Things That Are Nice: Day 2



Answer to obvious question: Yes. As hatters. The pretty, mildly pigeon-toed one in the KISS jacket and the one in the gorilla suit matriculated at an actual formal art school, entirely on purpose, which is a universally recognized sign of insanity.

The pretty, mildly pigeon-toed one in the KISS jacket is Noel Fielding, and his tall tweedy partner in crime is Julian Barratt, here playing their most famous characters, Vince Noir and Howard Moon. The comedy team as a whole is known at The Mighty Boosh, apparently after a very impressive haircut that Mike -- Noel's brother, the short one in the elaborate turban -- once had, because they thought "Barratt & Fielding" sounded 'like solicitors'.

I'm uncertain how best to explain them, their work, or in fact their careers, other than to point out that this is the touring stage version of a show they produced for the BBC, which was essentially a live-action cartoon sitcom. You can see season one here. They also did a radio show, which is even sillier. Their show aired at like two in the morning, with a budget of almost zero, featuring a group of extras entirely composed of their friends and family, and in later series, the occasional fan. This includes Razorlight, Robots In Disguise (one of whom was Fielding's girlfriend at the time), Roger Daltrey, Gary Numan, and Richard Ayoade (known for the UK version of The IT Crowd, and other things). They tangle with an awful lot of bands, mainly because the two of them have extraordinary amounts of musical talent, even if they do use it for being ridiculous.

The Mighty Boosh does the nicest comedy I've ever seen. It's not G-rated by any means, and full of various naughty ideas and swear words; it's just very, very nice. It is the only sitcom I have ever seen where nobody ever has to learn an important lesson about friendship. The characters are utter idiots in pretty much every other respect, but they're great at being real, actual, believable friends.

This is in large part because Barratt and Fielding are friends. And by 'friends', I mean 'permanently attached to one another'. Often physically. Fielding considers personal space to be the space he personally wants other people in. He is notorious for cuddling right up to anyone he likes, and he likes Barratt a lot. Barratt is actually extremely quiet and self-contained on his own, but Fielding is sufficiently important to him that his friend is not just allowed, but encouraged, to hang all over him like a fashionable scarf. It's striking and constant. The original Mighty Boosh pilot is included as an extra on the season 1 DVD, and one of the main differences between it and the aired series is that originally the character of Vince was meant to be more of a childlike follower, and Howard came off as more of an older leader. They couldn't maintain the distance. Every time Howard tried to put a avuncular hand on Vince's shoulder, Fielding forgot his blocking and stepped right into Barratt. At one point they exeunt a scene hand in hand, which they have been doing for so long it is apparently reflex.

Their brains seem to be similarly nailed together. Both of them are phenomenal voice artists, with Fielding in particular a crazy master of accents. There are several character voices that they both do, interchangeably, and sound so alike I can't always tell them apart. The silly duet songs you see are obviously rehearsed, but apparently that became a thing because it's nearly that easy for them to sync up when just messing around.

This is the kind of thing I watch when I hate reality. Works about equally well whether you're sober or swimming in NyQuil.

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