Never Mind The Boosh

20 August 2012 | 2:15 am | Anthony Carew

“But, weirdly enough, people kept sending me pictures and letters saying: ‘My cat is obsessed with your show! It’s never shown any interest in television before, but when your show comes on it stands in front of the telly for the whole show, then leaves when it’s over.’ I literally got 25 photographs of people’s cats looking at my show.”

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Warning: if you watch Noel Fielding's post-Mighty Boosh TV show, Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy, you will get its groovy, minimalist, hypnotic theme-tune stuck in your head. Perhaps forever. “It is a bit of an earworm, isn't it?” laughs Fielding, the 39-year-old comedian who is, it must be said, pretty much always laughing. “I've had so many people say that to me: 'I can't get that fucking tune out of my head!' I'm not sure that's the best way to win people over, by making them angry due to the catchiness of your theme tune. But it's like a permanent advert, this insistent jingle that's always there: when you're walking around going 'luxury comedy/ooooh, yeah' all day, people are permanently reminded that I exist, that I'm there, on their tellys.”

Luxury Comedy finds Fielding and friends —brother Michael, director/animator Nigel Coan, Kasabian's Sergio Pizzorno (with whom Fielding plays as Loose Tapestries, and will soon release an album of music from the show)— furthering the dress-ups surrealism of The Mighty Boosh into even kookier realms, with little in the way of narrative coherence at all. Its star describing it as a “pretty home-made... inelegant half-sketch-show/half-sitcom mish-mash.”

“I wanted to make this surreal television show, something a bit Spike Milligainy, like Q, or like Vic & Bob. I thought, after the Boosh, I just wanted to make a show for myself; like a bit of a Trout Mask Replica, Captain Beefheart kind of a show. Just: this one's for me!” Fielding enthuses. “I'm interested in imagination, fantasyworlds, magic realism, surrealism. I love stuff like that. I don't like fantasy in terms of Lord Of The Rings, I'm not really interested in science-fiction either. I'm more into Jorge Luis Borges and Lewis Carroll, people who create these unreal worlds. It was a bit like owning my subconsciousness: giving it a place to let all the trippy, weird stuff come out. It's pretty amazing Channel 4 just let me do whatever I want, in this day-and-age. In an era of reality TV, here I am, the berk making unreality TV!”

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After Fielding and Boosh co-creator Julian Barratt went on hiatus in 2010 (“I'm sure we'll get back together and do something; I think we should do a Boosh film,” Fielding says, allaying fears of their permanent demise), he found his head “loaded with stuff [he] needed to get out”; ridiculous characters that would've once had a happy home on The Mighty Boosh now needing an outlet. Fielding and Barratt had made The Mighty Boosh thinking no one would actually watch it; “forget wanting to attract a large audience, we never even bothered trying to attract one at all,” Fielding recounts. Yet, subsequent live tours brought them face-to-face with a cult-following attending in full costume. ”Looking out from stage would be quietly terrifying: there'd be five Hitchers, six Rudi van DiSarzios, and a really amazing Crack Fox in the front row,” Fieldings laughs. Thus, his latest lark had a tough act to follow. “It was a bit of a no-win situation for me,” Fielding says. “Because the Boosh had become so beloved. A lot of people saw this and were like: 'This isn't the Boosh! What've y'done! You've killed the Boosh!' And I was like 'chill out, we're just having a break!'”

Does Fielding care what other people think? Well, sometimes. “I'm quite shallow, so if someone cool likes my show” —he mentions French electro act Justice, who befriended Pizzorno due simply to his connection to Luxury Comedy— “I'm a sucker for that, but if someone's wearing bad shoes I could care less what they think.”

Also big fans of Luxury Comedy: kids and cats. “I love when kids like the show,” Fielding says. “Because they don't have barriers, they're quite open to stuff. Some would say I'm like a kid —that, perhaps, I'm childish— because I'm the same way. Adults are the ones who get confused: 'A man with a shell for a head? Excuse me, that's not logical!' Whereas kids are like: 'A sandwich made out of folk music? OK, cool'.

“But, weirdly enough, people kept sending me pictures and letters saying: 'My cat is obsessed with your show! It's never shown any interest in television before, but when your show comes on it stands in front of the telly for the whole show, then leaves when it's over.' I literally got 25 photographs of people's cats looking at my show. I've accidentally made a hit show for just cats! People were nonplussed, but the cats, they loved it! I'm king of the cat world!”


He's also king of the music-themed panel-shows, with a recurring stint on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, which will soon hit Australian TV screens for the first ever time. “I love being captain,” Fielding enthuses, “I took over from Bill Bailey when he didn't want to do it anymore. The other captain is Phill Jupitus. We get on really well: we're like Baloo and Mowgli in The Jungle Book.”

So, has Fielding ever been a captain before? “I think I used to be a captain of a football team when I was young,” Fielding recalls. “Hilariously! I bet you can't imagine me being a captain of anything.”

Perhaps a doomed ship? Fielding, as he does, laughs outrageously. “'There's no one at the wheel, Noel, there's no one at the wheel!' I was up on the deck dancing with some strange sea creatures that we'd just pulled up. 'He's dancing with a porpoise! No one's steering the boat!' But I can't be that guy forever, because now I'm the captain of my own ship. I'm the captain of Luxury Comedy!”

UKTV begin screening Never Mind The Buzzcocks on Monday at 8.30pm.
Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy is out on DVD August 15 through Universal Sony Pictures.