You get the impression from talking to comedian Noel Fielding that ideas pour out of his head all the time and he has a job keeping up with them all.
Noel came to most people’s attention through the wonderfully insane and surreal TV comedy The Mighty Boosh, which he made with former comedy partner Julian Barratt, who’s busy at the moment being more dog (he’s the voice of the cat in those mobile phone commercials). Noel said he’s also writing a film and working on other projects.
Noel’s on tour at the moment, and is bringing his show to Sheffield. Don’t expect one man with a microphone wryly musing about the world.
The show mixes stand-up with characters, including Noel’s TV favourites the Moon and Fantasy Man, and animation plus live music.
Noel said: “I love stand-up but I just always have ideas that would be great visually and I’ve started doing music now.”
He said that he’s excited to bring back the Moon from The Mighty Boosh, who also has a dark side. “It’s given the Moon a new lease of life. We’ve worked out a way to fuse it with live action on stage. We do it in a really low-fi way.”
But however crazy and haphazard everything may look, Noel puts in a lot of effort to make it work. He has done plenty of warm-ups to make sure that the show is in good shape.
The strange world of The Mighty Boosh came from working with Julian: “We both started doing stand-up. The idea was just to do jokes and bits.
“We were always stimulated by quite a lot of different things and put them into our show. We didn’t get scared and we’d bring in characters, music and visuals and keep building, building, building on them.
“At the Boosh we always wanted to do stuff like music visuals, stories, Star Wars mythology, good versus evil. Big, epic journeys. You’re lucky if you get to do a TV show and do whatever you want with it.”
They were inspired by the same comic heroes. “We were both big fans of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. I think they’re incredible, just the best really. They don’t get intimidated by anything and do what they want. They work freely and make everything look effortless but a lot of work goes into it.”
Their other comedy influences included Monty Python, Brass Eye and The Day Today creator Chris Morris and Pete Cook and Dudley Moore.
Noel said: “We felt we were in that tradition, following on from those people. A lot of comedy at the time was more like The Office and Ricky Gervais and much more realistic in style.”
The show has stayed popular, said Noel. “People still come up and say ‘I watched Boosh’. The first one was 10 years ago.”
He jokes: “I’m officially old. How did that happen?”
Since then Noel, who is also an artist, musician and DJ, has produced two series of his own E4 show, Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy.
The second series, which blends typically surreal live action with animation, has recently finished its run.
Noel’s also been busy recording the latest series of Never Mind the Buzzcocks, where he is a team captain. He said: “I never know what I’m going to get. It’s just insane.”
He was looking forward to working with Rhod Gilbert, who has just taken over as quizmaster this series, and thought it would give the show a different vibe.
Noel said he decided to go on tour because after all his TV work “I can’t remember what an audience looks like. I’m going to tell some jokes to people and have them laugh.
“Two of us wrote the series on our own in a room.
“We laughed but there are so many processes between you and an audience on TV that you don’t know what the reaction is.
“I love a live audience being there because you get a proper response to what you do. The audience are always right. You can find out if a piece is good because if they don’t like it they don’t laugh. If they don’t laugh three times you know it’s wrong.
“I love the buzz of it, it’s just about that audience and it’s never going to happen again. If there’s a 22-year-old in the front row and you have a bit of a laugh with him, it’s stuff that’s special for that night and that audience.”
His very first taste of standing in front of an audience has a link to Buzzcocks. “Phill Jupitus was at my first-ever stand-up gig. I was a big fan of his. I was so nervous I nearly couldn’t go on but he talked me into doing it.”
An Evening with Noel Fielding on Wednesday, October 29 at Sheffield City Hall is part of this month’s Last Laugh Comedy Festival in Sheffield.
Box office: at the venue, call 0114 278 9789 or go online to http://www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk/
Festival website: http://lastlaughcomedyfestival.co.uk/