Alcohol-loving television host’s cup runneth over

If you have to be pegged as something in show business, it might as well be as the fun drunk.

Comedian-turned-television-personality-turned-author Zane Lamprey finds himself occupying that very niche at the present moment, but he’s far from broken up about it.

Dionysian revelry · Lamprey is first and foremost a comedian. - Photo courtesy of Karen Marines

“I’m just happy to be contacted, you know what I mean?” said Lamprey, host of Travel Channel fan favorite Three Sheets. “There’s so much competition in L.A. that I think it’s ultimately an actor’s dream to be pigeonholed into something.”

Although Lamprey officially studied theater in college, his current gigs are more dependent on his knowledge of  something he probably majored in unofficially in his time at SUNY Cortland: drinking. The mantle of resident alcohol expert was thrust upon him by fate, which happened to take the form of an offer from the network MOJO HD, but Lamprey said he would have just as willingly taken a job with another angle.

“Being pigeonholed into something is better than not getting the work,” he said.

All the same, the fact remains that Lamprey’s celebrity is, for the most part, built up around the fun-yet-knowledgeable drinking buddy persona he cultivated in his wanderlust-style travel series Three Sheets. But Lamprey doesn’t see his notoriety as ‘the TV drinking guy’ as particularly limiting.

“As long as I can continue to grow, then I’m happy,” he said.

Already Lamprey has expanded his drinking shtick to encompass multiple markets. He proved himself as a hearty-livered globetrotter in his wildly popular travelogue Three Sheets — the series has changed hands a few times since premiering on MOJO HD, having appeared at different points on the Fine Living Network and the Travel Channel — and recently authored his first book, Three Sheets: Drinking Made Easy!, and embarked on his first standup comedy tour since the show took over his career. He is also working on an album of drinking songs, at once an absurdity and the next logical step.

“It might all seem like they’re not related, or that I’m just trying to capitalize on what I’m doing, but these are all things that I’ve been doing forever,” Lamprey said. “Now I’m just doing them around the vein of drinking, because it’s sort of what I’m best known for.”

Given the nature of his show and the fact that he’s never without his production  team and camera crew while traveling abroad, Lamprey acknowledges that his experience of a country is by no means the final word in a consideration of its national drinking habits.

“We’re a melting pot in so many ways, alcohol is really no different.” Lamprey said. “There are some that revere it, there is some that don’t care for it, there is some that overindulge and there’s some that take it in moderation … It’d be tough to categorize that. I think even in the other countries that I’ve gone, it’s difficult to meet three people and then say from that ‘This is the way people drink.’”

In the midst of his nationwide tour, filming episodes of his new series Drinking Made Easy for HDNet during the day and doing standup at night — Lamprey will be hitting Los Angeles on July 16 — the man who is regularly told that he has the best job in the world does indeed seem to have plenty to be thankful for.

Who wouldn’t drink to that?