Star stand-up and consumer champion Joe Lycett has opened his first pub in North Yorkshire – and the police were called before he served a single customer.
Joe set up his pub in Tadcaster, directly opposite the Old Brewery, the HQ of Samuel Smith’s Brewery.
And he broadcast the whole thing on his show, Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back, screened on Channel 4 last night.
The stunt was part of his campaign to highlight some of the brewery’s more questionable rules and practices.
His target was the boss of Sam Smith’s, Humphrey Smith, the reclusive man thought to be behind some of the arcane regulations in the pubs – such as no music, no mobile phones and no laptops.
After listing press reports about draconian incidents in various Sam Smith’s hostelries, and hearing from former pub managers who were thrown out of their pub and their home by Sam Smith’s, Joe took direct action.
He set up the Humphrey Smith – a pub opposite the brewery’s Tadcaster HQ in the “Sam Smith ethos: it’s a dump!”
A brewery employee called the police on him, but the officer took no action.
Later in the show, Joe dressed as the Tadcaster town crier and declared: “I Joe Lycett have come to Tadcaster to tell people of the misdeeds of Humphrey Smith!
“And to spread a liberating joyful message to all of his pubs. That it’s OK to swear. That using your phone for two minutes isn’t the end of the world.
“That landlords should be supported and treated fairly. And that pubs can and should be fun.”
He then opened The Lettuce Inn on the Tadcaster river bank, where music and dancing were encouraged.
Finally, he got Antony Costa, formerly of English boy band Blue, to sing a specially composed song, with the chorus: “My angry Humphrey Hump, he’s a nasty little grump.”
Normally the only response to any media inquiry from Sam Smith’s is a terse: “No comment.” But Joe clearly got to them because they issued this full statement to the show.
Doesn’t Joe Lycett realize that some of us like to go in a pub where we don’t have to listen to some tosser bawling away on his or her mobile phone, we don’t want to listen to rehashed 60’s music, we just want to sit and have a quiet drink at a good price, that is what Sam’s pubs give us and can Joe Lycett compete with Sam’s prices, I doubt it.