Wallace, Danny 1976–
Wallace, Danny 1976–
PERSONAL: Born November 15, 1976, in Dundee Scotland. Education: Attended media-studies courses at Westminster University.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Simon Spotlight Press, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
CAREER: Writer, host, and producer for radio and television. Host of television programs for British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), including How to Start Your Own Country, and CitizenTV, both BBC-2; coproducer of television programs, including The Dave Gorman Collection, and Dave Gorman's Important Astrology Experiment, both BBC-2; producer of radio programs, including The Boosh, Ross Noble Goes Global, and Tony Hawkes Twelve Days of Christmas, all for BBC Radio 4.
(With Dave Gorman) Are You Dave Gorman? (memoir), Edbury Press (London, England), 2001.
Join Me, Edbury Press (London, England), 2003, published as Join Me!, Plume (New York, NY), 2004.
Yes Man, Simon Spotlight Entertainment (New York, NY), 2005.
Writer for television programs, including School's Out, BBC-1, and How to Start Your Own Country, CitizenTV, (cowriter) The Dave Gorman Collection, and (cowriter) Dave Gorman's Important Astrology Experiment, all BBC-2. Writer for radio programs, including The Sunday Format and Loose Ends, both for BBC Radio 4. Also author of Random Act of Kindness. Contributor to periodicals, including London Times, Scotsman, London Sunday Times, Independent, London Daily Mail, Guardian, Comedy Review, Total Film, Total Football, T3.net, and Melody Maker.
ADAPTATIONS: Are You Dave Gorman? was adapted as a stage play produced at the Edinburgh Fringe, Scotland; Join Me was adapted as a screenplay; Yes Man was adapted as a screenplay, Warner Bros., produced by David Heyman, Jack Black, and Mike White. The radio series How To Start Your Own Country is available on DVD.
SIDELIGHTS: London-based writer, producer, and comedian Danny Wallace got his start writing at the age of thirteen for a Sega gaming magazine, soon becoming a reviewer. He later went on to study media at university, then continued writing and contributed to radio programs for the British Broadcasting Corporation. Together with his apartment roommate, Dave Gorman, he became well known for writing and producing the television show Are You Dave Gorman? The premise of the show was that Wallace challenged Gorman to find fifty-four other people who shared his name, one for each card in a deck, including the jokers, and then followed Gorman as he went on his quest.
Wallace is the solo author of Join Me, an account of how he became the leader of a cult. On the Web site dedicated to this book, Wallace noted that his cult does not engage in brainwashing or any of the other activities commonly associated with cults, "because my cult is a cult devoted to niceness. To kindness. To improving the life of a total stranger, if only for a moment or two. I call it The Karma Army, and I encourage my followers to carry out one Random Act of Kindness for a complete stranger, each and Every Friday. I call these Fridays 'Good Fridays,' and I ask my members to sign The Good Friday Agreement."
Joining Wallace's cult is as simple as sending him a passport-size photo. Because of a small add, online promotion, and word-of-mouth, he soon had thousands of followers, and his cult spread to other countries, including the United States. He notes how simple many of these acts are. They can include buying a pint for a stranger in a bar, giving flowers to an older person or candy to people on the street. He commented that he has "watched people come out of their shells, shed their embarrassment, make new friends. I've watched people become the people they'd always known they were, but were too shy to show. I've watched people glow as they made someone else smile." A history of the cult can be found at its Web site at www.join-me.co.uk. Booklist contributor David Pitt found the book "funny, educational, and, yes, more than a little bizarre. Lots of fun."
Wallace's Yes Man is an account of his endeavor that involved saying the word "yes" more often. Whitney Pastorek noted in Entertainment Weekly that Wallace's girlfriend called it another of "his Stupid Boy Projects." Saying yes led Wallace to some new highs, including winning 48,000 dollars with a lottery scratch-off, and lows that included losing his winnings and being duped by an Internet scam. The book was optioned for film production.
How to Start Your Own Country premiered on British television in 2005. Wallace, who is the show's writer and host, started his own micronation, Lovely, in his apartment, and the radio show follows his progress. After the first radio program aired, his country added residents at an astonishing rate, soon numbering more than ten thousand. For those who would like to be residents of Lovely, a passport can be downloaded at www.citizensrequired.com.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2004, David Pitt, review of Join Me!, p. 802; August, 2005, David Pitt, review of Yes Man, p. 1988.
Entertainment Weekly, August 5, 2005, Whitney Pastorek, "Living in the Land of Nod," p. 69.
Independent, October 19, 2005, Danny Wallace, "My Home: Danny Wallace, Comedian."
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2004, review of Join Me!, p. 32.
Publishers Weekly, December 8, 2003, review of Join Me!, p. 52.
CitizensRequired.com, http://www.citizensrequired.com/ (December 26, 2005).
Danny Wallace Home Page, http://www.dannywallace.com (December 26, 2005).
Funny.co.uk, http://www.funny.co.uk/ (October 12, 2005), review of Yes Man.
Guardian Online, http://society.guardian.co.uk/ (August 10, 2005), Mary O'Hara, interview with Danny Wallace.
Join Me Web site, http://www.join-me.co.uk/ (December 26, 2005).
Wessex Scene Online, http://www.wessexscene.co.uk/ (March 29, 2004). interview with Danny Wallace.