struggle against deceptive influences within conspiracy culture. This serves as a stark reminder of the responsibility held by those in the media to dissect and display conspiracies for what they often are—a psychological balm for the troubled, but a balm that can obscure the truth if left unchecked. Joly's bold forays into these confrontations, armed with wit and critical thought, exemplify the importance of robust conversation and debate in the world of conspiracy and beyond.


Conspiracies in the Public Sphere: Escalation in the Age of Information


As our podcast explores the vastness of conspiracy theories, Dom Joly's anecdotes become all the more salient. He observes how these theories evolved from harmless fun to dangerous ideologies, particularly in the wake of Trump's presidency. The conspiratorial realm has not only expanded but also intensified, pulling in vulnerable audience segments with fallacies about current events like the COVID pandemic. This phenomenon raises red flags about the potency of misinformation and the urgent need to address the ways in which false information takes root in our collective psyche.


Part of the conspiracy theory's allure lies in providing a semblance of order in a disorderly reality—particularly during troubling times. Joly points out that people are naturally inclined to seek patterns and answers, which is why conspiracy theories can be so appealing. They supply a narrative where people can feel in control, or at least feel like they understand the chaos of the world. This psychological comfort is a significant factor in the proliferation of alternative truths and the formation of 'conspiracy tribes,' a stark byproduct of the societal tensions exacerbated by crises.


The discussion pivots to the economic implications of conspiracy theories and the industry that has burgeoned around them. Places like Roswell have become veritable 'Disneylands for ufologists,' with conspiracy tourism turning into a lucrative business. Here, the line between belief and commerce becomes blurred, possibly to the financial benefit of some, but at the cost of a well-informed public. The podcast contemplates this reality, where conspiracy theories are not just a cultural curiosity but a substantial source of income for certain parties, underscoring the complexity of unraveling these narratives from economic drivers.


Alien Anecdotes: Dom Joly's Involvement with UFOs and Reptilians


The subject of extraterrestrial life forms an intriguing thread throughout Dom Joly's narrative. With characteristic good humor, he recounts the experience of preparing for an Irish news night on UFOs, which was abruptly canceled due to riots in Dublin. His light-hearted speculation about reptilian aliens, including a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that figures like Nigel Farage might be among their ranks, belies a more serious contemplation of the way in which outlandish theories propagate in modern culture.


Joly's mirthful engagement with the concept of interstellar visitors extends to a promotion of his book 'The Conspiracy Tourist' and a concurrent UK tour delving into a variety of conspiracy theories. Alongside him on this tour is the less jocular figure of Doctor Julian Northka, providing a counterweight to Joly's levity. The dynamic interplay of jest and earnestness in these discussions is a hallmark of Joly's approach, illuminating how the fringe can become fertile ground for both humor and serious debate.


Gratitude, whether for support in his literary endeavors or for the contributions of podcast hosts Brent Lee and Neil Sanders to his book, underscores Joly's discourse on alien narratives and beyond. His parting quip, swearing by a 'lizard god' and a final jest about Bill Gates, closes his commentary on extraterrestrial conspiracies with a blend of the esoteric and the comedic. This encapsulation of the inexplicable allure of conspiracy theories—whether sinister, satirical, or simply speculative—serves as a reminder of the many facets of human imagination and belief.


Comedic Conspiracy Theories: Flat Earth, Finland, and Farce


To Joly, some conspiracy theories are so absurd they're ripe for comedy, and in our discussion, he gleefully tackles them with the acuity of a stand-up comedian. He touches on the classic flat earth belief and delves into its even more comical offspring, the theory positing a square, flat earth. Joly regales listeners with stories of a square flat earther, including an excursion to the purported edge at Fogo Island, colorfully illustrating the human capacity to cling to beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.


The jest continues as Joly touches on the bizarre theory that Finland does not exist and is merely an invention—a theory that started as a joke but found a surprisingly earnest following. He addresses the ability of conspiracy theories to coalesce from satire or idle musings into movements taken seriously by a segment of the population. This evolution from parody to validity is indicative of a broader phenomenon: the pliability of belief systems and the potential for ideas, however outlandish, to find grounding in the fertile soil of a receptive public.


Humor can be a powerful tool for examining the edges of plausibility, a fact not lost on Joly as he recounts a lighthearted encounter with conspiracy juggernaut Alex Jones. Despite his anger towards the harm Jones has caused, the encounter itself is recounted with levity, an anecdote that underscores the juxtaposition of the ridiculous and the dangerous that is inherent in many modern conspiracy theories. This confluence of the ludicrous with the serious reflects the complex tapestry of influences within the culture of conspiracies and the challenges faced in understanding and addressing their reach.


Combating Controversies: A Contrast of Conspiracy and Reality


In the realm of conspiracy theories, the distinction between fact and fabrication can be as thin as a strand of a spider's web. Dom Joly, with a careful blend of incredulity and incisiveness, confronts this dichotomy head-on. With the proliferation of online platforms, there's been an alarming increase in people ensnared by conspiracy theories. Joly points out that once the algorithms detect an individual's interest, they are fed a steady and escalating diet of contrarian content, further entrenching them into a parallel belief system.


With persistent exposure to such content, individuals may find themselves in a 'rabbit hole,' continually persuaded not by truths but by an echo chamber of charlatans. The enticing trap of conspiracy theories often promises insights into a supposedly hidden world, thus appealing to the ego and desire for exclusive knowledge. However, the reality is that these same theories frequently prey on insecurities and create a sense of false intellectual superiority. Joly's sharp wit and critical perspective serve to peel back the layers of these controversies, exposing their inner workings and their often deleterious impact on society.


The recognition by credible sources of actual UFO sightings adds another intriguing layer to the discussion. While there is some evidence for unknown phenomena, Joly humorously notes that making the quantum leap from unidentified flying objects to alien intervention is fraught with uncertainty. This aspect of the conversation navigates the slippery slope between legitimate unexplained events and the human tendency to fill in the gaps with fantastical explanations. In an era of stark online polarization, where nuance is frequently a casualty of the discourse, the challenge of considering the slivers of truth within conspiracy theories becomes even more critical.


In Search of the Yeti: Chasing Myths in the Himalayas


The mystique of the Yeti is an irresistible lure for the adventurous spirit of Dom Joly. Venturing into the Himalayas, he recounts his journey to a monastery near Namshi Bazaar where the skull of a supposed yeti is stored. His descriptions of these travels are imbued with the same sense of wonder and curiosity that permeates the world of conspiracy theories—a testament to the human drive to explore and explain the unknown.


Joly's belief in the possibility of the Yeti's existence is not without evidence; he details the compelling anecdotes and artifacts he has encountered, lending some credence to the myths. The experiences he shares, set against the backdrop of the vast and mysterious Himalayan landscape, evoke images of intrepid exploration and the enduring appeal of the undiscovered. This resonates with our listeners who seek to peel away the surface of the world to find what lies beneath.


Whether discussing the yeti or dissecting conspiracy theories, Joly's narrative encapsulates a broader reflection on the human condition. The fact that the pursuit of these enigmatic creatures and ideas often leads to dead ends does little to deter their seekers. The allure of the potential discovery outweighs the disappointments, and in many ways, the search itself—the creative imaginings, the consideration of 'what if?'—becomes the real treasure. Here Joly reflects a universal theme: the seeking is as significant as the finding, and the stories we tell about that quest are a vital part of our culture.


Taking Stand-up to Conspiracy: The Humorous Side of Serious Issues


Through the lens of humor, Dom Joly approaches conspiracy theories with a strategy that disarms and enlightens. His venture into the absurdity of flat earth believers, especially the 'square' fringe of this community, exemplifies how comedy can highlight the flawed logic that underpins many conspiracy theories. Joly's globe-trotting pursuits aren't confined to just mocking the misguided; he embraces these experiences with heartfelt fervor, turning them into teachable moments that are as enlightening as they are entertaining.


His ability to juxtapose humor with solemn topics is a distinctive approach to engaging with difficult subjects. By inviting laughter into the conversation, Joly creates a space where audiences can confront the preposterous without the discomfort that often accompanies direct confrontation. This technique also opens dialogue, offering relief from the often-overwhelming seriousness of conspiracy topics. Whether discussing the ideological shifts from comedic origins of conspiracy theories or countering the contrarian narratives with wit, Joly demonstrates the power of humor to bridge gaps in understanding and possibly heal divides escalated by unfounded beliefs.


The comedic quest for truth does not end with a punchline; instead, it provides an alternative pathway to address challenging societal issues. Joly shares his vision for a new podcast, 'Original Ops,' focusing on reclaiming hidden camera work as an art form. His fondness for the craft stems from a desire to push boundaries, to use pranks as a way to reflect societal quirks, and to encourage a more critical view of the world we inhabit. In every joke, whether about a fake ad featuring Will Self or an edgy spoof of a talk show, lies an invitation to question and, perhaps, to think more deeply about the information that shapes our beliefs.


Conclusion: Valuing Vigilance in a World Rife with Riddles


As 'Some Dare Call It Conspiracy' wraps up this enthralling journey with Dom Joly, it becomes clear that the proliferation of conspiracy theories speaks volumes about our society's yearnings for certainty in an ever-complex world. Delving into the perplexing world of conspiracies with Joly reveals a landscape that is as confounding as it is captivating. Whether it's the world of goth music, the myths of far-flung lands, or the realm of reptilians, each thread we've explored is part of the intricate weave of human narrative and belief.


In a society teeming with alternative truths and a boundless array of conspiracy theories, the value of vigilance cannot be overstated. The conversations and anecdotes shared by Joly underscore the necessity for a critical eye and a healthy dose of skepticism. It's about maintaining the space where skepticism can coexist with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and discovery, as reflected in his travels and his encounters with the fringes of belief and reality.


As we conclude, we are left with a greater appreciation for the nuanced tapestry of conspiracy culture and a reminder of our podcast's mission: to unravel the threads that bind fact and fiction, humor and gravity, creativity and credulity. It's a mission that continues beyond the airwaves, into the lives of our listeners, urging us all to engage with the world with both a critical mind and an open heart. We thank you for joining us on this expedition into the heart of human curiosity, and stay tuned for more episodes that dare to call into question the very fabric of our reality.

Contact Dom Joly:


Dom Joly, The Cure band, Robert Smith, goth music evolution, fake chat show, conspiracy theories, COVID misinformation, lizard people, UFO sightings, "The Conspiracy Tourist", true crime podcast, Neil Sanders, Brent Lee, algorithmic polarization, Trump presidency, flat earth theory, Alex Jones, Bob Lazar, Area 51, moon landing conspiracy, Stanley Kubrick, Trigappy, hidden camera work, Will Self, Osama bin Laden, Yeti existence, COVID inquiry, government secrets, public deception, creative minds.



00:00 Disagreements, stickers, and a bizarre encounter explained.

06:09 Conway's "alternative facts" caused truth fragmentation.

13:10 Online discourse lacks nuance, leads to polarization.

19:13 Medical companies behave poorly, lack competence and transparency.

22:10 Growing income inequality causes widespread social disenfranchisement.

30:43 British family from Lebanon, interned in Turkey.

32:40 Famous school, filming mishap, unexpected confrontation.

40:53 People show Yeti evidence, believe in unexplained.

42:40 Roswell, Area 51, UFOs, government conspiracy theories.

51:14 Parent's grief and anger over false claims.

57:31 Claimed a journalistic past, faked wedding footage. Requested Robert Smith cameo in filming.

59:41 Car crashes, moment of silence, awkward filming.

01:05:28 BBC deal led to dry humor approach.

01:12:30 Podcasts aim to spotlight overlooked geniuses.

01:15:29 Book tour in England, conspiracies, website for details.