Travel/drinking show host Zane Lamprey shares his international drinking tips. (National Geographic Channel)
It’s the kind of answer to the “What do you want to do when you grow up?” question that can get you laughed out of Career Day: “I want to get paid to travel and drink.”
Comedian Zane Lamprey has made a career out of that very pursuit. Over the past decade, he’s developed a rabid following for hosting two shows that featured him taking his quick wit and superhero-like tolerance around the world: “Three Sheets” and “Drinking Made Easy.”
WATCH: Zane Lamprey Mixes It Up
Jealous of his job? Yes, Zane knows full well he won the vocational lottery. “If there was a secret to how I got this job, I wouldn’t tell anybody,” he tells Yahoo Travel from Los Angeles.
Zane has hosted two shows that featured him drinking around the world. His third, “Chug,” debuts in November. (National Geographic Channel)
Now Zane’s taking his fun-loving personality around the world as host of a new show on National Geographic, “Chug.“ The title has a double meaning; it refers to the mode of transportation Zane will take to each location (train) and, of course, to the activity that will commence once he gets there.
“It’s about traveling around the world learning about local drinking customs, meeting new people,” Zane says of “Chug,” which he financed with a successful $500,000 Kickstarter campaign (that makes it the first show funded by the site to air on TV). “I think it’s the best thing I’ve done.”
"Chug” is (a) the title of Zane’s new show, (b) a reference to the trains that he takes to each location, © what goes on when he gets there, or (d) all of the above. (National Geographic Channel)
But Zane has an ability more impressive than getting a crowdfunded TV show on the air: He can spend hours in a faraway bar drinking all manner of high-powered, high-proof concoctions while (usually) retaining his ability to speak and stand. “It’s my superpower,” he says. “I can ride this two-and-a-half-beer buzz without going too far into it.” Zane believes people like watching TV hosts have fun but not drink themselves into oblivion. “The show deserves better and the fans deserve better,” he says.
Another benefit to his go-slow approach to international drinking: no hangovers, an occupational hazard about which he learned the hard way. “I have tried to work with a hangover before, and I promised myself I’d never do it again,” he says. “Because I found out after 61 countries there is no hangover remedy that actually works. Except for some herbs I found in Jamaica, which made me forget how to tie my shoes.” But that’s another show…
Zane has learned much from his drinking and traveling exploits. And now he shares his knowledge with Yahoo Travel. (National Geographic Channel)
For “Chug,” Zane hit six locales that he counts as some of the best places to drink in the world. So pack your bags and a spare liver and head to these spots:
(National Geographic Channel)
“Fiji has the nicest people on the planet,” he says, although it was a little rough for him in the beginning. “I wasn’t very comfortable when I first got there,” he says. “I couldn’t get a read on whether [the locals] were happy to have me.” But as is often the case, they found common ground through drink. “We convinced them to have a kava ceremony,” he says. “Kava loosened us up, we made great friends and found amazing drinks.”
“Budapest was an amazing surprise for us shooting this year,” Zane says. “I did not expect the myriad diversity of drinks and cocktails and spirits. And the people were fun and amazing. It was an amazing experience.”
Budapest? More like Beerapest. (National Geographic Channel)
“Sydney was probably the most fun people and the most fun city to drink in,” Zane says of the largest city in the land Down Under. “The Australians are a lively people and are fantastic to go out and have a beer with."
"Drinking in Rome is like drinking in a museum — a really fun museum that encourages drinking,” Zane says. “We were in Rome and took a train to Sant’Angelo Romano,” a town and commune about 40 minutes outside of Rome where Zane and company went drinking amid famous castles. “It was surreal, one of those amazing moments,” he says. “We’re sitting with locals who were shy. And after a drink or two we were family.” Yup, that’s often how it works.
Drinking in the local color at Sant’Angelo Romano (National Geographic Channel)
“Vienna is gorgeous,” Zane says. “The beer was fantastic — an amazing beer culture.”
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
(National Geographic Channel)
After rejecting the touristy locations in Malaysia’s capital, Zane actually chugged his way outside the city to get his drink on with the locals. “To go from a metro area into the jungle was an amazing ride from A to B.”
Even if you don’t have a TV show, Zane has some drinking tips for you if you want to travel to faraway watering holes to drink in the local culture (and libations).
Skip the clubs. “I prefer to go to bars and house parties more than clubs and dance halls,” Zane says. “I like to socialize and drink with people.” And in a bar, you can actually hear people without earsplitting music drowning out conversation and deadening your buzz.
It helps to be early. “If you go in at 6 p.m. when people are starting to come in and drink, it’s quiet enough where you can make some friends,” Zane says. “Then as the more rowdy people come in they can introduce you. But if you go in at 11 and it’s already rowdy, you’re not going to make those connections.”
The early bird gets the worm — and the best drinking buddies. (National Geographic Channel)
Language barrier? What language barrier? On Zane’s shows you’ll rarely see him speaking the local tongue, mainly because he doesn’t have to. “Any bar I’ve ever gone into, I’ve always found someone who knew how to speak English,” Zane says. “English is the international language of the world.” Well, that and alcohol. And if you’re drunk, everyone speaks the same language.
Say no to shots. “Shots are the bullet train to Drunkville and I don’t need to go there,” Zane says. Not that there isn’t a time and place for them. “If I’m in Russia, sitting at a fireplace with ice on the windows and we’re singing songs and making it our mission to finish a bottle of vodka, then I’ll do shots,” he says. But apart from “When in Russia do as the Russians do” situations, Zane suggests a no-shortcuts approach to drinking. “I don’t like to get to the point where I’m out of control.”
Shots are not your friends. (National Geographic Channel)
Get outside your comfort zone. There’s a reason this is the advice you tend to hear more often from the well-traveled: because it’s 1,000 percent true. “Go to that place that you always wanted to go,” Zane recommends. “Go and buy a ticket.” And when you get there, be sure to toast yourself with the local brew.