Former Three Sheets host Zane Lamprey has not been sitting idle while waiting to hear if his popular show (exploring international drinking cultures and customs) will be picked up by another network now that it has lost its home on the Fine Living Network (now the Cooking Channel). Instead, he’s written a book about his travels to more than 50 countries and what he’s learned while he was there, and has started several new projects, including a comedy tour/show called Drinking Made Easy.
|From Zane Lamprey|
Three Sheets featured Zane (and a now infamous stuffed monkey) traveling the globe trying all kinds of alcohol – from all types of hard liquor to beer, wine and champagne. While semi-educational in nature, the show was really about interacting with different cultures through the cultures of drinking – in a similar way that Anthony Bourdain accomplishes this with food. While there were sometimes silly sound effects and cheesy jokes, the overall tone of the show (which can still be viewed on Hulu.com) was fun-loving – and it developed quite a strong and passionate set of followers. Fans have been lobbying for the shows return without much success as of late. But Lamprey seems to have decided to not hang all his hopes on the revival of Three Sheets, but instead carry its theme through into new ventures.
I had the opportunity to talk to Zane before his sold-out show at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, MA. Though not a long-time fan of the show, I’d seen a few episodes and assumed (quite incorrectly) that Zane was all about getting drunk – but when I got to talk with him I got another impression entirely. He spoke passionately about the people at bars and how a place’s beer, history and people really make it special. Sure, every town may have a beer joint, he says, but what makes it special? He said that the asian cultures had the most interesting drinking culture – and that people there were always happy when drinking – it was their time to be happy in a society where they are confined to seriousness for most of the workday. Other revelations from his worldwide travels are shared in his book, which I’m looking forward to reading.
Lamprey’s stand-up-based “Drinking Made Easy” show surprised me, too. While the crowd was very rowdy (and seemed to have done a bit of easy drinking before hand, and the jokes were occasionally raunchy (don’t ask me to repeat the one about the supersoaker vs. the glue gun) there was an overtone of serious drinking education. In one portion, Zane went over slides of what makes up beer, what vodka is made from, and various other things. His discussion of beer wasn’t surface-level, and was actually quite interesting! The crowd (though some probably didn’t know it) got a great picture into the world of craft beer – and Zane even pointed out the adjuncts found in the big brews that most of his audience were drinking. Way to go, score one for craft beer!
The saddest part of my pre-interview and of the saga that has unfolded since is that while Zane and his cohorts keep busy on tour and promoting the accompanying book – they’ve really been thrown into TV network limbo. Since writing this post, Three Sheets has been saved, dropped, maybe picked up again and still remains with an uncertain future. . I wish the best for him, and hope that network producers got to see what I did – a man that appreciates the culture of drinking, instead of just looking to get drunk on foreign soil. Inwardly, I wonder what that Three Sheets fate may mean for the future of any (or all) drinking based shows.