Summary: There is something mysterious in the water at Darkplace yet nobody has realised it yet. Despite the fact that Sanchez transformed into a horrific ape-man within seconds of having a sip of his drink. Despite the second fact that eventually everyone in the hospital is infected except the only two who prefer to drink coffee: Rick Dagless and Thornton Reed. Finally Dagless discovers what is causing people to change and pays a visit to the water store room, and is surprised by what he finds there…
What Else? In this episode we get insight into Dagless’ presence in the hospital, and let’s just say, you can definitely tell that Garth Marenghi wrote the episodes because everyone on the ward seems to think Dagless is the best doctor that ever walked the Earth. The fact that nobody could work out what was causing the ape transformations highlights the stupidity of the characters at Darkplace, and makes the experience all the more hilarious for the audience. The secret also comes out that since filming Darkplace, Madeleine Wool, who plays Liz Asher, has disappeared and is presumed dead.
Quote of the Episode:
Lucien Sanchez: “Not my fault, monkey bastard hands.”
Familiar Faces: Julian Barratt returns as the (slightly evil) priest and we see Noel Fielding as a criminal ape.
A few months ago, Rachel Van Zyl and Alecia Steele from Noel’s Fieldmicesent me a copy of the Gus The Fox Scrap Book, the debut book from the Twitter sensation (you guessed it) Gus The Fox.
The foul-mouthed pest gained a lot of his following from his beautiful Twitter-relationship with Noel Fielding who regularly retweets his material. This is how I found the hilarious character. To show his appreciation of Gus’ work, Noel wrote the foreword to the book which is as insane as could be expected from the comedian. A couple of Gus’ tweets are posted below, and I intentionally picked ones with no swearing, though I actually find these funnier anyway. I’d encourage you to follow him if you want to have your feed broken up by a little bit of madness every now and then.
Gus’ book is refreshingly horrible, with frequent celebrity references and surreal anecdotes. The layout is original, well thought out and varied which makes it easy reading and a piece of art in itself, despite the horrific subject matter. In fact, in places, the content actually made me feel quite sad: amongst the laughs, this book is actually very depressing; Gus The Fox doesn’t have the best life.
This book clearly took a great deal of work from writer Matt Haydock and artist Nick Reyniers, and I fully recommend you purchase the book for yourselves. Again, thanks to the girls at Noel’s Fieldmicefor sending me my own copy!
Yesterday, on the 24th of July, 4OD previewed the first episode of Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy: Tales of Painted Hawaii, which was, of course, greeted with open arms by the Fielding community. Noel has previously said that this series took a lot longer to write than the first, and that audiences should be prepared for a very different show format. This is down to the fact that the making of series one of Luxury Comedy was a chance for Fielding and the other creative minds behind the show to throw lots of ideas into the mix, as well as there being an obvious need to establish a few core characters and concepts, and as a result, the show’s debut was a colourful combination of the insane and the psychedelic.
Although this first series was adored by fans all over the world, it also received a fair amount of criticism from people who thought it was a step too far and many suggested it was self-indulgent. I can’t say I disagree with the latter, but I wouldn’t say it was a bad thing: it is important that creators of content are in love with what they are producing, and I think Fielding’s passion for both art and comedy shone through. From what has been shown of series two, however, Luxury Comedy has evolved into a wonderful sitcom, rather than the fast-paced sketch show it was previously. By approaching the format in this way, Noel and Nigel Coan (who co-wrote the show) have been able to add a great deal of depth to all the characters, which is evident from the first episode alone.
There is a fresh new energy within the cast, that is made up of Noel Fielding, Mike Fielding, Tom Meeten and Dolly Wells, but still has the same feelings of warmth and familiarity of previous episodes. Actually, there are many subtle changes as well, such as the way Noel is much more self-depreciating and, therefore, more ‘human’. That is a definite theme I picked up on: the show has suddenly become a lot more human. This is made clear in the dialogue where characters often refer to the audience, or the fact that the show didn’t have many viewers (though it did, of course).
With the immense talent that is Serge Pizzorno (Kasabian) working with Noel to create the show’s music and the famously gifted Dave Brown putting together the unique and recognisable animation, the programme is absolutely seamless. Subsequently, right at the start of this first episode, with the title sequence that features efforts from both sides, there really is a lot to sing and dance about.
I cannot wait to see the rest of the new series of Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy and will probably write up a full post about it when it finishes as I just can’t help myself; Noel is my idol.
Summary: This episode has elements of the Boosh stage show from many years before the television series was made, with the iconic scene where Howard and the Hitcher are in the car being recreated. Ivan the bear has got too violent as a result of constant bullying from Fossil and it’s time for him to be sent to Animal Prison. Vince and Howard are sent on a road trip to get rid of the angry bear but they are soon arguing and Vince decides to “vacate the vehicle”. This leads to Vince having a wonderful time meeting the adoptive parent from his childhood, Brian Ferry, in the forest while Howard is in a spot of trouble with a strange hitch hiker with a large thumb.
What Else? We get a big insight into Vince’s Gary Numan obsession and yet further insight into Howard’s love of Jazz Funk, which Ivan the bear hates, that sounds very similar to Old Gregg’s song from series two. There is another animation sequence where Vince explains his childhood that was spent in the forest being raised by Brian Ferry. The storyline of this animation is very much like a warped and twisted Jungle Book. Vince’s excellent turtle impression comes in handy when passing the hours on the road with Howard and the brilliant song from the Hitcher and the Piper Twins is sung, before the hitch hiker manages to do his back in again.
Quote of the Episode:
Bob Fossil [to Naboo]: “Technically, you’re not a Peeping Tom if it’s one of your relatives.”
Familiar Faces: Noel Fielding as the Hitcher and Rich Fulcher and Dave Brown as Jim and Jackie Piper, the Piper Twins. Julian Barratt has the role of Brian Ferry.
So, we have reached the end of The Mighty Boosh series one and I have thoroughly enjoyed revisiting every episode with you. MoodyComedy will soon be revisiting one of the most criminally underrated British comedies ever: Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. The first, and only series, of the programme aired January-March 2004.
A couple of weeks ago, the channel Dave broadcast five episodes of a wonderful new comedy chat show: As Yet Untitled. It was hosted by Alan Davies, ran over the course of one working week and featured four different comedians each episode. It has been said that this show was an attempt at recreating the feel of a comedy green room, with a relaxed atmosphere and a minimal agenda. Of course, I cannot truly know if it drew an accurate comparison as I haven’t been in such a situation myself, but I can say that a comfortable conversational feel was definitely present and I found the series incredibly enjoyable.
For a start, the physical set up was uniquely casual, with the four guests and Alan Davies (the host) sat around a circular table and the audience sat around them. The way the audience was situated had almost a Top Gear feel as you could always see them in shot, but they weren’t often involved in the proceedings. Each comic provided a strange fact about themselves to begin with which allowed the discussion to have some kind of initial direction but other than that, the show had a clean slate with the objective of deciding on a title for the episode at the end.
There was a danger with this loose format that conversation might not necessarily be free-flowing but this was expertly avoided by Davies who did an excellent job at steering clear of awkward pauses in discussion. In fact, the overall feel of the programme was very natural and chilled out which I thought was really nice. There was no pushing to have anyone’s voice heard over another person’s and everyone seemed very supportive of each other which is refreshing in comparison to the vibes you get from shows with more competitive, maybe harsher formats. An important impression I got from watchingAs Yet Untitled was that the attention was very much focussed on the stories and the people in the stories, and not so much on the comedians telling them. This meant that nobody appeared to be pushing particularly hard to be the funny one and in this way, I think the show definitely achieved its objective of seeming like a green room.
There were many funny anecdotes shared throughout the five episodes, including Bob Mortimer’s explanation of his and Vic Reeves’ comedy style, where in the early days, if the audience weren’t laughing, the double act would throw their shoes at them. We also heard the wonderful Katherine Ryan’s tale of the creepy inflatophiliac and Noel Fielding’s reason for disappearing from his own stand up tour (he ended up spending the day working in a vintage second-hand shop in Brighton, I mean, where else?). Bill Bailey’s account of his New Zealand airport kazoo confiscation was whimsical, as can be expected from Bailey and Phill Jupitus’ numerous celebrity impressions were spot on. Ross Noble’s tales about his accident-prone kids and Josie Long’s flawless diet plan were highlights of the final episode.
It was easy for the television audience to get carried away amongst all these hilarious anecdotes, which proves what an authentic mood there was, and every now and then I would remember how different the show actually is and feel really impressed at the smoothness of it all. At any point where a normal chat show may have become awkward, such as when they transition between topics or invite a special guest on, the conversation just continued on in the same fashion which shows integrity. The only flaw I could find, or perhaps the only stunted part of each episode, was trying to round it all off at the end. Of course, these would have been heavily edited to fit the time frame but the scramble to find a title could be done with more finesse in the future.
I adored this new show and the many guests on it; my favourites including Noel Fielding, Bob Mortimer, Katherine Ryan, Josie Long, Jason Byrne, Ross Noble, Bill Bailey and Marcus Brigstocke. I will be pretty annoyed if there aren’t more episodes made soon!
Summary: Bad memories are stirred up for Howard when Vince is asked to join a band called Kraftwork Orange. Vince upsets one of the members of his new band, Johnny Two-Hats, who storms off when Vince criticises his fashion sense and this means the band are one person down for their important show that night. Vince asks the only person he can, Howard, but jazz-loving Howard Moon cannot play any instrument any more as a result of a meeting with the Spirit of Jazz many years ago. He was tricked into signing his soul away ‘in blood?’ no, ‘biro’s fine’. The concert has to go ahead with the Spirit of Jazz on the loose inside a vacuum cleaner and this causes chaos.
What Else? The conversation between a young Howard Moon and the Spirit of Jazz is obviously an iconic part of this episode, with the brilliant snippet of: “Yorkshire? What is Yorkshire?” “Yorkshire is a place. Yorkshire is a state of mind”. We get to see the Spirit of Jazz’s hat go up in flames, because apparently it wasn’t part of his “look”, but also a mini crisis when Vince gets angry about the Zoo and there is a lot of out-of-place bleeped out swearing as well as: “Vince, I thought you said you wanted to help the animals?” “I do, I want to help them all to die”.
Quote of the Episode:
Vince [to Howard]: “Science teachers and the mentally ill, that’s what Jazz is for.”
Familiar Faces: Sue Denim and Dee Plume (Robots in Disguise) play the parts of the girls in the band Kraftwork Orange. Fielding has the role of the Spirit of Jazz and Simon Farnaby pops up as NOT the manager of PieFace Records. Johnny Two-Hats is played by Dan Clark.
Summary: Howard decides he is going to become a writer in order to impress Mrs Gideon and the famous Hamilton Cork but is horrified to learn that Vince is already doing just that. Vince explains the basis of his Charlie books which receives dismissal from Howard: “That’s not a novel, that’s the scribblings of a retard”. Meanwhile, Bob Fossil has noticed a brilliant new way to make money from the Zoo: he is going to breed the ‘black-eyed Chinese people that eat sticks’ as this will attract visitors. Vince is bullied into dressing up as a panda and flirting with the female panda to get the male jealous. That evening, Dixon Bainbridge organises a writer’s party and Vince is invited but not Howard. Chaos quickly arises as Charlie decides to pay a personal visit to the gathering…
What Else? This episode made me learn that I want to be everything that Vince is; he’s the happiest kid at the Zoo. Naboo introduces the photograph of the kitten, Phillip, who helps calm Howard down in times of frustration and Vince shows off his poncho that makes him happy no matter what. The infamous “you know the black bits in bananas, are they tarantulas’ eggs?” scene is in this episode as well as the ‘Swear on Jagger’ joke. The brilliant Charlie song is played towards the end where the giant Hubba Bubba nightmare causes a scene. This episode is artistically very inspiring with heavy use of animation and great attention to detail (Dave Brown can be thanked for a lot of that, I expect).
Quote of the Episode:
Howard [to Vince]: “You’re always happy aren’t you. Everything’s fun. You see a peanut, the day’s off to a good start. You witness some soil, it’s a jamboree for Vince Noir. I need something more.”
Familiar Faces: Simon Farnaby as Simon McFarnaby (before the show) and Hamilton Cork (McFarnaby’s character in the show).
Summary: Ten years ago (well, technically twenty now) Tommy Nookah, previous owner of the Zoo, allegedly fell in the ocelot pit and died. Howard refuses to believe it and when Dixon Bainbridge, as the current owner, threatens to close the Zoo, it is clear that Howard must solve the mystery of Tommy’s disappearance once and for all. Vince and Howard work out that Tommy must be in the Jungle Room and set off in the hope of finding the calcium-faced midget. After hours of searching, Howard manages to find Tommy but he is old and his cheese eating habits are out of control (this bit always freaks me out as I have a stupid phobia of cheese). It is decided that they must grate Tommy’s head in order to save the Zoo: Tommy can help them, even in death.
What Else? This episode contains the brilliant: “We dream, but do we really dream?” sequence and also a mini instalment of: “Gather round, come closer, not you Fire!”. The Mod Wolves make a splendid appearance and delight us with the wonderful Mod Wolf Dance and we also hear one of my favourite crimps: Calm a Llama Down. The incredibly well-known Cheese song is in this episode. I love this little song but it gets so overplayed by people who haven’t ever seen the show so that irks me somewhat, so it’s nice to hear it in its natural habitat. We get to meet Rudy, the man who goes by many names and holds many tests, such as the Pipe Test (“many men would have taken the pipe…”).
Summary: This episode has elements from the Boosh’s beginnings as it used many ideas from the television pilot and one of the radio episodes. Dixon Bainbridge has just returned from his trip to the Tundra where he failed to successfully steal the Egg of Mantumbi and Howard is annoyed at the attention Bainbridge is getting because he didn’t actually do anything. Despite the fact that the last person to get near the egg was frozen by the ‘icy bastard’ that is The Black Frost, Howard and Vince decide to make an attempt and head out to the Tundra in Gary Numan’s private jet. While they are there, Vince is abducted by a giant polar bear and Howard is visited by one of the Parka People who takes him to the cave where the egg is (though the little man is taking him there to kill him, not help him).
What Else? This episode features the often forgotten song: the Stickleback Crimp, and also has the brilliant little scene where Bob Fossil is interviewing two cavemen-like people to be Howard and Vince’s replacements: they just point at things saying ‘Topshop’ constantly. The brilliant Tundra song comes from this episode as well; one of the few genuine songs from The Mighty Boosh that is more than a few lines long. Vince claims he is ‘like Mowgli, the retro version’ and Howard’s moustache is accused of being more of a ‘cappuccino stain’.
Quote of the Episode:
Howard: The wind is my only friend.
Wind: I haaaaaate you.
Howard: Shut up wind!
Familiar Faces: Dave Brown as The Black Frost and Bob Fossil’s replacements for Howard and Vince were played by Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding themselves.
Summary: This episode is an exploration of death: Bollo is getting old and it is clear that he is dying (not that anybody seems too bothered, as always). While Vince is busy caring for Bollo in his last hours, Bob Fossil alerts Howard to yet another problem: the woman who sponsors Bollo is coming to visit and Fossil cannot let her see that the gorilla is ill. Howard is forced into dressing up as a gorilla and sitting in Bollo’s enclosure for the day and this results in The Grim Reaper getting confused and taking the wrong person off to ‘Monkey Hell’. Vince must rescue Howard from the Ape of Death before he is dropped into the fiery pits…
What Else? This episode has a beautiful moment near the beginning where both Noel and Howard are trying not to laugh for whatever reason. It also has the brilliant ‘floating cup’ scene as well as the appearance of Mr Susan and his mirror balls (look at them shine). Whilst Bollo is on his deathbed, the lovely little jingle of ‘the sun is shining, and you’re feeling fine, and the birds are singing in the trees’ is sung as well as the brilliant song from the Ape of Death towards the end.
Quote of the Episode:
Phone Caller: How’s your Pauline?
The Grim Reaper [on the phone]: She’s alright, she’s dead. How’s your Pauline?
Phone Caller: She’s dead.
Familiar Faces: Rich Fulcher as the Ape of Death, Julian Barratt as Mr Susan (look at them shine).