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Radio Times article: Keeping It Surreal

Gorillas, Arctic expeditions and men made of chamois leathers - prepare yourself for a weird new comedy world.

The first thing you notice when the Boosh walk in to the room is hair. Julian Barratt has multi-directional tendrils that writhe like snakes as he fiddles with them; his partner Noel Fielding has a fountain of blond, brown, purple and black stuff coming out of his head.

The second thing you notice is that they'd rather give a funny answer than a true one. "I'm a jazz fusion guitarist. I only ever listen to five albums by Weather Report. I dabble in comedy," Barratt says. He's actually an accomplished comic: the Boosh won the Perrier newcomer award at Edinburgh in 1998, and a Douglas Adams writing award for their radio series in 2001.

The third thing is that they only finish half the sentences they start, often abandoning them in favour of new, more exciting ones. This is most apparent when they try to define what The Mighty Boosh, their ultra-weird new series, is.

They play zookeepers who frequently leave their cages behind to go on quests - to the arctic, or even other dimensions. It's been labeled "tripcom" for its hallucinogenic qualities and is a departure from dark, suburban comedy, having more in common with Monty Python's anarchy and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's astonishing creativity. Fielding explains: "We were living in Hackney, but we thought we'd rather live in a magical forest."

The show was born in the mid-1990s when Fielding and Barratt teamed up to do something different from conventional stand-up. "in our first show we came out covered in shaving foam and danced arounda s two white characters called the Hoop brothers," claims Fielding.

Edinburgh in 1999 saw Barratt playing a monster made out of Jiffy bags. "We were working in a post office," he says. "So it's not illogical to have a boss made out of Jiffy bags."

The TV series features more DIY monsters. In one episode, Fielding falls through a mirror and meets a man made of chamois leathers and sponges. But Boosh is not simply a freak show - it boasts plenty of unhinged exchanges between Fielding's idiot savant and Barratt's intellectually arrogant fool, both characters based closely on their own personalities.

For a long time, TV was wary of the Boosh. "If you do weird stuff," says Fielding, "they think, 'You're mad, you probably eat chairs.'"

The fourth thing you realise when the Boosh are in the room is that you can't stop laughing.

Danny Plunkett