The Mighty Boosh: A “Mighty” Wind
It took five years for Britain's oddest comedy to blow our way. What an outrage!
The cultural landscape is littered with British phenoms aspiring to make it in the States. And just as the stakes are high for bands, so they are for a cultishly revered show about — here goes — a glam rocker, a jazzbo, a drug-dealing shaman, and a gorilla who travel the universe and greater London, encountering mythical beasts such as a transsexual sea monster, a hard-partying tentacled pink head named Tony Harrison, an army of demonic grandmas, and Bryan Ferry. Five years after its BBC debut, The Mighty Boosh has come to America.
To celebrate the show’s DVD release and its Adult Swim debut (in grievously abridged form), Noel Fielding, 36, and Julian Barratt, 41 — respectively, impeccably rooster-haired dandy Vince Noir and mustachioed fusion enthusiast Howard Moon — hosted sold-out live spectacles in New York and Los Angeles in August, similar to the bizarro stage shows a decade ago that spawned the series. With a DVD box set due this month, Fielding and Barratt help prepare you for the Boosh onslaught.
All your favorite rock stars can’t be wrong
The show’s pop references, overstuffed narratives, and endless quotability make for ideal tour-bus fodder. “I went to see David Byrne, and he and his band were Boosh nuts,” says Barratt. “I went backstage and they were all applauding.” Fielding also counts Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Kings of Leon among the Boosh converts. “Our stuff is all about the details,” he says. “Like a serial killer’s diary — you read a few pages and think, ‘What’s this shit?’ then you can’t put it down. We wanted to be psychedelic and musical, not make observations about girlfriends and all that rubbish.”
Fright of the Conchords
The similarities to a certain Kiwi musical-comedy duo were initially too close for Fielding and Barratt’s comfort. “It was annoying at first, and obviously they’re not as weird as us, but maybe they’ve paved the way a bit,” says Fielding, who was one scheduling conflict away from playing David Bowie in a Flight of the Conchords episode during their frenemies’ first season on HBO. “I think we could do a Cannonball Runtype movie together.”
Today, the stoner kids. Tomorrow, the world.
After three seasons on BBC Three, Fielding and Barratt are mulling offers for another season, possibly as an American co-production, as well as a movie and a live album. Meanwhile, the Rocky Horrorlike reception in New York and L.A. suggests word of mouth is spreading beyond tour buses. “Our show is an acquired taste,” says Barratt, “but I think it helps to have it recommended by a stoned 22-year-old.” Of the many intriguing opportunities, however, a Yankee remake à la The Office holds no appeal. “Then what would we do?” asks Fielding. “I wanna come hang out in America. I’m bored with London.”
WATCH: The Mighty Boosh