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The Mighty Boosh

Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding take the absurdism and musical comedy of ensembles like Monty Python, the Goodies, and The Young Ones and focus it into a double act they call The Mighty Boosh. The two met after Fielding saw Barratt performing stand-up in High Wycombe and realized that Barratt's rambling, jazzy, free-associative sense of humor was closely related to his own brand of fantastical children's book oddness. Combining their talents they landed work on a sketch show called Unnatural Acts where they created the characters of the zookeepers, who were the prototype for the protagonists of The Mighty Boosh. Several of the other cast members of the various Mighty Boosh projects, like Rich Fulcher and Dave Brown, were met while making Unnatural Acts. Michael Fielding, brother of Noel, was also added to the informal extended group, which was named after his bush-like hair. In 1998 they performed their first stage show using the zookeeper characters. Barratt played Howard Moon, the scruffy straight-man obsessed with jazz, fame, and proving himself as 'a man of action,' but cursed with a forgettable face, while Fielding played Vince Noir, an androgynous and foppish hipster frequently mistaken for a woman. Two more stage shows -- Arctic Boosh in 1999 and Autoboosh in 2000 -- followed, the last of which was popular enough to draw the attention of the BBC, who hired them to create a radio series simply called The Boosh. From that followed their BBC television show, which reinstated the Mighty in their name. The show's first series maintained the zoo setting they had used previously, though most of the episodes involved them traveling from that location on exotic and implausible adventures, broken up randomly for interludes of animation and music. Both have been involved in bands; Barratt as a member of Groove Solution and tour guitarist with Little Chief, and Fielding playing bass with IAMX (a side project of Chris Corner from Sneaker Pimps) and DJing as part of Team Disgusting. A second series of the show in 2004 took the characters away from the zoo, relocating Moon and Noir, as well as secondary characters Rollo the ape (Dave Brown) and Naboo the shaman (Michael Fielding) to a small flat that they shared in the manner of The Young Ones while also trying to make it as a band. This allowed them to increase the amount of songs and the number of jokes about music, like their ongoing references to the fictional label PieFace Records. Taking a break from filming in 2006 they staged The Mighty Boosh Live, returning the characters to a stage show format, before making a third TV series in 2007. They also turned PieFace Records into a real label to record an album of songs from the show in 2008.
© Jody Macgregor /TiVo

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