Noel Fielding, the man Phil Jupitus magnificently described as ‘a Gothic George Best’, is 41 years old! Forty freaking one. This is like when I learned that Gwen Steffani was actually my mum’s age, all over again. It’s not that he’s especially baby faced; it’s just that he looks like he’d be more at home smoking outside Bold St Coffee with graduates, rather than down the local pub, playing darts (I have no idea what men in their forties actually do; I’m just lazily stereotyping). Either way, he’s looking good for his age – he could probably still blag a student ticket on an Arriva bus.
Perhaps ‘The Fountain of Youth’ from Fielding’s most notable work, The Mighty Boosh actually does exist? In the hit TV show, Fielding played the ultimate confuser (“Is it a man? Is it a woman? I’m not sure if I mind!”), Vince Noir. Alongside his highly wound sidekick, Howard Moon (Julian Barratt), The Boosh amassed a cult like following and took viewers on a surreal journey through time and space with their unique brand of comedy. Androgynous Vince; with his childlike outlook on life, narcissism and impressive hair hubris (“A basic back-comb structure, slightly root-boosted framing with a cheeky fringe”) quickly became one of the most popular characters in British comedy. The multi-award winning comedy troupe went on to produce three BBC series; two live UK tours and see Fielding and Barratt dubbed ‘the funniest double-act in Britain’ by NME.
Since we last saw him in Zooniverse and Nabootique, Noel has been busy going solo. There has been two series of the inescapably whimsical Luxury Comedy, an inspired stint as a team captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, the infamous appearances on Big Fat Quiz and now he’s about to embark on a nationwide tour – his first in five years. An Evening with Noel Fielding promises to be a magical mix of his eccentric brand of stand-up comedy, live animation and music. There will even be some special guests too as he’s taking his brother, Mike Fielding (Naboo) and Luxury’s Tom Meetan along with him on the 34 date stint. It certainly sounds like it’s going to be value for money.
I caught up with Noel to discuss the upcoming Liverpool date but to be honest, we mainly ended up chatting about beards, Cliff Richard and Russell Brand’s move into politics.
OPEN: So, your live show is called An Evening with Noel Fielding – it sounds more like an ITV special with the likes of Michael Buble rather than a comedy show?
NOEL: Haha, that is the angle I’m going for, there are going to be a lot of Frank Sinatra covers […] When I booked it, I didn’t really know what kind of show it was going to be – I hadn’t written it. I was thinking it may be an amalgam of things; I knew I wanted to do some stand-up, I have some characters and have people with me – quite a mixture.
But yeah, I was aware of what I did with the title. I did do it slightly tongue in cheek because it’s really not the sort of show I would ever do and it really made me laugh – it’s the sort of thing Barry Humphries would do.
They’ll definitely be a mention to Michael Buble now you’ve said that though. The thing is with ‘An Evening With…’ is that it sounds like you’re 70 and ITV are giving you a pat on the back for being amazing but Buble has got to be incorporated into it too, now.
A lot of the Operation Yewtree suspects loved a good old fashioned ‘An Evening With…’ but I reckon we’re safe with Buble.
Yeah well this doesn’t go to print for a few weeks so you never know….
What’s happening with Cliff at the moment, is he alright? I hope to God he didn’t do anything. If Cliff goes then the whole fabric of society will disintegrate.
The whole of the 70’s are going to be in prison, that’s what’s happening. Oh it’s horrible.
It’s looking that way. Now your last solo show was scheduled in 2010 but, according to the fountain of knowledge that is Wikipedia, it got postponed due to you working on The Boosh movie. Where the hell is that film?
We didn’t really know what to do. Oh God, I don’t know what we were doing. We were supposed to be going to America to do a show… then we decided no to that. Then we started writing a film but we didn’t know which one to write so we wrote half of a film, it was a musical like Rocky Horror, and then a different half of another film. They didn’t go together, obviously, which wasn’t useful to anyone. We ended up doing neither of those things and I started working on an animated thing while Julian worked on something else – it was a bit of a shambles at that point. Also, that last big Boosh tour, it was like 100 dates – I was wasn’t really in shape to tour.
But I’m back! Has it really been that long? 2010? I like doing that, keeps people on their toes. It looks like it’s took me four years to pluck up the courage to come back on tour but I’ve done three series of the Buzzcocks, two of Luxury and I’ve done little bits of stand-up, but not a tour. I have been busy.
I’m not judging. Are you looking forward to this long awaited tour then?
Yeah, it’s going to be nice to see some faces. Comedy is best with an audience otherwise it all feels a bit weird; making it in secret and putting it on telly. You don’t really know how it’s gone; you get ratings and a few reviews but it’s not the same as going out into a room full of people.
When I was texting all my friends showing off that I was interviewing you, I noticed that the iPhone decides to autocorrect your name to Noël. What do you think about Apple giving you a Christmassy edge – too hipster?
I was born on Christmas Day, just like Jesus. Haha, no I wasn’t…
I knew, I have read your Wikipedia after all. Speaking of hipsters – the man who created Vince Noir must be a tiny bit hipster?
You know what, no – I’m not like that. I’ve got loads of friends from Shoreditch who’ve got massive beards, short hair, tattoos – that seems to be the new hipster look, doesn’t it? When I went to Brooklyn, the Williamsburg crew all had massive beards – it’s quite funny, it’s like sitting in a convention of lumberjacks. Everyone looks like their dad, it’s all quite weird.
I can’t really grow a great beard. And also, I’ve never wanted a massive beard. Do I really want something that covers up my face? That seems like a waste!! Haha, no, I’m joking.
Too late, that’s going to be the headline of the interview.
The truth is I’m just not very good at growing a beard. It all goes a bit rubbish. Russell can grow a good one, Russell Brand.
Ahhh, speaking of Russell, he tweeted you the other day – are you guys really going to reunite as the Goth Detectives for The Big Fat Quiz of the Year?
Yeah we might be…(intriguing voice)
I want an exclusive, come on.
Ahhh ok. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say.
I’m taking this as a yes, Noel.
Ah, are you? We might be, we might not… hahaha. I haven’t got black hair anymore – I can’t do it!
You can! Come on, hair dye is like a fiver from Boots.
Alright then. Five quid from Boots, yeah? I’ll speak to Russell and see what he says. He’ll find the Big Fat Quiz too flippant now he’s a politician.
He has gone political of late, hasn’t he? Are you planning to join him on the revolution?
Well, the thing is, I’d like to… no, basically. Hahaha. I’ve heard that he’s currently writing a political manifesto.
I know! It’s insane isn’t it? He’s gone serious. And I think Eddie Izzard is running for Mayor at some point – all the comedians are going for it. I better get involved somehow. I don’t really know how; it’s not my vibe, that. Maybe I could remake The Monster Raving Looney Party?
You could form The Goth Detectives Party with Russell?
The Goth Detective Party! Everyone has to wear black! We can spray all the Boris Bikes black, it will be amazing. I’m up for that, let’s do it!
When you discuss this with Russell I want full credit.
Haha, okay. I’ll wear a badge saying “It was Zoe’s idea” and if it all goes wrong we’ll definitely, definitely say it was your idea.
Yeah but if it goes right then I’m laughing, I’ve started a political revolution.
If it goes really wrong then we’ll all have to grow beards.
Deal. I’ll probably grow a better one than you by the sounds of things.
Haha. Basically we’ll grow massive beards and stand in Shoreditch then all my mates will get arrested instead of us.
My mate Baccy has such a good beard, it’s huge. I was like, “how long did that take?” and he claims two months. I was like, “get lost, it would take me about ten years to grow that”. What do you think about them, you like them?
Not for me. I’m not sure why girls are pretending we really fancy men with them – grow a personality, not a beard.
My dad had a beard growing up, so I sort of have a fondness for them, though.
My dad in the 90’s had a beard, sleeve tattoos and smoked rolls up – he’d be so on trend now.
He was the pioneer of the look.
Either that or just a bit lazy. Now we’ve gone a bit off topic with talk of beards and politics – any plans for the return of The Boosh?
Maybe. The thing is, never say never. It’s difficult because when you get involved in something, you have to see it through and it takes a while. I don’t know when we’ll both be free but we still do fantasise about writing the film.
Well you should get cracking, Wikipedia has blown your cover with that one– you’ve got people excited!
I know! We need a year where we can sit down and write. People have such a fondness of The Mighty Boosh and it lives on in their memories so we don’t want to come back and do something not as good.
True. A lot of the great series bow out after two or three series.
Ah yeah, that’s true. If we came back and do something not very good then we’ll have undone all the good work that’s been done. It’s tricky. You never know what to do.
You can give me a ring once you’ve wrote it and I’ll let you know…
Yeah we’ll try that. I’ll send it to you and you let me know.
That would be great. I promise I won’t leak it – I won’t even save it to iCloud or anything!
I’ll send it to you in a beard!
I best start befriending those who enjoy the lumberjack look, then.
An Evening With Noel Fielding: 7th and 8th November, Echo Arena. Tickets (£28) available from echoarena.com
Originally published for OPEN Magazine
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