The Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding and animator Nigel Coan have turned the weirdometer up to 11 on their new show with the liberal use of poster paint, cardboard and green screen animation
Taking a break from filming The Mighty Boosh, Noel Fielding and animation director/Boosh collaborator/old college friend Nigel Coan took some time out to mess about with some comedy and animation ideas in their front rooms. The result is the upcoming E4 sketch show, Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, a home made series featuring stunt riding lychees and talkative stingrays all held together by cling film, bacofoil, poster paints and felt tips. Nigel Coan tells Jon Creamer about the show’s DIY surrealism.
How did the series come about?
Two or three years ago we had a couple of months spare to make something ourselves but we didn’t know we were going to make a show at the time. We literally filmed it in our flats and there were just two of us doing it but we managed to get 23 minutes of stuff and thought ‘there’s a show in this.’
Was that starting point where the homemade aesthetic of the show comes from?
Yes, the limitations we had when there were only two of us led to how we made the series. When we made the series we tried to keep to that way of making things rather than expand outwards.
What was the inspiration for the show’s look?
There are a lot of painted elements. The main thread of the show is that Noel’s in a psychedelic jungle tree house and all that is painted. It’s inspired by Henri Rousseau and painters like that. That’s because Noel paints as well as doing comedy, and we thought it’s a nice texture and it reflects him. It’s also an extension of the animations we do on Boosh. It was a conscious decision to keep the painted elements in and a deliberate reaction against slick cg stuff.
What was the writing process?
The way Noel writes is by performing it so he’ll rattle it off word for word and then we’ll talk about it and I’ll tell him if it’s possible or not [in terms of the animation]. So we made decisions quite quickly about what we were going to do. Anything I wasn’t sure about I’d go away and do a quick test and come back and say ‘Yes, we can do that.’
Did the finished show change a lot from the initial scripts?
Often if you’re doing a character for the first time you sometimes discover what’s really funny about it after the performance because Noel improvises so much. Obviously we’d start with the script but it’s often that improvised stuff that we used because it’s just fresh. When it happens in that moment, you know it’s funny straight away so it often supersedes scripted stuff.
The animation’s mostly based on green screen performances, why?
We shot some stuff against painted sets but in the end we preferred working on green screen because you concentrate on the performance and it gives you options afterwards. You can then decide what the world is going to look like after – if it’s going to be collagey or if it’s going to be painted. We’d always start with an idea in our heads but it gives you options. When you shoot on a set it is what it is on the day and it’s not going to change.
Why did you form your own production company, Secret Peter, to make Luxury Comedy?
Because we made what we made on our own just in our kitchens and with green screen, it gives you the power to do that because you can create all these worlds without big sets. We thought if we can do that why not have our own production company, get a producer and expand outwards. It’s quite stressful because it’s all on us but I’m glad we did it that way.
There’s an enormous amount of animation overall, did you know it would be possible to make in the time you had?
When we started it we didn’t know. It was a big learning curve because we weren’t sure what we were trying to do was possible within the budget. But now we know what’s doable and what’s not.
Details Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy
“A psychedelic character based comedy show half filmed and half animated. The show is like biting into an aurora borealis sandwich...like Salvador Dali and Mick Jagger recreating The Jungle Book using toast... Warm and strange and packed with jokes.” Broadcaster E4 TX January 2012 Production company Secret Peter Exec producer Derrin Schlesinger Producer Isibeal Ballance Director and lead animator Nigel Coan Music Kasabian’s Sergio Pizzorno Editor Mark Everson