It might be years since the end of The Mighty Boosh, but the local following that Noel Fielding earned from the surreal show will be welcoming him to this year's comedy festival. The Brit funnyman tells Chris Schulz he wants fans to dress weirdly for the occasion.

If you see a giant pink head with tentacles wandering around Auckland, don't be alarmed. It's probably just a Noel Fielding fan on their way to a live show.

"Lots of people dress up for my shows," the British comedian says, cracking himself up at the thought of two recent examples.

"In my last TV show, there was a piece of French toast. All that toast did was pop up and say, 'Non'. I was performing at the Sydney Opera House, and someone came as that piece of French toast.

"Someone once came to a Boosh show as a pony I drew on a piece of paper. I love that. That's so obscure."


It's not often a TV show inspires that kind of dedicated passion in its fans - especially when that show is eight years old, and the chances of new episodes being made are remote.

But we're talking about The Mighty Boosh, the bonkers acid trip between music and comedy that started as a radio show in 1998 with Fielding and his pal Julian Barratt, then morphed into a TV show that got increasingly bizarre over its three-season run between 2004-2007.

Its psychedelic storylines introduced characters like Tony Harrison, the tentacled pink head, and The Hitcher, with his giant mint Lifesaver lolly eye, to the world. And as word about its genius spread, the Boosh crew grew from a cult concern to a crossover hit.

At their peak, Fielding and Barrett made like rock stars, making regular appearances on the cover of British music magazine NME, travelling in their own Boosh-branded tour bus and performing music from the show to fans at festivals like Glastonbury.

The TV show wasn't the end of the Boosh either. Since it finished, there has been a Mighty Boosh book, a music festival, a live stage tour, and even an app. Everything, it seems, except for a film.

"That's the one regret I have," reminisces Fielding. "The thing we never quite did is that film. We wrote one that was a big adventure. We got halfway through that, then we wrote another that was a Rocky Horror-type thing, more like a musical. We made an album in Electric Lady studios but we never released it because the film didn't quite happen. We've got an album sitting on the shelf with new music. We should put that out at some point."

It isn't clear what's holding them back from finishing that film. Fielding, who has made two seasons of the similarly silly show Luxury Comedy, says he's still good friends with Barratt. But Barratt isn't involved in Fielding's live show, An Evening With Noel Fielding, billed as one of the bigger drawcards on this year's Comedy Festival line-up.

Noel Fielding is featured on the cover of this week's TimeOut


Inspired by the Boosh, it's "a big old psychedelic crazy show" that combines stand-up, songs, sketches, animation and audience interaction. It features appearances by Fielding's brother Michael (Naboo in the Boosh) and Fielding's characters The Moon and Fantasy Man. At one point, Fielding is kidnapped and the audience has to help him escape. So far, so Boosh.

With five shows across Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in May, Fielding hopes as many people dress up for the occasion as possible.

"People do like to dress up but that element is disappearing from society a little bit. The times are a bit conservative and it's a shame for young people, because they love to dress up and put make-up on. Things have gotten a little less dressy uppy, which is a shame really. I say get out the dressing up box. Always."

Fielding has performed the show 40-odd times now, and he admits that wherever he goes, he's still confronted by Boosh fans who want to know when he and Barratt will make new episodes. He's amazed by their dedication.

"It was quite an unusual, quirky show and people who like it, love it. They're obsessed with it. The love that they have is so strong. It's so weird meeting fans, because there's a lot of crying and screaming. People make you stuff, people dress like you, they want to touch your hair.

"I do Never Mind the Buzzcocks which is a much higher rating show. People like it but they don't love it. Boosh fans are like, 'Please make something else. I made you a present. You changed my life.' They're obsessed. It's a lot of pressure. We're at that point that we have to leave it alone - we've got too much to lose. People have built it up in their minds."

Fielding puts its success down to the show's "classic set-up" of Barratt's straight-laced character to his more eccentric one, a double act like Morecambe and Wise, or Laurel and Hardy. And, of course, New Zealand's fourth best folk-comedy act, Flight of the Conchords.

"Julian and I always felt like we were brothers to the Conchords. We were contemporaries. We were friends. I was going to play the part of David Bowie (in their show) but I couldn't do it. I was already signed up to do The IT Crowd."

Talking about the Conchords gives Fielding an idea - just one, you suspect, of many that flows into the comedian's head on a regular basis.

"We should do a film together: two double acts going on a quest to get the same thing. It would be like one of those 70s films: the Boosh and the Conchords in the same vehicle. That would be quite hilarious."

You read it here first ...

What: That Mighty Boosh fella in An Evening With Noel Fielding
Where and when: ASB Theatre, Auckland, May 9; Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland, May 10; Wellington Opera House, May 11 & 12; Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch, May 14.

- TimeOut