Here are a bunch of reaction memes that I sort of made but it’s all the mighty boosh
Here are a bunch of reaction memes that I sort of made but it’s all the mighty boosh
Happy APEril 20/30 - Dave and booshlers
This popped up on Facebook and my first thought was, he looks like Howard Moon.
Happy APEril 19/30 - Dave and booshlers
picture of young Ju in Mindhorn. I just can't help but noticing this gem. The movie is brilliant.
Edgar Wright’s 25th birthday party. April 18th 1999. Stolen Shamelessly from Edgar’s insta.
Julian Barratt as Howard Moon
A nice windy date ☁️
we need to accept that julian barratt and mike wozniak are the same person in different fonts 🖤
By Graham Jepson
Happy APEril 13/30 - other booshy ape stuff
The Mighty Boosh on the business of being silly
The Times, November 15 2008
What began as a cult cocktail of daft poems, surreal characters and fantastical storylines has turned into the comedy juggernaut that is the Mighty Boosh. Janice Turner hangs out with creators Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt and the extended Boosh family to discuss the serious business of being silly
In the thin drizzle of a Monday night in Sheffield, a crowd of young women are waiting for the Mighty Boosh or, more precisely, one half of it. Big-boned Yorkshire lasses, jacketless and unshivering despite the autumn nip, they look ready to devour the object of their desire, the fey, androgynous Noel Fielding, if he puts a lamé boot outside the stage door. “Ooh, I do love a man in eyeliner,” sighs Natalie from Rotherham. She’ll be throwing sickies at work to see the Boosh show 13 times on their tour, plus attend the Boosh after-show parties and Boosh book signings. “My life is dead dull without them,” she says.
Nearby, mobiles primed, a pair of sixth-formers trade favourite Boosh lines. “What is your name?” asks Jessica. “I go by many names, sir,” Victoria replies portentously. A prison warden called Davena survives long days with high-security villains intoning, “It’s an outrage!” in the gravelly voice of Boosh character Tony Harrison, a being whose head is a testicle.
Apart from Fielding, what they all love most about the Boosh is that half their mates don’t get it. They see a bloke in a gorilla suit, a shaman called Naboo, silly rhymes about soup, stories involving shipwrecked men seducing coconuts “and they’re like, ‘This is bloody rubbish,’” says Jessica. “So you feel special because you do get it. You’re part of a club.”
Except the Mighty Boosh club is now more like a movement. What began as an Edinburgh fringe show starring Fielding and his partner Julian Barratt and later became an obscure BBC3 series has grown into a box-set flogging, mega-merchandising, 80-date touring Boosh inc. There was a Boosh festival last summer, now talk of a Boosh movie and Boosh in America. An impasse seems to have been reached: either the Boosh will expand globally or, like other mass comedy cults before it – Vic and Bob, Newman and Baddiel – slowly begin to deflate.
But for the moment, the fans still wait in the rain for heroes who’ve already left the building. I find the Boosh gang gathered in their hotel bar, high on post-gig adrenalin. Barratt, blokishly handsome with his ring-master moustache, if a tad paunchy these days, blends in with the crew. But Fielding is never truly “off”. All day he has been channelling A Clockwork Orange in thick black eyeliner (now smudged into panda rings) and a bowler hat, which he wears with polka-dot leggings, gold boots and a long, neon-green fur-collared PVC trenchcoat. He has, as those women outside put it, “something about him”: a carefully-wrought rock-god danger mixed with an amiable sweetness. Sexy yet approachable. Which is why, perched on a barstool, is a great slab of security called Danny.
“He stops people getting in our faces,” says Fielding. “He does massive stars like P. Diddy and Madonna and he says that considering how we’re viewed in the media as a cult phenomenon, we get much more attention in the street than, say, Girls Aloud. Danny says we’re on the same level as Russell Brand, who can’t walk from the door to the car without ten people speaking to him.”
This barometer of fame appears to fascinate and thrill Fielding. Although he complains he can’t eat dinner with his girlfriend (Dee Plume from the band Robots in Disguise) unmolested, he parties hard and publicly with paparazzi-magnets like Courtney Love and Amy Winehouse. He claims he’s tried wearing a baseball cap but fans still recognise him. Hearing this, Julian Barratt smiles wryly: “Noel is never going to dress down.”
It is clear on meeting them that their Boosh characters Vince Noir (Fielding), the narcissistic extrovert, and Howard Moon (Barratt), the serious, socially awkward jazz obsessive, are comic exaggerations of their own personalities. At the afternoon photo shoot, Fielding breaks free of the hair and make-up lady, sprays most of a can of Elnett on to his Bolan feather-cut and teases it to his satisfaction. Very Vince. “It is an art-life crossover,” says Barratt.
At 40, five years older than Fielding, Barratt exhibits the profound weariness of a man trying to balance a five-month national tour with new-fatherhood. After every Saturday night show he returns home to his 18-month-old twins, Arthur and Walter, and his partner Julia Davis (the creator-star of Nighty Night) and today he was up at 5am pushing a pram on Hampstead Heath before taking the train north to rejoin the Boosh. “I go back so the boys remember who I am. But it’s harder to leave them every time,” he says. “It is totally schizophrenic, totally opposite mental states: all this self-obsession and then them.”
About two nights a week on tour, Fielding doesn’t go to bed, parties through the night and performs the next evening having not slept at all. Barratt often retreats to his room to plough through box sets of The Wire. “It’s a bit gritty, but that is in itself an escape, because what we do is so fantastical.”
But mostly it is hard to resist the instant party provided by a large cast, crew and band. Indeed, drinking with them, it appears Fielding and Barratt are but the most famous members of a close collective of artists, musicians and old mates. Fielding’s brother Michael, who previously worked in a bowling alley, plays Naboo the shaman. “He is late every single day,” complains Noel. “He’s mad and useless, but I’m quite protective of him, quite parental.” Michael is always arguing with Bollo the gorilla, aka Fielding’s best mate, Dave Brown, a graphic artist relieved to remove his costume – “It’s so hot in there I fear I may never father children” – to design the Boosh book. One of the lighting crew worked as male nanny to Barratt’s twins and was in Michael’s class at school: “The first time I met you,” he says to Noel, “you gave me a dead arm.” “You were 9,” Fielding replies. “And you were messing with my stuff.”
This gang aren’t hangers-on but the wellspring of the Boosh’s originality and its strange, homespun, degree-show aesthetic: a character called Mr Susan is made out of chamois leathers, the Hitcher has a giant Polo Mint for an eye. When they need a tour poster they ignore the promoter’s suggestions and call in their old mate, Nige.
Fielding and Barratt met ten years ago at a comedy night in a North London pub. The former had just left Croydon Art College, the latter had dropped out of an American Studies degree at Reading to try stand-up, although he was so terrified at his first gig that he ran off stage and had to be dragged back by the compere.
While superficially different, their childhoods have a common theme: both had artistic, bohemian parents who exercised benign neglect. Fielding’s folks were only 17 when he was born: “They were just kids really. Hippies. Though more into Black Sabbath and Led Zep. There were lots of parties and crazy times. They loved dressing up. And there was a big gap between me and my brother – about nine years – so I was an only child for a long time, hanging out with them, lots of weird stuff going on.
“The great thing about my mum and dad is they let me do anything I wanted as a kid as long as I wasn’t misbehaving. I could eat and go to bed when I liked. I used to spend a lot of time drawing and painting and reading. In my own world, I guess.”
Growing up in Mitcham, South London, his father was a postmaster, while his mother now works for the Home Office. Work was merely the means to fund a good time. “When your dad is into David Bowie, how do you rebel against that? You can’t really. They come to all the gigs. They’ve been in America for the past three weeks. I’m ringing my mum really excited because we’re hanging out with Jim Sheridan, who directed In the Name of the Father, and the Edge from U2, and she said, ‘We’re hanging with Jack White,’ whom they met through a friend of mine. Trumped again!”
Barratt’s father was a Leeds art teacher, his mother an artist later turned businesswoman. “Dad was a bit more strict and academic. Mum would let me do anything I wanted, didn’t mind whether I went to school.” Through his father he became obsessed with Monty Python, went to jazz and Spike Milligan gigs, learnt about sex from his dad’s leatherbound volumes of Penthouse.
Barratt joined bands and assumed he would become a musician (he does all the Boosh’s musical arrangements); Fielding hoped to become an artist (he designed the Boosh book cover and throughout our interview sketches obsessively). Instead they threw their talents into comedy. Barratt: “It is a great means of getting your ideas over instantly.” Fielding: “Yes, it is quite punk in that way.”
Their 1998 Edinburgh Fringe show called The Mighty Boosh was named, obscurely, after a friend’s description of Michael Fielding’s huge childhood Afro: “A mighty bush.” While their double-act banter has an old-fashioned dynamic, redolent of Morecambe and Wise, the show threw in weird characters and a fantasy storyline in which they played a pair of zookeepers. They are very serious about their influences. “Magritte, Rousseau...” says Fielding. “I like Rousseau’s made-up worlds: his jungle has all the things you’d want in a jungle, even though he’d never been in one so it was an imaginary place.”
Eclectic, weird and, crucially, unprepared to compromise their aesthetic sensibilities, it was 2004 before, championed by Steve Coogan’s Baby Cow production company, their first series aired on BBC3. Through repeats and DVD sales the second series, in which the pair have left the zoo and are living above Naboo’s shop, found a bigger audience. Last year the first episode of series three had one million viewers. But perhaps the Boosh’s true breakthrough into mainstream came in June when George Bush visited Belfast and a child presented him with a plant labelled “The Mighty Bush”. Assuming it was a tribute to his greatness, the president proudly displayed it for the cameras, while the rest of Britain tittered.
A Boosh audience these days is quite a mix. In Sheffield the front row is rammed with teenage indie girls, heavy on the eyeliner, who fancy Fielding. But there are children, too: my own sons can recite whole “crimps” (the Boosh’s silly, very English version of rap) word for word. And there are older, respectable types who, when I interview them, all apologise for having such boring jobs. They’re accountants, IT workers, human resources officers and civil servants. But probe deeper and you find ten years ago they excelled at art A level or played in a band, and now puzzle how their lives turned out so square. For them, the Boosh embody their former dreams. And their DIY comedy, shambolic air, the slightly crap costumes, the melding of fantasy with the everyday, feels like something they could still knock up at home.
Indeed, many fans come to gigs in costume. At the Mighty Boosh Festival 15,000 people came dressed up to watch bands and absurdity in a Kent field. And in Sheffield I meet a father-and-son combo dressed as Howard Moon and Bob Fossil – general manager of the zoo – plus a gang of thirty-something parents elaborately attired as Crack Fox, Spirit of Jazz, a granny called Nanageddon, and Amy Housemouse. “I love the Boosh because it’s total escapism,” says Laura Hargreaves, an employment manager dressed as an Electro Fairy. “It’s not all perfect and people these days worry too much that things aren’t perfect. It’s just pure fun.”
But how to retain that appealingly amateur art-school quality now that the Boosh is a mega comedy brand? Noel Fielding is adamant that they haven’t grown cynical, that The Mighty Book of Boosh was a long-term project, not a money-spinner chucked out for Christmas: “There is a lot of heart in what we do,” he says. Barratt adds: “It’s been hard this year to do everything we’ve wanted, to a standard we’re proud of... Which is why we’re worn to shreds.”
Comedy is most powerful in intimate spaces, but the Boosh show, with its huge set, requires major venues. “We’ve lost money every day on the tour,” says Fielding. “The crew and the props and what it costs to take them on the road – it’s ridiculous. Small gigs would lose millions of pounds.”
The live show is a kind of Mighty Boosh panto, with old favourites – Bob Fossil, Bollo, Tony Harrison, etc – coming on to cheers of recognition. But it lacks the escapism to the perfectly conceived world of the TV show. They have told the BBC they don’t want a fourth series: they want a movie. They would also, as with Little Britain USA, like a crack at the States, where they run on BBC America. Clearly the Boosh needs to keep evolving or it will die.
Already other artists are telling Fielding and Barratt to make their money now: “They say this is our time, which is quite frightening.” I recall Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, who dominated the Nineties with Big Night Out and Shooting Stars. “Yes, they were massive,” says Fielding. “A number one record...” And now Reeves presents Brainiac. “If you have longer-term goals, it’s not scary,” says Barratt. “To me, I’m heading somewhere else – to direct, make films, write stuff – and at the moment it’s all gone mental. I’m sort of enjoying this as an outsider. It was Noel who had this desire to reach more people.”
Indeed, the old cliché that comedy is the new rock’n’roll is closest to being realised in Noel Fielding. Watching him perform the thrash metal numbers in the Boosh live show, he is half ironic comic performer, half frustrated rock god. His heroes weren’t comics but androgynous musicians: Jagger, Bowie, Syd Barrett. (Although he liked Peter Cook’s style and looks.)
“I like clothes and make-up, I like the transformation,” he says. Does it puzzle him that women find this so sexually attractive? “I was reading a book the other day about the New York Dolls and David Johansen was saying that none of them were gay or even bisexual, and that when they started dressing in stilettos and leather pants, women got it straight away with no explanation. But a lot of men had problems. It’s one of those strange things. A man will go, ‘You f***ing queer.’ And you just think, ‘Well, your girlfriend fancies me.’”
The Boosh stopped signing autographs outside stage doors when it started taking two hours a night. At recent book signings up to 1,500 people have shown up, some sleeping overnight in the queue. And on this tour, the Boosh took control of the after-show parties, once run as money-spinners by the promoters, and now show up in person to do DJ slots. I ask if they like to meet their fans, and they laugh nervously.
Fielding: “We have to be behind a fence.”
Barratt: “They try to rip your clothes off your body.”
Fielding: “The other day my girlfriend gave me this ring. And, doing the rock numbers at the end, I held out my hands and the crowd just ripped it off.”
Barratt: “I see it as a thing which is going to go away. A moment when people are really excited about you. And it can’t last.”
He recalls a man in York grabbing him for a photo, saying, “I’d love to be you, it must be so amazing.” And Barratt says he thought, “Yes, it is. But all the while I was trying to duck into this doorway to avoid the next person.” He’s trying to enjoy the Boosh’s moment, knows it will pass, but all the same?
In the hotel bar, a young woman fan has dodged past Danny and comes brazenly over to Fielding. Head cocked attentively like a glossy bird, he chats, signs various items, submits to photos, speaks to her mate on her phone. The rest of the Boosh crew eye her steelily. They know how it will end. “You have five minutes then you go,” hisses one. “I feel really stupid now,” says the girl. It is hard not to squirm at the awful obeisance of fandom. But still she milks the encounter, demands Fielding come outside to meet her friend. When he demurs she is outraged, and Danny intercedes. Fielding returns to his seat slightly unsettled. “What more does she want?” he mutters, reaching for his wine glass. “A skin sample?”
hello all!! i’m new here, and i’m obsessed with british comedy. if you love any of the following things, considering following me so we can discuss x
shows (main ones are italicised)
the mighty boosh
noel fielding’s luxury comedy
the it crowd
would i lie to you?
big fat quiz
never mind the buzzcocks
the last leg
no more jockeys
comedians (main ones are italicised)
alex horne (+ the horne section)
victoria coren mitchell
It's All About The *Chemistry*
"I think almost all of our chemistry as a duo is down to being close friends. After all, we spend every fucking day together. We play tennis and hang out. If you took away the affection, you'd remove a big part of the dynamic."
- Julian, The Guardian, 2000
"But we’re not like anyone else. We have a very strong chemistry and that’s what it’s all about really. We go together."
- Noel, Esquire, 2001
“That first time we worked together in Edinburgh, it was almost immediately apparent that we had a special chemistry,” says Barratt. "We weren’t sure that it would because we both did sort of weird stand-up and thought that we might cancel each other out. But our particular types of weirdness fitted together quite easily and from the very first gig the on-stage thing between us was easy. Gradually, as the years have gone by, we’ve come to realize just how rare that is.”
- Julian, The Scotsman, 2006
“It is quite a weird relationship, actually, because it’s a slightly, um- there’s a tension and a sort of chemistry between us."
- Noel, Chatty Man, 2009
"When I met Julian it felt a bit like meeting a soul mate. My friends had told me I’d love him. They said he was a bit crazy and jazzy and he had no jokes. I thought he was amazing. I went up to him and said: “I’m just like you!” I think he thought I was some weird kid but a couple of years later, of course, we were working together. Somehow our chemistry was there from the beginning."
- Noel, The Big Issue in the North, 2012
"Me and Julian were doing stuff separately and then we decided to do a show together and it was one of those freaky weird coincidences or just something about it. We had chemistry straight away — We just like clicked and we just had such good chemistry as a double act. It was quite apparent to everyone else that we should be working together. So it was quite special, [....] I think we didn’t realize how special that was till we tried it toward other people. We sort of went oh right, this is sort of once in a lifetime deal. It’s a bit like falling in love, you know?"
- Noel, to 702 ABC Sydney, 2012
"The combination of us two was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. You meet someone and you just work, you have chemistry on stage, and writing. That will never happen again for me, I don’t think. Which is a real shame. I work with a lot of good people in a good way, like Russell and Richard Ayoade, but I don’t think I’ll ever have that again."
- Noel, Independent, 2015
“Noel and Julian together, when they’re really on it…there’s been nothing since then that has even come close to touching that chemistry. I know I’m biased, but I love them to death. I find them so fucking funny. It still holds up.”
- Dave Brown, Velvet Onion, 2016
"We liked it, we liked being on stage together and we had good chemistry, very immediately."
- Julian, KirstenElderVideo, 2018
"When me and Julian did our first ever gig together we had recorded it, or someone had. We watched it years later thinking it'd be awful, but it was fine! It was good as anything we were doing 15 years later. Weirdly, our chemistry and dynamic just worked immediately on the first gig."
- Noel, Slapstickfest, 2021
The Guardian, 14 Sep 2013
After a four-year hiatus, comedy's oddest couple the Mighty Boosh are back – as the stars of an exhibition of photographs taken by their friend and collaborator Dave Brown (aka Bollo the gorilla). The team pick out their favourite pictures and reveal the stories behind them.
Noel Fielding: “This is from the yeti episode in the second series. We were poking our heads through holes in the wall and kneeling on crates to get up high enough. Julian pointed out that if the crates gave way we would probably break our necks, so we all look slightly worried. This would make a great album cover for a three-piece. The only problem with Dave [Brown] being the Boosh photographer is that there weren’t many shots of Bollo. Quite often, Dave would be dressed as Bollo while taking photos - always made me laugh having a gorilla taking photos. Looking back now, I realize it was perfect.”
The Juicy Danglers
Noel Fielding: “This photo really captures the essence of [Fielding and Barratt’s alter egos] Howard and Vince. Howard is just hanging there, dejected, in his jumbo cords, and Vince is absolutely loving it, like some kind of human butterfly. It was the scene in the third series where we kiss on the roof and fall off on to the bouncy castle. It was such a bonus to have a great photographer who was in the show. Usually, photographers come down to the set once or twice and they don’t always know the show, but Dave was a part of it from the beginning.”
Noel Fielding: “I love colour, but black-and-white photos often have a classic feel to them. My brother Mike [aka Naboo] looks like Freddie Mercury. I love the way the type in the background is perfectly spaced just above my hat with the word ‘wonderland’. Dave has such a graphic eye so he loves using typography in his shots. The mad hatter looks like Julian, which I love. I feel a little sad when I see the date and realize this was five years ago. Blackpool was a freaky place out of season. I remember the crowd being crazy at the gig and Julian saying, ‘Good night, Liverpool’ at the end of the show.”
Noel Fielding: “There he is, Tony Harrison in the window. I love the colours in this shot and the joy captured in Tony’s face. I think I had popped down to the office to surprise [comedy producer Baby Cow’s head of talent] Lindsay Hughes, ‘cause Tony was her favourite character. And Dave just happened to be in the office at the same time. So I was probably trying to make Lindsay and [Baby Cow producer/director] Dave Lambert and Henry Normal laugh. It has a bit of a puppet show/Punch and Judy feel about it, I think.”
Noel Fielding: “I love this photo. Dave quite often uses mirrors in his shots. The composition is stunning. This is backstage somewhere at a gig. No matter how posh the venue is, the dressing rooms are always awful. So on a 100-date tour you tend to forget where you are and things can get a bit gloomy, which is why you need a Rich Fulcher bursting in and out of rooms like an insane energy bomb. I have no idea what I am doing here – my best Keef Richard impression by the looks of it. I love that there is a small painting of Julian in the corner on its side observing the scene like a grand monk.”
Noel Fielding: "I really like this shot of Julian, and Mike looks pretty sexy with his Lolita lollipop. Not sure what I’m doing – I look like I’m glued to the back wall. I was going through my 'trying to look like Joan Jett' phase. Dave takes great portraits, especially in black and white. I don’t know how but he’s managed to make us look pretty cool here. I think we used a shot from this session for our first tour poster, which I always loved. Dave has provided us with so many great images and designs over the years; it was so great to have his eyes on hand. Have you noticed that a lot of photographers have very beautiful eyes?”
Where am I?
Julian Barratt: "Dave Brown is a lens with legs. Ever since I have known him, he has had a camera strapped to his face. Which is a shame because it hides his deeply erotic blue eyes. They can unnerve a man at 40 yards and have literally rendered women unconscious. Those crystal peepers are tireless in their quest for the magic subject and luckily that magic is never far away with a nose like mine. A photographer's dream. The shot where I'm looking at the sign that reads: 'It's Friday and you are in Blackpool' was taken while on tour with the Boosh. The note had been put on the mirror by the incomparable Sean Richards, our brilliantly dead pan tour manager, to remind me where I was. Why?"
Dave Brown: "I always love catching those moments when cast members playing very visual characters are off set relaxing or going about their business, almost unaware of how insane they look. I have many a shot like this. A bright pink, bald, part Noel, part Tony Harrison in the lunch queue asking a very po-faced caterer for lasagna, or the Spirit of Jazz taking an important phone call from Noel's mum. This shot of Julian as one of the more terrifying of his and Noel's creations, the Crack Fox, was after a particularly long day shooting, and like many of the costumes we've all worn over the years this was suitably uncomfortable and painful. The clothes, wigs, makeup, prosthetics, contact lenses under hot lights for many an hour all to create comedy, oh the irony. Julian's face sums it all up here: [in Crack Fox voice] 'Get that picture box out of my freakin' face before I put you in a little dress and hurt you bad.'"
Satsumas at Dawn
Dave Brown: "This sequence of shots was taken during filming of the third series episode 'The Power of the Crimp' in 2007. A throwaway line in the show turns into a reality during the episode end credits. One of my favourite episodes, starring the hilarious Tom Meeten and Simon Farnaby. This episode addresses a very important modern day issue, the harsh and painful reality of identity theft! And how better to deal with this issue than to film two nincompoops running around in their vests and pants throwing satsumas at each other? Like many of my favourite shots from the show I can remember creasing up with laughter behind the camera as I clicked away. A big fake snow machine pumping out slippery flakes in a freezing cold studio while Noel and Julian, wearing next to nothing, run around in very inappropriate footwear trying not to slip up or slip out! Thankfully they achieved this and the only satsumas on show are orange and fruity."
Dave Brown: "This shot was taken at 3 Mill Studios during rehearsals for The Boosh Festival in 2008. For me it sums up the love and care we all (especially Noel) have for these strange beasts. Charlie was a character who first appeared in Series 1 back in 2004. He's a character from a children's book written by Vince and is made entirely of bubblegum – he's a hubba-bubba nightmare! I love how carefully and lovingly Noel is unwrapping him, quite appropriately, from a load of bubblewrap, after four years in the deep isolation of prop storage! Judging by the look on Charlie's face, it didn't agree with him."
** I know they're old and float around a lot, but all of these photos belong to Dave Brown. Please do not repost them elsewhere without crediting him. **
which channel 4 exec do i have to kidnap to get julian baratt on taskmaster