Vic Reeves reckons today's comedians are too “glossy”. While your Macintyres and Howards might be metronomic gag- smiths who can sell out the O2 in hours they'll never be cult gods of comedy like Vic & Bob. From Big Night Out to The Smell of Reeves & Mortimer they were the Pythons of my youth back in the day when I'd set the video recorder to guarantee maximum post-pub mirth. Part of their charm is always looking like they're having such a laff dicking about with wigs and props like a working men's club routine on acid.
Back on our screens with the recent reboot of Shooting Stars their brand of slapstick surrealism puts the double act up there alongside national treasures like Morecambe and Wise and reminds us why they were once voted the ninth best comic act ever by their fellow comedians and comedy writers.
Following on from last year’s Fosters sponsored webisodes of Alan Partridge's Mid Morning Matters Vic & Bob are serving up their own new sketches with Afternoon Delights. The visual tomfoolery of their new characters contrasts Coogan & Iannucci's slickly written sketches with the emphasis here on what Vic describes as “freeform one-take improv” or what Bob calls “farting about” - think of it as Lars von Trier meets Funny or Die. Vic admits, “Put a camera in front of us and we’ll arse around. Much like puppets or penguins. We’ll do it for peanuts. We started off over pints of Fosters so we’ve gone back to our roots… in the mid 18th Century.”
Their charm is always looking like they're having such a laff dicking about with wigs and props like a working men's club routine on acid.
With trademark false teeth and Noddy Holder-style wigs the first instalment sets the tone with the pair getting radical in the “urban environment” as The Free Runners - “Concrete is our clothing. Bollards are our shoes! Jump the fuck out of your environment!” With their shirts tucked into their pants it's their infectious love of “farting about” that sets this year’s Fosters Funny offering apart. So prepare to meet the Rock ‘n’ Rollers (50s throwbacks flogging tat on the streets of Ashford) and chuckle at the drunken double entendre of The Glass Blowers and the weird world of The Doctor Who Extras.
It’s great to have Vic & Bob back taking risks with new characters in their first sketch show since Monkey Trousers - the short-lived ITV collaboration from 2005. “We did it like people at home might do it, explains Bob. “Un-scripted.”
So did they watch much Internet comedy in preparation?
My kids have shown me dancing cats!” Bob jokes.
“We come from a very naturalistic point of view,” offers Vic. “Like Rentokil.”
Is there a particular website they like to check out?
“I regularly visit eBay motors and look at pictures of cars I won’t be buying,” confesses Bob. “And I like to see how Samsung are doing with dishwashers in America,” Vic deadpans. “They’re really coming up through the ranks.”
There are bound to be claims from killjoys grumbling that they’ve sold out but so what if they've taken the corporate cash. It’s great to have them back on our screens in new guises that remind Vic of the freedom of the days of Big Night Out. At an event to launch the latest laugh it up from Fosters Funny the company man present wears a nervous smile as Vic quips, "Well, there’s no peanut companies willing to sponsor us!”
Salvador Dali once said, “I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.” I realised this applied to Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves) during an interview I did with him for Loaded Magazine when he was crowned Comedy Legend at the Loaded Laftas Comedy Awards. In answer to a Celebrity Deathmatch proposition, and through a tornado of booze, he joked, “Bob and I are deceptively powerful. Little Britain might look tasty but I’d take Walliams with a headbutt to the groin and stick my finger up his arse. That would down him in one move because he’d be so overpowered with ecstasy. Bob’s got a very wide arsehole so he could just jump on Matt Lucas and anally swallow him hole. He’d never see the light of day!”
I'm glad this perfect pair ‘wouldn't let it lie’. Check them out at Fosters Funny where you can watch a new episode of Afternoon Delights every weekday until July 29th.
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