“It‘s impossible to be unhappy in a poncho. I was thinking of getting a sombrero. Imagine, a sombrero/poncho combo; I‘d be off my tits on happiness!”
You know that swell, happy “I’m cooler than you” feeling you get when you introduce your friends to a great book or show or movie? Your pals all go wild over it and cry out, “Three cheers for our most hip amigo! How could we ever live without such sage entertainment guidance?”
It’s a great feeling. But sometimes you just miss. You think, “Oh man, everyone is going to go utterly banana salad over this show!” But then you introduce them to the amazing cleverness and they just don’t dig it. They give you a look that says “Is this what’s popular in your wing of the Steve Urkel Memorial Hospital for Terminally Dim?”
So you go and you watch on your own, and you laugh on your own, and you go home and you cry and you want to die.
That’s life, innit? Aft our best-laid mouse-schemings gang all kinds of agley. And this is the experience I’ve had with trying to share the wonder of mirrorball-like brilliance that is the three seasons of The Mighty Boosh. None of my friends enjoy it at all, and it wounds me, like dental equipment poking my soul.
“Goth Juice… The most powerful hairspray known to man. Made from the tears of Robert Smith.”
How to describe The Mighty Boosh? Most critics I’ve read use a Mad Libs approach. “It’s like (popculture reference from the 70s) crossed with (clever person) on (drug) created (a comedy) in the belly of a (clawed animal or surrealist).” Hmm. If H. R. Pufnstuf and David Bowie on PCP wrote Red Dwarf while trapped in the colon of Man Ray?
Personally, I think The Mighty Boosh is a poem made of crocodile hair, recited by a milky bullet, soon to pierce the femur of an apricot, twice. Which is perhaps why the Boosh has yet to gain popularity in the US. (That, and it’s not available on Region 1 DVD. Though you can find it easily enough in the dimly lit back alleys of the internet.)
“I don’t know if you‘ve ever seen a grown man ride a porpoise, but it‘s quite an exciting sight for a young lady to see.”
Trying more seriously to describe it now ok, the show is written by and starring the stand-up comedians Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt. They play zookeepers, Vince Noir and Howard Moon, who later become musicians and later still, open a shop. One is glamorous and jovial, the other is self-important, fond of jazz and easily irritated. It’s an Abbot and Costello dynamic, basically, goof and straight man, only with ponchos and kangaroo boxing. Occasionally, the pair breaks out in song. The zoo has few animals, but it does have a shaman. Bob Fossil, who runs the zoo, doesn’t quite know what a snake is. The former director of the zoo has a head made of cheese. In season two it gets a little stranger.
But there’s more to the show than hermaphrodite sea monsters or guest appearances by Gary Numan. In addition to the copious surrealism, it’s also got the sort of damned clever dialogue we love all to see in the more peculiar BBC comedies. Lines destined to end up on t-shirts at conventions. And I know, oh yes I know, that the day will come when my friends, those same friends who reviled me and cast me aside, shall succumb to the creamy power of The Mighty Boosh!
And on that day, I shall stand proud and say, “See, you dorks? I told you it was funny!”