Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy review – second view

Posted on 3 February 2012
By Andy Johnson
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If someone wanted to make TV for Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte then Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy would be it. The artwork, decadent use of colour and reckless abandonment of the rules of form is a delight to watch.

Without doubt – the Mighty Boosh star is a talented artist and you can see Noel’s Fine Art University education filter through.

Andy Warhol is his jungle hut cleaner, who last night frustrated Noel by showing off his Magritte-painted brickwork backpack complete with steam train bursting forth from of a tunnel in the zip pocket.

In one of the most telling moments of the show, Noel’s female foil Dolly is confronted by him over a bizarre costume idea crossing a baby romper with a fireman’s helmet: ‘But is it a joke or is it a concept?’ he demands to know. As do most of his detractors.

The show is punctuated with occasional punchlines and pop culture references that violently draw you out of the surrealist dream and into a semi-warped sense of reality.

But including things like the Grandstand cricket theme tune and Noel’s wrist watch / video phone, which rings to the beats of Shimmy Shimmy Ya by Wu Tang legend Ol’ Dirty Bastard also serve to provide a sense of the real world and balance the other worldly elements.

A highlight was the colour creatures on a Wizard of Oz style quest to each have a dream granted. The green spoon snake just repeats ‘Am I nothing?’ into the camera.

Despite the red cat character telling us that the green spoon snake wishes to star in Mel Gibson’s next Apocalypto movie… a version yet to be done, where the Mayans ‘wear toothpaste on their eyes’ which is so delightfully childish and absurd that it produced a laugh from the dark recesses of my belly, long forgotten.

Suddenly a drawing of John Travolta eating crisps appears in the window of the castle and we pull out to a wider view, and see the characters are finger puppets. With Noel wearing the castle and green landscape as a costume, with his jungle hut friends all laughing at him.

But is it a joke or is it a concept, is it worth E4’s investment? The artwork, animation and costume design must be prohibitively expensive on a return for laughs ratio. Time will tell whether the characters pull together coherently to fill their own universe and co-exist.

The talking gashes of Sergeant Raymond Boombox were a brave move by Noel because they provide easy cannon fodder for playground name calling comparisons.

But he soon put them in order, barking in his strained Bronx accent: “Shut up, I’m trying to put you in some kind of godamn context.” Yes indeed.