Into the Boosh

The first tickle of a new obsession being formed is a powerful thing, and it happened to me this past week when I happened to catch The Mighty Boosh on BBC America’s late-night comedy lineup. It’s an unpredictably absurd pop culture comedy concerning two zookeepers named Vince Noir, a sweetly smiling gadfly obsessed with the ’70s who fancies himself “King of the Mods,” and Howard Moon, a philosophical mumbler who fancies himself a daring adventurer. They spend their days chafing under the authority of their boss, Bob Fossil, at the Zoo-niverse, which is hardly a zoo because it lacks animals. But, boy, is it a universe. There are plenty of surreal excursions, into Monkey Hell, the Arctic tundra (to recover the Egg of Mantumbi and bond with polar bears), and the Jungle Room, where their Livingston-like search for a long lost friend Tommy ends with him immediately lunging at Vince: “I am a rocker! He is a Mod! We are mortal enemies!” The creators/writers/stars Julian Barratt (Howard) and Noel Fielding (Vince) are a kicky twosome, and their show — which like seemingly most great British comedy grew out of an award-winning Edinburgh festival act — is like a Sid and Marty Krofft production engineered by Frank Zappa. But its delight in fantastic plots, genre parody, warped songcraft and quick-witted off-road conversations ultimately vaults The Mighty Boosh — currently a cult hit in the UK — into some rare atmosphere between sitcom and sketch.

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