Noel Fielding’s ‘Luck Surely’ Comedy

Posted: January 27, 2012 in Comedy, Reviews, Television
Tags: , , ,

Before you ask, no. I do not think up my post titles before I actually consider the content.

Last night saw one the largest comedic tragedies since Jim Davidson started gigging in Brixton.

Late night E4 introduced a new series from popular comedy surrealist Noel Fielding. Forming half of The Mighty Boosh, Fielding has secured comedy royalty status, now a regular mainstay on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, ceaselessly injecting his own brand of poncho-wearing quirkery to the music quiz. Now he moves into unfamiliar territory, his own show – though the likes of his brother, Michael Fielding (Naboo) and Rich Fulcher (Bob Fossil) are still making appearances. Without the comedy stylings of ‘jazz man’ Julian Barrett, he’s taken a large step into the unknown. How will the ‘Cockney Bitch’ do?

Poorly, bloody poorly and I’m so disappointed.

I was going to watch Labyrinth last night, but instead decided to watch Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy. Luxury? Pah! It is absolutely awful. I laughed once, ONCE, which is rare when Fielding is involved (for your information it was when when he described Mr Kipling telling Secret Peter to go fuck himself). Beyond this isolated titter, not one smile managed to break across my perpetually mournful face.

What’s clear is that Noel is hugely fortunate – much like Noel Edmonds actually. He is lucky enough to be in a position where he can ride off the back of his BBC fame, allowing sufficient negotiation space and creative freedom to form the kind of comedy that he wants. But with the quality being so poor there is no doubt in my mind that without being such a cult comedy figurehead, this would never have been commissioned. You think E4 would have allowed it if it was by Ellis James? I think not.

It’s Tramadol Nights all over again.

In an interview with T4 last weekend he discussed the title of the show, explaining that the ‘luxury’ refers to the expense (time and cost) of creating the collection of animated sketches, each requiring hours of input for seconds of footage.

Perhaps this is where he’s gone wrong: Is there too great a focus on the animated visuals of the show? Though it tries to maintain a somewhat shabby style, it has undoubtedly lost the ‘second-hand’ artistic direction of Boosh – the Hitcher‘s Polo eye, for example, used Blue Peter’s recycled craft credentials to comedy success – probably due to the influx of a large budget.

Or maybe the real issue is that surreal comedy has had its day? See, I don’t agree with that entirely though. I believe this show could actually be great, easily replicating the success of Boosh, if only the writing was up to scratch.

The script appears rushed and ill thought. You rarely get the impression that it’s even trying to be funny. Moreover, the characters are a shambles. Overtly, the comedic weight has been placed squarely on the shoulders of the surreal, rather than interesting characterisation.

He's a chocolate finger? Don't you get it?

Take Roy Circles, an awkward PE Teacher, you know the sort, the one that always tries to be ‘down with the kids’. So far so good. But there’s more – he’s a chocolate finger. Oh right. Is that in some way ironic? No, he’s a chocolate finger because it’s kooky – and perhaps to obtain some kind of sponsorship from Cadbury. Nuff said. Ditto Sgt Raymond Boombox, a New York cop with a talking knife wound on his arm that somehow helps him to solve crimes.

At least this character has some interesting potential. The alliance of man and his wound could actually be very funny if executed in the right way. Unfortunately for Fielding though he has not managed it, with the dialogue playing second fiddle to the colourful, fanciful character design.

I’m a huge fan of Boosh (apart from Series 3 obviously) so I’ll persist with Luxury Comedy in the hope that it gets better. Please don’t make me regret it Noel.

Time for Labyrinth – Now that’s some good character design!

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