Is there a particular aspect of the show that you are proud of?
The thing that I am most proud of is the fans of the show. They are the most amazing fans. I get messages everyday and they are the reason that this show is still around because they are receptive to what it is that we are doing. MOJO is off the air, and there are more fans now than on December 1st when the show went off the air. People can go to my website zanelamprey.com and they can watch the first three seasons for free. We are still adding to the fan base. We have more fans even since the show went off the air. What I’m proud of is that we did the show on a smaller network, yet we have the fan base and exposure comparable to something done on a larger network. I don’t know of any other show that has such a big fan base, other than like, Entourage, or The Office or something like that. I don’t know…that’s a big statement to make, but I only make it because people make it to me all the time. People always tell me, ‘Hey, my three favorite shows are Entourage, The Office and Three Sheets. Before it was The Sopranos, Lost and Three Sheets. Man, to be included in a group like that, I guess that’s what I am most proud of.
So explain the status of the show now and the Save Three Sheets campaign.
The show went off the air December 1st 2008, or rather the network went off the air and of course us with it. We were expecting to be snatched up really quickly by Spike, or Travel or something like that. It didn’t happen because a lot of the networks were apprehensive. I can only imagine it was because they were looking at the show at face value, and saying, ‘Oh it’s a show about a guy who travels around the world and drinks. We’ve been pitched that before; it’s nothing new. We’re not interested.’ I don’t think they were taking everything else that went with it: the success of the show, the built in fan base and looking at the big picture. Also, I think they were a little scared about putting a show on their network that was purely about alcohol.
So I went out and started a Save Three Sheets campaign because I felt the networks needed to look at what else was involved and look at the big picture of it. I did these Save Three Sheets rallies in L.A. and in New York three days later. They were protest marches/pub crawls, an easy way to get people to come out. We had over 700 people in L.A. We had a great turn out; it was fun. In New York it was even bigger. We were led by bagpipes and drums through Times Square and around New York City, and then we ended up at a bar, I think it was called Sutton Place, where Mark Cuban showed up. I wasn’t sure if he was just there already, but I walked up and I said, ‘Hi Mark,’ and he said, ‘Hi Zane. I love the show.’ There has been some conversations since then, it certainly made the Save Three Sheets rally get on peoples radars. Right now most of the entertainment industry shuts down for most of December and it takes a little while to get rolling again in January. As of now there are some irons in the fire. It’s definitely not a dead issue and regardless of who picks it up or where it goes, people will get to watch Three Sheets season four, which is amazing. I literally got back this morning at 2 A.M.; we shot an episode in Whistler, Canada. We have our last episode, which is next week. We are shooting in Amsterdam, which will be outrageous. The short answer is, as of now I have no new news; we don’t know. The worst case scenario is that people can see it on the Internet. At least everyone will get a chance to watch it at their leisure.
So for readers that are fans of the show, what can they do to help in your efforts to get the show picked up?
I think that they’ve done it. By the time this thing goes to press, I think there will be an answer one way or the other. So instead, I’ll just thank the fans for everything that they have done, for the letters they have written me, for the letters they have written to the networks and for showing up to our rallies. By the time this is out, they’ll know the fate of it or they can come to my website and I’ll let them know. We need an answer soon. We’re still shooting the damn show. We need to know where people can watch it. We’re still going in with the same approach; they are still getting better and better. People will come up and say, ‘Where do I watch it?’ and we will say, ‘I don’t know.’ (laughs) It’s a weird thing to say.
Why are you fighting so hard to save Three Sheets?
I’ve done it for over three years and people really respond to what I’ve done. I mean, I’ve done other shows. I did a show on MTV before this, but this is the most “me” that I have ever given people. This show is me, going out drinking, and learning about drinking cultures and customs. It’s me and my experiences, and people have responded to that. I want to give the show a fighting chance. When I got the news that MOJO was going off the air, the owner of the production company called me up to tell me himself, he said, ‘The network is going off the air December 1st, but we are going to finish shooting the rest of this season.’ I said, ‘That doesn’t really sound like that bad of news. I mean MOJO was great to me and I appreciate them taking a chance on the show, but MOJO was one of the smallest networks around. We now have the opportunity to get the show into many more households. Even on HD Net it would still hit many times the number of people that MOJO ever would.’ We were just excited at the notion of being in more places. I still believe that if it had that larger platform it would get the same response.
How has your involvement in the show, in your travels and your experiences changed you as a person?
I would love to think it hasn’t changed me as a person. I’d like to think the only thing that has really changed me is that I’ve gotten a little older. I think if anything changed me in these last three years it was having a kid. I don’t know if doing this show has really changed me because I’ve stayed grounded. It’s a great show and it has a huge fan base, but it’s nothing that makes going out in public any different than it was before. I’ll still have someone come up to me once a day and say they liked the show, but it’s not like anything has really happened to change me or at least I hope. I’m a lot more tired than I used to be. (laughs)
Have things ever gotten out of control or too crazy in the process of filming?
No, they haven’t really. In Barcelona we were out shooting at about 2 A.M., which we knew we weren’t supposed to do, but we were right next to the hotel and there was this bar, and we literally wanted to just show me going in there and having one drink and leaving. At that point everyone in the bar was pretty well lit. We had the tripod outside and some guy came and picked it up and was running away with it. I grabbed him and Eric and Curtis grabbed the camera. The guy is like, ‘I’m just joking, I’m just joking.’ Even though he was running away with our $60,000 camera. So he walks back in the bar and his friends are laughing and the producer Burt, who was the producer for that episode, walks out not knowing that anything even went down and the guy picked up Burt and body slammed him to the ground. So I ran up and pulled the guy away and sort of pushed Burt in a safe direction. Then I had four guys coming at me and I just held out my hand and said really loudly, ‘NO, NO, NO,’ and they stopped (laughs), and that was it. That was the hairiest situation we ever got into. Ever since then we go in kind of early, around six o’clock or seven o’clock. We try and wrap up around ten or ten thirty. Obviously, sometimes we break that rule depending on the crowd and everything, but safety is the first thing. When people get drunk they get brave, and they want to impress their friends and get on TV. We want to avoid that on a mass scale. If I’m sitting there with one person who ends up drinking too much from the time that I’m there, they are usually harmless, but if you walk into a situation where people are already drinking, that’s a bad move with a camera crew.
Have you had any ideas yourself for the show that have gone terribly wrong?
Nothing goes terribly wrong. We might start interviewing somebody that just doesn’t give us anything. It seemed like they were going to be charismatic and when the camera comes on they want to answer with basically, yeses and noes. That’s really as wrong as it can go. If there’s a situation where the person is larger than life or is out of control, as long as we feature it and don’t try and hide it, then we win. I was in Whistler and we were shooting a scene at the Fairmont, a very upscale type of a bar, and even though it was eleven thirty in the morning there was this woman who had been there since the bar opened – whenever it opened up. She was about four sheets to the wind. When we were making the drinks she was making all these comments and laughing, so I said, ‘Why don’t you step into the scene and show me how to make this Hot Toddy.’ She comes over and tries to make it and she is spilling it and laughing and she’s a wreck. Eventually she gets bored and walks away, and we continued our scene. If I would have just tried to shoot the scene and ignore her it would have just gotten worse. My comment to her and to others is come on in, hop in the scene and get it out of your system. Then they do it and then they walk away. As long as you feature everything and don’t try and ignore it, things never really go terribly wrong.
Have there been any food and beverage professionals that have really impressed you or had an impact on you?
Yeah, I was really impressed with this guy in Vegas, who was the Master Sommelier at Bellagio. His name was Mojo. What impressed me was what a Master Sommelier can do. As part of his final test for his Master Sommelier Diploma, they put four wines in front of him in glasses, two red, two white. He has to pick it up and say the country in which it was made, the region in which it was made, the grape or grapes variety that were used and the year it was made. To be able to do that, that’s astounding. I can sometimes not taste the difference between a merlot and a cabernet sauvignon. He is not only in charge of all the wine at the Bellagio, but he also did all the liquor. He knew as much about scotch and vodka [as he did about wine] and that impressed me, but what really impressed me was that he was such a cool dude. I often expect these wine experts and these beer experts to be snobs, but you have to look at what they’re experts of – it’s something that is consumed in leisure time. All of them that I have met, once they have a drink with me, they completely let their hair down and cut loose. They weren’t as intimidating as I thought they were going to be. Especially Mojo, he was just this real guy. Sure he had this vast knowledge of all things wine and spirits, but he also liked to have a glass of wine and kick it. That was really cool and that’s one person who really impressed me.