Speaking to Nick Helm and Nathaniel Metcalfe on their Fan Club show about his international success, the 67-year-old said: “Mel [Smith] and I were really big in the 80’s in Finland. We suddenly got a call from the Finnish Government. And the Finnish Government wanted us to go over, Mel and Griff, to make a film about Finland to show to President [Ronald] Reagan, who was coming over on an aeroplane. Because President Reagan, God bless him, had never heard of Finland. He thought it was part of Russia.”
The comic duo was very popular in the northern European country, although Griff was unaware of the extend of his notoriety. He started to understand that he was a celebrity in Finland thanks to a strange encounter at a urinal in Helsinki. The TV presenter confessed: “ [We] went into the middle of Helsinki. [We] went into the biggest hotel, we’d been put up in some style, and I needed, because we’d been on a plane, I wanted to go to relieve myself. I’m standing at the urinal and the man [next to me], he was huge, he was about 6’ 6’’ and he was micturating, and he saw me and suddenly went, ‘Oh! Oh my God! Oh God! Hey everybody look!’ And he turned and started peeing all over my shoe.”
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You can listen back to the full interview with Griff Rhys Jones here.