Series: Fist of Fun
BBC comedy show from the mid-1990s starring comedy double act Stewart Lee and Richard Herring. One of the last of an era of sketch shows presented in front of a studio audience that began with Monty Python's Flying Circus. Similar in style to a A Bit of Fry and Laurie and The Mary Whitehouse Experience, being quite intellectual and popular with students and 20-somethings. The main difference being that Lee and Herring were more self depricating, Genre Savvy, and played up their Generation X alter egos; Herring as the neurotic manchild and Lee being the aloof Morrissey lookalike who would "listen to music that nobody else would like just to show off". Other reccuring characters included 'Peter' (played and written by Peter Baynham, previously of The Day Today) a disgusting loser who provided "Lifestyle Tips", and Simon Quinlank (Kevin Eldon) an over-zealous hobbyist who has Nazi-esque enthusiasm for various bizarre hobbies ("Old Man Collecting").
Provides examples of:
- Berserk Button: Any suggestion to "Rod Hull" that he isn't actually Rod Hull "I AM HIM!".
- British Brevity: Two series of six episodes.
- Companion Cube: Donny Oddlegs, Peter's only friend.
- Epunymous Title: Parodied in the Spin Off book with a whole list of sitcom titles based on the theme of "X in the Y' ("Bird in the Hand" Ian Bird is manager of 'The Hand' pub' "God in Heaven" Ian Godd is manager of 'Heaven' pub.)
- Jerkass: Rich throws Peter's only friend in a bin and sets him on fire. And teases the 'Girl Who Smelt of Spam'.
- Loners Are Freaks: Peter definitely qualifies.
- Running Gag: Every episode starts with Lee and Herring jumping out of crates - or, rather, Lee and somebody else (be it a Frenchman or the gimp from Pulp Fiction) jumping out of crates.
- The Hobby sketches also usually involve a reference to a weak lemon drink.
- Sound to Screen Adaptation: Started on BBC Radio.
- Special Guest: None other than the real Rod Hull!
- Spoof Aesop: "Stewart Lee's True Fables": The moral of The Ant And The Man? Well the ant, being an insect, had died of old age.
- Stalker Shrine: Rich has a shrine to Julia Sawalha (complete with a well) and wig that looks like her hair.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Rich would say something; Stew would point out it was nonsense, ending with a rhetorical reducto ad absurdum such as "Or do you want to swim in raw sewage?" Richard would then reply "Honestly, if I wanted to swim in sewage then I'd..." and proceed to outline a highly detailed plan for breaking into his local sewage plant during the guard's teabreak.
- In the stage show, during a lengthy Stewart Lee monologue, Richard left the stage with Peter and came back later with Peter's hair looking suspiciously damp. When Stewart asked what had happened, Rich replied 'Well, someone definitely didn't flush his head down the toilet seven times'
- Take That is a popular trope, usually against Patrick Marber or anybody complaing to or about the show.
- The Bully: Richard's constant mistreatment of Peter. Viewers would send him gifts that Richard would "accidentally" destroy in front of him.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Rod Hull loves his jelly.
- Unreadably Fast Text: The end credits provided a spoof 'Events Guide' full of silly messages. One of these was an advertisement for the Lee and Herring Video Repair Shop, suggesting you visit if you broke your video player by pausing it too many times.
- There were also a number of pop-up text balloons that appeared throughout the show. These always disappeared before they could possibly be read. Viewers just barely had time to notice them at all.