I am surprised and somewhat bemused to discover that I am in fact wrong about having to be completely hosed before Luxury Comedy is hilarious. It's total gibberish unless your brain's working. Mog and I ran the first episode while we were lolling around legless and then I said 'sod it, back to Live At Brixton', which I happen to think is shiny meta comedy gold in any state of mind.

I attempted the thing again sober, and it works much, much better. It's not actually completely incoherent, although it's damned close if you can't recall the extremely loose excuse for a plot across the thoroughly random interstitial segments. It's very Python-esque, in that something from the beginning usually comes back to bite you by the end. And it reminds me oddly of things like a show I used to watch as a very very small child, Zoobilee Zoo, which had the same strange air of live-action cartoon-ish-ness. It's like some kind of sweet little musical play, except instead of being for children, it's for adults who want to vividly remember past acid trips without going to all the trouble of acquiring more LSD.

Come to that, everything Fielding does has that air. Almost everything -- Never Mind The Buzzcocks has too much structure for him to completely subvert, although he has a good go whenever Paul Foot or Paloma Faith is on his time.

Luxury Comedy is extremely surreal. Highly colorful, and they burst into song at irregular intervals, basically because Noel. It helps if you know something about art; there are a few things that might qualify as gags and a lot of visual references, like Ayoade's man-on-the-street character dressed as Magritte's Son of Man, and Fantasy Man's getup echoing the traditional look of Don Quixote and the background referencing TRON. (Also, I'm pretty sure that's the skullcap from the first appearance of the mirrorball suit he adores so much. As with the Boosh stuff, I've seen an awful lot of the mad wardrobe before; it's either from, or later became, part of Fielding's personal stash.) The makeup is outlandish -- although Fielding has such distinctive eyes that he's pretty identifiable, eventually, no matter what mad effects he's applied to himself.

And Fielding is a Mother. Fucking. Phenomenal. voice artist. I'm not sure he's quite aware of this -- he seems to just consider them random voices that go with equally random characters, sort of an ancillary detail. They're really not. Most British actors who attempt American accents sound vaguely as though they're aiming for either Texas or Brooklyn and missing, rather like Americans think that the only two English accents are Cockney and BBC Received. Among other things, Fielding has managed to figure out the difference between Southern and Cajun, which is something actual Americans fuck up on a lot. Even more impressive, he can sing convincingly in a lot of these. About half the time, the only reason I'm sure it's him doing the voiceover and not one of the other cast members is a faint θ-fronting that probably only someone who pays way too much attention to these things would catch.

Fielding is, as always, nice. Not G-rated -- just very, very nice. He doesn't think mean is funny. He does, however, periodically take the piss out of pretentious people who think that all Art has to be Terribly Meaningful to be worth doing.

Comments

  1. Luxury Comedy has become my favorite thing ever. It took a couple tries to get into it, particularly because I've been watching a lot of mindless stuff recently and, as you point out, Luxury isn't exactly designed to be watched mindlessly. But once I turned my brain on properly and started paying attention it started actually making sense. Plus it lends itself really well to rewatches, which I definitely appreciate. As someone who suffers from incredibly bad secondhand embarrassment, to the point of having difficulty engaging with pretty much *any* media sometimes, Fielding's niceness is an incredible relief. (Also I love pretty much anything that plays with the fourth wall, and they more or less smash it to bits, which is great.)

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