EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Jason Manford talks about The Money Pit on DAVE
Described by its host Jason Manford as ‘Dragons Den meets Deal Or No Deal‘, DAVE‘s new game show The Money Pit sees forty total strangers put their own money on the line to invest in budding businesses, as pitched by a series of hopeful contestants.
Taking the crowd-funding trend to new and ever more entertaining heights, The Money Pit is real people investing in real people, as various entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes volunteer their innovations to the pit of potential investors. And there are some pretty bizarre ideas in there – we can tell you that much!
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Jason Manford to chat about The Money Pit, including inventions as far ranging as unicycles, coats for dogs, and chocolate anuses.
TVDaily: Hi Jason! Congratulations on the new show. I’ve watched some of it already and it’s very addictive.
Jason Manford: It is, isn’t it? Well actually, I haven’t seen any of it yet, so you’ve seen more than I have. But I think it’s definitely got that feel of ‘I want to know what goes on with these people’.
You describe The Money Pit as ‘business speed-dating’. Why choose this kind of gameshow format for an investment programme?
It really feels like Dragons Den meets Deal Or No Deal to me. But it’s also got elements of Gogglebox as well; just having real people on telly is quite refreshing. That’s what drew me to it.
So why should entrepreneurs go on The Money Pit over Dragons’ Den?
Well it depends how much money you want – you’re not going to get a hundred grand on our show. But what I like is that the backers are only a few years ahead of the people pitching, so there’s a tangible, ‘grabbable’ thing with these real people, that you can go ‘I can be that person in just a few years’. At the same time, the backers can see themselves in the pitchers, and I really like that as well.
I love Dragons’ Den – it’s one of my favourite shows – but sometimes it can be a bit like these multi-millionaires who’ve been multi-millionaires for decades. They can lose sight of what it’s like to be that guy or girl who’s put their heart and soul into a brand new venture, so that’s what I liked about it. It just felt like real people investing in real people.
What’s the best and/or wackiest invention that’s been brought to The Money Pit?
Oh man, we’ve had loads. Probably the weirdest one was a guy who… I feel weird telling this to you! A guy came on who will cast your anus in chocolate, as a gift. So you get a box of your own chocolate anuses. Or he can cast them in metal, so you can get bits of jewellery, like someone had a cygnet ring of their partner’s anus. They’re apparently very individual, like fingerprints.
Well, you can’t get much weirder than that, can you?
Yeah, it’s pretty weird. Then there’s a lot of stuff for dogs, so coats for dogs, travel bags for dogs… A lot of that going on, which I thought was bonkers, but Dominic Frisby, who’s the official stats guy, tells you that that industry makes 12 billion pounds a year, so it was a real learning curve there! So much stuff out there that I didn’t realise was a thing.
Are you a bit of an inventor yourself? Had any good ideas?
Oh no, not at all. I invent things that’ve already been invented. I’m like ‘oh that’s a good idea!’, and then people tell me that already exists. In fact the last thing I invented was the bicycle… I was in a park and there were two guys on unicycles being daft, and I turned to my mate and I said ‘that looks like great fun, they’re having a right laugh, but you know what’d be better? If it had two wheels!’. He was like ‘you mean like a bike?’, and I was like, ‘oh, yeah’… So I’m not an inventor at all. But I do enjoy listening to new ideas and new things that are really clever. There were two women who invented a dating app called ‘Antidate’, which is a bit like Tinder, swiping left and right and stuff, but only women can make the first move, so there’s no blokes being like ‘ooh what you doing’, and women getting badgered all the time. So I thought that was a really good idea, because when I speak to my female friends that’s the main thing they say is the problem with internet and app dating; just creepy blokes.
Speaking of the internet, on a side note, I know that you’ve been on a break from social media recently. How’s that been?
Yeah, I gave it up for about five weeks! It was really tough for about a fortnight, because I kept seeing things that I wanted to go look up. Usually I’m all over it with social media, so it was really tough, but it did get a bit easier. It was kind of like cold turkey. I don’t think I would want to do it again though, because it was hard, and genuinely, there’s so much you miss. The amount of things that I didn’t realise were happening, because I realised just how much of my current affairs I get from social media. I don’t know that anyone reads newspapers anymore, or go on the news websites. Really, it’s just people in your network saying ‘have you seen this link?’, and you give it a click. And I was on holiday in Portugal as well actually, so that made it a bit easier.
I know your fans were missing you too on Facebook!
Yeah, I came back to so many nice messages! And we raised like £14,000 for charity! What was interesting about it was – firstly, I didn’t think of the idea, someone just said you should do it for charity, and a lot of people on my Facebook were saying that – so I’ve got this charity that I’m patron of, so I said ok I’ll do it for them, so I set up a Just Giving site, and the Just Giving site is full of people running marathons, 10Ks, sky diving, bungee jumping, all for charity, and so they’re all doing something, and there I was doing nothing, and yet, the amount of people who were saying ‘Oh I couldn’t do that’ was amazing. Even the people running marathons thought ‘couldn’t do a month off Facebook’! So I recommend a Facebook fast to everyone. It feels like one of those cleanses. It feels good.
Ok, back to the show then, is there a good relationship between comedy and business?
I guess so! I’ve got a couple of businesses myself, but I think a sense of humour helps you in all walks of life, whether you’re a vicar, or a plumber, or whatever. A sense of humour is always going to be useful. As far as helping you in business, I think comedy can be a real leveller, whoever you are. I remember doing the Royal Variety Show and making the Queen laugh. I was looking up and the Queen was laughing! I mean, we could not be any more different, but I just made a joke about Corgis that she thought was funny, and that connected two people who would never be connected in a million years. So yeah, I think comedy is useful in any walk of life.
It’s just being likeable, isn’t it?
Precisely. People invest in people. That’s what I’m taking away from The Money Pit experience. And that’s what’s nice about my role – I happen to be a comedian hosting this show, where it’s not important that a comedian hosts the show at all. I mean there’s definitely funny moments, but the realness of the people comes out, and you just get the odd people who are so quirky and funny, I love that.
The Money Pit with Jason Manford begins tonight
(October 29th) at 7:30pm, only on DAVE.
Watch the trailer below.