Comedians Harriet Kemsley and Bobby Mair have turned their married life into an occasional comedy partnership. In Pants on Fire, they'll be claiming that they travelled to Mexico City to become wrestling champions, broke the record for most calls ever on a sexy TV channel and lasted an entire day hiding in Emma Willis’s house. But how much is the truth?
What challenges were you most nervous about attempting?
BOBBY: Definitely Mexican wrestling was the hardest of all of them
HARRIET Yeah, that was the most scary because that had the most risk.
BOBBY: We went to Mexico City and trained to be professional wrestlers and then fought in a professional wrestling match as a tag team.
HARRIET They were very tough. The woman I had to fight there’s a video of her online stapling people’s heads. We had the full outfits.
BOBBY: We had masks, we had capes.
HARRIET We went to see a special costume guy in Mexico City who dresses all the wrestlers. My wrestling name was The Natural Disaster and Bobby’s was The Stray Cat.
What made you choose those names?
HARRIET I’m naturally clumsy and Bobby is feral like a stray cat.
Would you say there’s a rivalry between you and the other two pairs of challengers in the studio?
BOBBY: We definitely wanted to win the episode and show that we had tried the hardest.
Which celebrity panellist was the easiest to fool?
HARRIET Joe Swash. I would say he’s the most trusting. He’s a very trusting man.
Which celeb panellist did you find to be the most detective-like?
HARRIET Jimmy Carr. He’s quite smart. He actually knew things about the world!
What do you think was the hardest challenge of the series?
BOBBY: The most taxing on our relationship was when we went on Babestation. Harriet was really worried that men would say creepy things to her, so I just had to field the calls and the men would say creepy things to me about Harriet instead.
That must have been… strange?
BOBBY: It was *okay*. We were the ones in their world. We were on a phone sex channel. That’s where they go to masturbate, so that’s fair enough.
HARRIET We were the first ever couple to be on Babestation.
BOBBY: Yep, I was the first man on Babestation. I broke the gender barrier on Babestation.
Are there any challenges the other teams did that you’re glad you didn’t have to do?
BOBBY: All of the challenges seem fun in retrospect, but at the time they would have been stressful. The one I definitely wouldn’t want to do was Donna and Verona’s one where they went to South Africa and tried to get a selfie with a smiling shark. The shark was banging up against the cage in the middle of the ocean. I would rather be stabbed in the leg than go into the ocean with a shark.
HARRIET There’s one I would have liked to do. One of Donna’s challenges was to marry a Prince…
Bobby, any thoughts on that?
HARRIET I’m fine with that. I saw how that all played out and if Harriet wanted to go through with that, she’d be one of many wives.
Do you think it’s easier or harder to take on the challenges as a married couple?
HARRIET I think harder, because there’s a marriage at stake.
BOBBY: It definitely adds a level of difficulty.
HARRIET There was no escaping each other either, because they always booked us into a hotel room with each other.
BOBBY: So we were together 24 hours a day for a month doing extreme challenges. And also when you’re in pain, you just want someone to take care of you. So when did the wrestling challenge, we just would be lying next to each other wanting the other one to look after us and resenting the other one for not taking care of us.
HARRIET I think it’s brought us closer together though because we’ve been through extreme challenges.
BOBBY: I would say we would have been closer together if we went on a vacation together instead, but we stayed together and that’s a testament to something.
How did you first meet?
BOBBY: We met at a house party of mutual friends. The comedian Stephen Bailey and Kate Lucas, who lived together years ago, and we met at their house party.
You got married not long ago, which you had followed in a TV series [Bobby & Harriet Get Married]. Was that a challenge in its own respect?
HARRIET: Yes, definitely. We got the commission six weeks before the wedding, so we were organising a wedding while also writing and filming a TV series about it. That was our first glimpse at near-divorce. Before we’d even got married!
Bobby, is it true you’re related to Justin Bieber?
BOBBY: Yeah, I’m adopted and in my adopted family he’s my third cousin.
Would he be good at any of the challenges you did?
BOBBY: No, I don’t think so. He has other ways to make money where he just gets to sing songs. I don’t think he’d be very interested in any of the challenges. He could just go and sing a song and make a million dollars; I don’t think he’d really want to go into a shark tank or get the shit beaten out of him by wrestlers for money.
You guys are friends with a lot of comedians from doing the circuit. Would you say the comedians on the show were better at sussing you out?
BOBBY: No, I think Kathrine Ryan trusted us more than she should have. She trusted us because I used our friendship.
HARRIET: And Dane Baptiste didn’t trust us enough. He was like Miss Marple.
What’s the most rubbish lie you’ve ever told?
BOBBY: I once convinced Harriet for a full weekend that in Canada, it’s legal to have sex with a beaver. I got a Canadian friend to confirm it to her when I wasn’t there because I knew she’d ask him about it. So for two full days Harriet believed you’re allowed to have sex with beavers in Canada.
HARRIET: I just trusted Bobby that he was an honest man. I still married him too. What a fool! But now I don’t know how many lies Bobby’s told me. I go around and tell people and sometimes I say things and think “Bobby told me that, and I have no idea if it’s true or not.”
BOBBY: Yeah, she just repeats things like I’m Wikipedia. I don’t know anything!
Have you ever told a lie that got out of hand?
HARRIET: When my mum was pregnant with my brother, my parents told me he was going to be a boy, but they told me not to tell anyone. So I told everybody that she was having a girl, but then everyone got girly presents for my brother. I was six. I thought the best way to hide this was to say the opposite. The truth was always going to come out.
What’s a true story about you that sounds like an outrageous lie?
HARRIET: I’m a vegan whose allergic to raw fruits, raw vegetables and nuts.
BOBBY: I don’t do any drugs but nobody who meets me would assume that.
Emma was playing along too how good was she at spotting when you were lying?
BOBBY: Emma’s very smart and very thoughtful. She’s also lived a lot of lives so she knows a lot of stuff. When Donna and Verona had said that she’d slept on the side of a cliff, it turns out Emma Willis has done it! So she had insider knowledge of what that was like. She was very good at spotting lies. Generally the best of all the panel.
Do you think Emma Willis would have had the guts to do some of your challenges?
BOBBY: I don’t think it comes down to guts. If I had to trade jobs with Emma, and I had to host the show and she had to get beaten up by a wrestler then that would be that.
HARRIET: I think Emma’s a brave lady. I think she could do all of those things.
You guys had to live in Emma’s garage in one challenge. What was that like?
HARRIET: Badly, because there wasn’t a toilet and it was very stressful.
BOBBY: I pissed in a bucket. I was trying to stand away from a doorway where Emma would see me, but I ended up pissing up in a bucket next to Harriet’s head while she was asleep and then she woke up to that.
HARRIET: It was very upsetting to wake up to.
BOBBY: It really did feel like a low-budget apocalypse film.
Do you feel like the show has a lesson for people wanting to challenge yourself to do the unlikely?
HARRIET: Yeah, some of the things we did I never thought I could do. Even though they were terrifying at the time and it feels like an achievement looking back.
BOBBY: Also on the flipside, some of the things I thought I could do, I couldn’t. So you learn about your limitations and that’s important! Each team did something that felt like something an outsider might think we could not do. And us!