Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy made its first appearance on E4 tonight. Also featuring Noel’s brother Mike and Rich Fulcher, both of whom will be familiar to fans of the Mighty Boosh, it was a sketch show featuring a mix of live-action, animation and puppetry, usually involving a huge amount of face paint. Dazzlingly imaginative and full of Fielding’s distinctive psychedelic artwork, it’s surely the most inventive comedy show of the year, but sadly not the funniest.
Sketch characters included Dondelion, who paces his zoo cage while having some rather dark mood swings, and Roy Circles, a talking chocolate finger war veteran widower and PE teacher. These were all linked by Fielding in his treehouse base, eating cereal and drawing pictures of Pele holding a cup while kicking a ball (or is it a saucer?). Whether or not the last couple of sentences raised a smile will show how much you’d enjoy this series. Perhaps the best of these characters was a bright yellow New York City cop named Sergeant Raymond Boombox who solves crimes with the help of his talking wounds, while the definite lowlight of the episode was Renny and Gaviskon, two characters who just crash around a kitchen for a bit. There was also a “guest” appearance from the Boosh’s Moon character, which only made me miss the BBC Three series more.
Luxury Comedy seems to highlight what Julian Barrett brought to the Mighty Boosh. His musical talents have been replaced here by those of Serge Pizzorno from Kasabian, but Barrett’s writing appears to be missed. In particular, it feels like the corduroy and jazz-flavoured balance he brought to the Boosh was missing. Without this balance, Fielding’s flights of fancy had nothing to keep them tied down and while this can be fantastic in small doses, half an hour’s worth left me feeling like I’d gorged on too many sweets.
It’s a shame that it wasn’t anywhere near as funny as it was colourful. Giving Fielding free rein to be utterly self-indulgent without any quality control could have been an interesting experiment as a one-off special, but I have doubts about it having much mileage as a series.