Joe King with… Ricky Gervais & Karl Pilkington

Background: Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington are probably busy planning the next series of An Idiot Abroad. In order to avoid the surprises that have befallen Karl in previous series, he wants to be involved in the planning stage. Therefore, Ricky and Karl did not come into STA Travel Bath to see a consultant who is not called Joe King, but if they had


I was tapping away at my ergonomic, custom-made keyboard, when I heard the door swing open. I looked up to see comedy legend, Ricky Gervais, and beloved buffoon, Karl Pilkington.

I jumped to my feet and greeted them, “Good morning Mr Gervais, Mr Pilkington — what brings you to STA Travel Bath today?”

“Hello mate,” Ricky replied, followed by a sideways glance and a sharp elbow to Karl’s ribcage. “Alright,” he grunted, begrudgingly. He appeared to speak without moving any part of his face, although his head was such a curious shape that I found it hard to concentrate. “Oh for God’s sake,” Gervais exclaimed, “sit down Karl!”

While Karl clumsily seated himself, Ricky continued. “We need to organise the next series of An Idiot Abroad. Karl’s so ungrateful about all of the amazing surprises we’ve lined up for him that he wants us to do it together, so he knows what’s happening.”

Karl raised an eyebrow, “You put me in a box with a shark in Australia; got me kidnapped in Jordan; I nearly threw up me liver on a boat in Alaska; and you even got that fella to stick his finger up me bum in the end of series roundup! I’m sick of it!” Pilkington complained.

“You don’t know what I’ve been through, it all seems funny to you sittin’ on your settee watching on the telly, doesn’t it!”

Ricky raised his hand, “Alright, Karl, alright. We’re here now, come on let’s get on with it” Ricky rolled his eyes at his primate-like companion and turned to face me. “We need to send him to Vietnam, he’s going to see the Cu Chi Tunnels.”

“Fantastic!” I replied, “they’re an amazing place to see, and I’m sure it’ll make great footage,” I said with a wink.

“Hold on a second, slow down” Pilkington interjected, “Why are you smiling, what is he not telling me?”

“Nothing Karl, just shut up and let him do his job,” Gervais overruled. “Carry on Joe, what were you saying?”

“OK, so let’s go from the top. We can fly you in to Ho Chi Minh and back from Hanoi from just £539.”

“Hold on a minute, we’re on Sky telly – I want first class, and he can pay for it,” Karl retorts. Ricky rolled his eyes, while Karl glared defiantly.

"Read all about it! Mr Pilkington is coming to Ho Chi Minh!

I continued, “OK, so once you arrive in Ho Chi Minh, the tunnels aren’t that far away; having seen the show, I’m sure you’ll want to get straight in to the action?” I had to hold in a smirk while Gervais sniggered, “I imagine you’d like Mr Pilkington to look smart?”

Ricky’s eyes lit up and a devious grin played across his face, “oh yes, indeed, very smart, what have you got in mind?”

“Two things: firstly I think it’s important that he wears authentic Vietcong clothing, so we’ll need some black pyjamas, and a lovely hat.” This was greeted with a cackle, the kind only Ricky Gervais can produce. “Secondly, I’m sure you’d like him to dress for the evenings? There are plenty of places we can send him for a tailor-made suit.”

“Yes! Yes, yes, yes!” Gervais was on his feet now, “You’ll love it Karl, he can rent a scooter can’t he?”

“He certainly can,” I said, “although perhaps we’ll have to get that tailor to knock up a helmet too.”

“Oh, come off it — you’re as bad as he is!” Pilkington said, exasperated. “Why is nobody on my side?”

“Oh no, Mr Pilkington, not at all. I have a great trip in mind for you. You can follow the route of the ‘Roam Vietnam’ tour, taking in the bustling markets in Ho Chi Minh, the beautiful beach in Nha Trang — I’d recommend diving here — the historical beauty of Hoi An, and the palaces of the last emperors of Vietnam in Hue. You can take a junk boat around Halong Bay, and meet the monks in Hanoi. Doesn’t that sound amazing?”

The Dragon's Back

Halong Bay is one of Asia's most beautiful spots, but will Karl be convinced? | Photo by A. Strakey

Karl looked dubious. “Sounds alright… but am I gonna get stitched up again like before? Like, am I gonna have to do weird stuff or eat dogs and that?”

“Not unless you want to,” I replied, while Ricky collapsed off his chair in hysterics.

“I love it, it’s perfect. Mr King thank you very much” said Ricky. “Just book it and send the bill to Rupert Murdoch; in fact, if you just leave me a voicemail I’m sure he’ll get it.”

Gervais clambered to his feet and shook my hand, “come on Karl, we’re going to be late for David Attenborough — we need to ask if he knows what you are.”

How did our Joe do today? Where would you have sent Karl off to? Let him know in the comments below!