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Series / The Mighty Boosh

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Come with us now on a journey through time and the world of the Mighty Boosh.

The Mighty Boosh is a rather unusual British comedy series about two friends, Howard Moon (Julian Barratt) and Vince Noir (Noel Fielding), who have bizarre adventures together. Howard is a humorless braggart with a love for jazz and a penchant for getting into trouble, and Vince (the "King of the Mods", the "Mayor of Camden", and the face of Cheekbone magazine) ends up saving Howard Once an Episode, which tends to involve him talking to animals and wearing silly outfits. They eventually have to fight a Monster of the Week (usually in song) while meeting a range of strange characters, many of whom are also played by Barratt and Fielding.

The two work at a zoo and end up living together with the Deadpan Snarker stoner shaman, Naboo (played by Michael Fielding, Noel's brother, whose hair is the show's namesake), and Bollo, Naboo's gorilla familiar (Dave Brown). Episodes have tended to focus on Howard and Vince leaving the zoo (first series), their flat (second series), or Naboo's shop (third series) but locations have varied from the Arctic tundra, Monkey Hell, and the planet Xooberon.

The humor of the show is based on a combination of non-sequiturs, pop culture references, psychedelic visuals, and musical interludes. The look of the show is intentionally low-budget but highly creative. The humor ranges from the silly to the surreal, but stays happy and sweet. Much like a children's show, only with balls jokes.

Part of the show's appeal is its homemade vibe. The visual elements (including the animations) are based on Fielding's art, while Barratt composes all of the music (and plays a mean guitar). Many of the extras are Barratt's and Fielding's friends and family.

The Mighty Boosh was a stage act, then a radio series, before it became a TV show. It returned to the stage between Series 2 and 3. Another live tour took place between 2008 and 2009. The whole crew reunited in 2013 for several music-centric stage shows in the UK and one at Festival Supreme on Santa Monica Pier.

If you've ever wondered what would happen if the characters of Bob Fossil and Dixon Bainbridge got their own show, see Snuff Box.

This show provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Pretty much every character played by Rich Fulcher, and a few others as well:
    • Anyone who expresses an interest in Howard is generally overly aggressive, unattractive, and deranged: Eleanor from "Eels", Old Gregg, etc.
    • In "Call of the Yeti", Kodiak Jack, a grizzled old mountain man takes a fancy to Vince, much to Vince's disgust. The mountain man tries to romance him, but seems perfectly willing to force himself on Vince, but Vince manages to fight him off using his hair straightener.
  • Acting Unnatural: Done with Howard pretending to talk about jazz and Vince pretending to pretend to listen. While they're both decked out in goth attire. It doesn't work.
  • Aerith and Bob: The Shamans consist of Naboo, Saboo, and... Tony Harrison.
  • All Just a Dream: "The Nightmare of Milky Joe" has Howard and Vince creating a complex society of coconut puppets on a deserted island, then getting imprisoned for murder. But it was all a nightmare induced by rancid coconuts. Until the end of the episode, when the duo see Milky Joe, a character from the "nightmare" on TV performing a song Howard wrote earlier in the episode.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Bob Fossil seems to like certain male characters... a little too much. Vince, Howard, Naboo, Bollo...
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: When they're captured together in "Tundra", Howard tells Vince that he loves him. Vince laughs, but tells Howard that he loves him as well, even though Howard's pride is too injured to believe him. 'You're just saying that because I said it to you. It doesn't work. It doesn't mean anything.' 'No, I love you!'
  • Anything That Moves: Vince Noir. Pandas, Yetis, Polar Bears, Monsters, anything, although he usually just gives them cuddles.
  • Ascended Extra: Bollo. Also, Rudi was initially a one-shot character but had almost a whole episode dedicated to him after series one.
  • Aside Glance: The guys will occasionally break the fourth wall, including an aside glance. After breaking Howard out of his "jazz trance," Vince turns and smirks at the audience.
  • Ass Shove: The Spirit of Jazz possesses Howard by sticking the nozzle of the vacuum cleanerhe's imprisoned in up.. you know where.
  • At Arm's Length
    Vince Noir: 'I'm the confuser! Is it a man? Is it a woman? Ooh, I'm not sure if I mind...'
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the fifth episode, Rudy van diSarzio boldly proclaims, "Some call me the Dream Weaver...others call me Photoshop."note 
  • Bamboo Technology: Cars literally made out of bamboo in "Milky Joe". The same episode also has elaborate buildings and a video camera all made of bamboo.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Vince always looks fabulous and has perfect hair and skin no matter what crazy adventures and danger he encounters. This is particularly evident in "Jungle", where Vince hacks through the jungle in a suit and looks perfect the whole time, while Howard ends up covered in cuts, dirt, and leaves, and in "Fountain of Youth", where Vince's hair and skin stay perfect even when the duo are buried up to the neck in sand in the desert and Howard bakes. The second one is apparently due to magical sun cream.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Ivan the hairy Russian carpet-guy, who saves Howard and Vince from an encounter with the Hitcher. He HATES slap bass. Also, the polar bear Vince meets in Tundra, but only to Black Frost. To Vince, however, the polar bear is straight-up Beary Friendly.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Frequently, Vince and Howard are rescued due to gratitude-driven interference of beings that Vince was randomly generous to:
    • In "Fountain of Youth", Sandstorm shows up to rescue the Boosh from an animated tree controlled by The Hitcher, out of gratitude to Vince for giving him gloves that allowed him to masturbate.
    • In "The Strange Tale of the Crack Fox", the homeless man Vince gave his cape to shows up to rescue Vince and Howard out of gratitude for the cape, and provides a crucial distraction by fighting the Crack Fox.
  • Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts: While driving alone at night, Howard picks up a creepy hitchhiker, The Hitcher, a violent magical being who has existed for hundreds of years and seemingly can't be killed.
  • Berserk Button: Don't criticize Howard's work. Also, if you are in the presence of one of Vince's stalkers and attempt to harm him, you will die. Always.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Howard gets sent to Monkey Hell for bumming a fox, after being made fun of for this for most of the episode. Howard hastens to point out that this is just a rumor, though the fox seems to disagree.
  • Big Damn Kiss: A Fake-Out Make-Out example. Vince kisses Howard in "Party" to save their lives, but it turns out to be more meaningful for Howard because he had never kissed anyone before, and causes him to temporarily declare himself as gay.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: "The Call of the Yeti" focuses on the Yeti, but they're rather different from the usual portrayal as white, fluffy snow monsters. The Yeti live in the Englishnote  woods, and are large, long-haired, brown creatures with a magical, hypnotic siren song that turns people into hippies, and they have a colonial social structure with a queen. Normally they hibernate for decades on end, but they periodically emerge to mate with humans.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: A scene from "The Chokes" pokes fun at BBC Three's sister, BBC Four, basically saying it's all documentaries which are boring and intellectualist. And they actually got to use the real BBC Four symbol.
  • Black Comedy Rape:
  • Boxing Kangaroo: The Killeroo is an Ax-Crazy variant. It punches Howard bloody and nearly eats his face, and he only defeats it thanks to Vince squeezing its testicles.
  • Brainwashed: Howard, Vince, Naboo and Bollo all get hypnotized by the Yeti's song in "The Call of the Yeti". They essentially turn into hippies, clad in white robes and flower crowns, and sing an infectious song about how great it is with the Yeti and how you should never leave or bother with your friends ever again.
  • Brick Joke: Many examples, almost Once per Episode.
    • In "Jungle", Vince claims, "I'm King of the Mods." Later, Mod Wolves turn up and dance with him instead of attacking.
    • In "The Chokes", Montgomery Flange resents Sammy the Crab for beating him to a role... playing a crab. At the end of the episode, it's revealed that the juicy role Jurgen Haabermaster is looking to cast Sammy in, but ultimately casts Howard in, is also a crab.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Howard flies into a violent rage if anyone even starts to criticize his work. He even punches Mrs. Gideon for it!
  • Call-Back:
    • The trumpet-playing rabbit from "The Priest and the Beast" makes a cameo in "The Crimp"
    • Also in "The Crimp", Vince's obsession and strange friendship with Gary Numan in "Tundra" gets a nod with the real Gary Numan hiding in the shop's closet.
  • The Cameo: Roger Daltrey, Gary Numan, the bands Razorlight and the Horrors, Diva Zappa as Howard's girlfriend
  • Card-Carrying Villain:
    • The Hitcher, a self-proclaimed "Cockney Nutjob" who boasts about his relationship with Jack the Ripper and his love of cutting people up.
    • The Crack Fox. Deleted scenes effectively make him a Dark Messiah for urban animals trying to Kill All Humans.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Don't kill me! I have so much to give!" Delivered by Howard whenever he gets captured or threatened.
    • Howard ending sentences with "sir".
    • For Vince, everything is "genius!"
  • The Cavalry: In a typical episode, Howard gets captured by the Monster of the Week, and Vince comes to rescue him. When Vince also gets captured, either Naboo or a creature Vince was kind to shows up to rescue them at the last minute. There's a pile up of The Cavalry in "Hitcher", when Howard and Vince are in dire straights as they are being menaced by The Hitcher. Naboo, Bob Fossil, and Bryan Ferry all charge up to rescue them, and collide. Instead, Ivan the Bear charges in and attacks The Hitcher, freeing the duo.
  • Celebrity Paradox: In "Eels", it's shown that The Horrors exist in the Boosh universe, and that Vince is familiar with the band, as he uses his Celebrity Radar to track their guitarist. A few episodes later, in "The Chokes", The Horrors guest star as a completely different fictional band called The Black Tubes, and they don't seem to remind Vince of anyone.
  • Celibate Hero: Rudi in "The Priest and the Beast." Assuming you don't count his guitar.
  • Chekhov's Gag: About once an episode, an idle joke early on in the episode becomes crucial to defeat the Monster of the Week. For example- Vince's overstuffed suitcase, which kills the Queen Yeti in "Call of the Yeti".
  • Chekhov's Skill: Vince's hairstyling abilities seem like simply a testament to his vanity, but they come in handy in some surprising, crucial situations:
    • In "Bollo", Vince's skills and a jar of Naboo's Miracle Wax are crucial to helping Howard escape from Monkey Hell, as they're used to give the Ape of Death a makeover.
    • In "Call of the Yeti", Vince uses a hair straightener to fight of a would-be rapist.
    • In "Nanageddon", Vince uses hair spray to stop an evil demon from stabbing him and Howard.
  • Childhood Friends: Vince and Howard have been friends since primary school and were in the same class.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Many characters would qualify, but none as much as the Moon.
    "Some people go awwww, look at the moon up there with his milky white face... he's all gentle. And others go UGH, he's a vanilla rapist, get 'im away from my kids."
  • Cloud Cuckoo Land: The place Howard and Vince live in is supposed to be London, but instead of British currency they use euros, animals attempt to get busy with humans (and indeed talk and DJ at clubs) and no one finds it odd, time travel is as simple as hailing a taxi, sometimes popstars are birds, magic is real and involves both bureaucratic councils and a lot of drug taking, and strange, immortal Cockney green witches inhabit the streets.
    • It would seem this extends to the rest of the solar system, as the Moon is something of an Eldritch Abomination (apparently having driven a man who looked up to the Moon to "[Have] a shit on a salad."), is completely and utterly batshit insane, and often mentions other planets as living beings, with Jupiter showing up to eat a fake moon that inexplicably appeared from nowhere.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Inverted, in numerous moments in all three series, reference is made to the age difference between Howard and Vince; sometimes they are the same age, sometimes they are up to 10 years apart. These moments are invariably followed with a musical cue and pointed looks into the camera.
    • After Naboo tells the story of the peacock and the magpie in "The Power of the Crimp", Naboo and Bollo are shown to be watching Peacock Dreams in "Party".
    • After talking about them at length in "The Priest and the Beast", Naboo is shown to have a poster of Rudy and Spider in a subsequent episode.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Offend a Shaman, and they will turn their back on you: slowly rotate their whole body away in one smooth motion, while a jangly baseline plays. It's generally treated as a horrible thing to experience despite a lack of apparent ill effects.
  • Crowd Song:
    • Everybody join in! "Bouncy bouncy/Oh such a good time/Bouncy bouncy/Shoes all in a line..."
    • Bob Fossil attempts this and fails in the radio series with the "Nicey nicey zoo zoo" song, partly because no-one joins in, partly because, in his excitement, he hurls a small child into the lion enclosure.
  • Cute Kitten: Naboo gives Howard a picture of kittens in a barrel to look at, as a form of Anger Management therapy. The one on the right is named Philip.
  • Dance Party Ending: Crops up pretty often when Vince and Howard use song and dance to resolve their problems. If it doesn't happen at the very end, the song will be reprised in The Tag. See Vince's dance with the Mod Wolves in "Jungle", The Hitcher's song and dance number in "Eels", everybody dancing at the end of "Party", etc.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Montgomery Flange in "The Chokes." Could also possible apply to Howard in "Bollo" when he calls Vince from Limbo, though he does come Back from the Dead.
  • Deal with the Devil: Howard sold his soul to the Spirit of Jazz in exchange for musical talent.
  • Death by Adaptation: In the radio series, Joey Moose turned up alive during the events of "Mutants" and even helped Vince and Howard on their quest. In the TV version, he's Killed Off for Real at the start of the episode. His actor Dave Brown played one of the mutants (Specifically the breakdancing one), so it's possible he was turned into that mutant, but the mutant shows no recognition towards Howard and Vince so it's up to interpretation if this was meant to be Joey or not.
  • Death Is Cheap:
    • The episode "Bollo" is almost entirely based around the death of the eponymous gorilla. He becomes a major character in Series 2, and even makes a brief cameo later on in series 1, wherein the fact that he died a few episodes ago is not mentioned.
    • Also, Saboo and (presumably) Tony Harrison die in Series 2 only to return in Series 3. Not to mention the Hitcher, who was liquefied in Series 2 but returned in the next series perfectly intact.
  • Decapitation Presentation: The Hitcher does this with Vince and Howard in the live show. He doesn't just hold them up.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Old Gregg is obsessed with finding another man to marry him, and if they reject him, he will happily murder them and nail their bodies to a wall. Just ask Curly Jefferson.
  • Deranged Animation: Word of God says that they wanted one animation per episode, but this proved too much work for the animators.
  • Disguised in Drag: In "Nanageddon", Vince and Howard dress up as old ladies to infiltrate a bingo night in order to catch Nanatoo, an evil demon who is also an old lady. Vince gets rather into his role.
  • The Ditz: Bob Fossil, zoo manager doesn't know the names of any of the animals in the zoo, calling them such things as "grey leg-face man" (elephant), and "black-and-white Chinese person who eats sticks" (panda). Here's his description of a kangaroo:
    "Oh. You know those guys, with the little hands? You know, with the big pockets? You know, with the little version of themselves in the front pocket?"
  • Doppelgänger: Lance Dior and Harold Boon of "The Flighty Zeus" are doppelgangers of Vince and Howard respectively who copy their styles and personalities, much to the annoyance of the latter two. Naboo, Bollo, and even the moon also end up getting their own doppelgangers in the same episode.
  • Double Entendre: "Howard Moon, colon, explorer." "Howard Moon, colon explorer?"
  • Eccentric Mentor: Naboo is an extremely long-suffering and cynical version of this trope.
  • Embarrassing Ad Gig: In one episode, Howard catches the eye of an avant-garde filmmaker and is cast in his next venture - unfortunately for Howard's dignity, the filmmaker has decided to sell out and make advertisements, and Howard plays "the angry crab of trapped wind" in an ad for anti-gas medicine.
  • Everyone Can See It: Every single character on the show, including one shot extras, think that Howard and Vince are in a relationship.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Vince is frequently hit on by several male characters.
  • Evil Laugh: The Hitcher has a nice cackle.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Played straight with Dixon Bainbridge, voiced with the suave baritone of Matt Berry.
  • Evil Twin: Played with - the 'Flighty Zeus', consisting of Lance Dior and Harold Boon, who copy Vince and Howard and essentially try to steal their lives. They also have evil copies of Naboo and Bollo to round out their troupe.
  • Expy Coexistence: Rudy and Spider are clearly modeled after Santana (they play similar psychedelic fusion rock with bongos and Rudy looks just like Michael Carabello), but Santana also exists in-universe and are their biggest rivals.
  • Fake Band: Kraftwork Orange, Orange Work-Kraft, Pete Neon (half-flamingo, half-pop star), Terminal Margaret, Rudy & Spider, Black Tubes (played by real band Horrors). The radio show also includes the Ladder Coins.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: In "Party", angry, violent Dennis the Shaman confronts Vince, prepared to kill him for cheating with his wife. Vince insists that he is gay and in love with Howard in order to escape, and proceeds to passionately make out with Howard for an extended period.
  • Fartillery: The Crack Fox uses his bad diet against Vince to render him unconscious.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: In "Journey to the Center of the Punk", Howard and Lester Corncrake shrink themselves down and get injected into Vince's body in order to hunt down and kill the toxic Jazz cell within his body. Howard has to talk his way through guard white blood cells and make his way to Vince's brain, where he meets his brain cell.
  • Fan Disservice: Bob Fossil's Mating Dance. Bob Fossil in a bikini. Basically, Bob Fossil whenever he tries to be sexy.
  • Fat Idiot: Bob Fossil doesn't seem that intelligent.
  • Faux Yay: Vince kisses Howard to fool an angry shaman into thinking they're in a relationship, but despite Howard taking it a bit more seriously than Vince at first, he quickly gets over it when a girl that he's attracted to shows up. Vince then gets jealous for about a minute before another girl shows up, and he leaves with her.
  • Flashback: Howard selling his soul to the Spirit of Jazz in exchange for musical jazz talent.
  • Flanderization: Vince and Howard, in Series 2 and especially Series 3. Vince becomes more vain and self-centered, while Howard becomes more uncool and out-of-touch, traits that were hinted at in Series 1 but not the main focus of the characters.
  • Le Film Artistique: In "The Chokes", pretentious Danish filmmaker Jurgen Haabermaaster makes these sort of films. One example, ''The Doctor and the Pencil'', "an exploration of pain and rage… so playful" features a doctor and a man in a pencil costume screaming at each other while an unshaded lightbulb swings between them; the doctor also pounds a piece of meat with a telephone handset while yelling "MAKE THE CALL". It's shot in black and white with enough Chiaroscuro to make everything creepy.
  • Foreshadowing: Howard and Vince's conversations throughout Party set up their Fake-Out Make-Out session and Howard's resulting temporary infatuation with Vince in several ways: Howard practically falls in love with a girl he'd only spoke to once and states that if he doesn't get with a woman soon, he's "going gay". Vince tries to explain that it's not that simple and that Howard is the least gay person he knows. Howard also says he doesn't fancy Vince, but Vince egotistically insists that all men do. Later, Howard is revealed to be a virgin who's never even kissed anyone. He declares that when he finally does "make that leap across the physical boundary, it'll be forever".
  • Fountain of Youth: Naboo is immortal because he has access to a fountain of youth on the planet Xooberon, which is in the form of a shower. In "Fountain of Youth", Howard, Vince, and the Hitcher all try to get access to it.
  • Funny Afro: In "The Priest and the Beast", Rudy and the Spider both sport comically oversized afros, fitting their status as silly, over-the-top parodies of hedonistic, self-important 70's rock stars. Rudy's character flirts with Modern Minstrelsy, as he has some, uh, dark colored face paint as well.
  • The Gadfly: Naboo acts like this at a party after a bottle (used to play Spin the Bottle) breaks. He claims that it wasn't and ordinary bottle and that they released a demon that's hiding inside one of them, causing everyone to worry. He then clarifies that it will only possess the body of a virgin. This causes Howard to scream in terror. Naboo then says that he was only joking, causing an embarrassing moment for Howard.
  • Gag Penis: Spider Dijon has eight of these, hence his Meaningful Name.
  • Games of the Elderly: In the episode "Nanageddon", Vince and Howard try to impress two Goth girls by summoning a demon called Nanatoo, which appears as an elderly woman. When she steals the magic book that can send her away again, Vince and Howard track her down to a bingo hall, where she's blending in with other old folks.
  • Genius Bonus: The unflattering portrait of Howard painted by Vince in "Mutants" appears to be inspired by surrealist artist Rene Magritte's The Art of Living
  • Gilligan Cut: Frequently employed, a few choice examples:
    • In "Charlie", after hearing Bob Fossil's plan to get the pandas to mate by dressing up as them to make them jealous, Howard declares indignantly that this plan is inhumane and he'll never stand for it. Cue cut to Vince in a panda costume.
    • In "Hitcher", Howard is driving alone at night and sees a hitchhiker along the side. He mutters to himself "Yeah right, like I'm gonna pick you up." In the next shot, the Hitcher is sitting next to him in the van.
    • In "Call of the Yeti", Naboo gives Vince a pep talk about resisting the Yeti Queen's siren song, but reassures Vince that he personally will be fine since as a shaman, his mind is a fortress. Then there's a cut to Naboo singing to the Yeti's song, completely entranced, while Vince is still unaffected.
  • The Ghost: Vince's friend Leroy. He's appeared onscreen a grand total of one time, and even then he was wearing KISS makeup and a wig so we're not entirely sure what he looks like.
  • Ghost in the Machine: In "Journey to the Center of the Punk" Howard enters Vince's brain to find it ruled by his single anthropomorphic brain cell, supported by a staff of secretaries and security guards.
  • The Grim Reaper: There's a whole society of grim reapers in the afterlife, and an ape version for apes. They all act like Cockney cab drivers.
  • Groin Attack:
    • How you gets to kill a 'roo.
    • The Cockney Cockpuncher.
    • Dixon Bainbridge's habit of kicking Bob Fossil in the crotch, often as a greeting.
  • Guttural Growler: The Crack Fox, whenever he gets serious.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Hitcher, after deciding that kids these days don't like eels and Victorian imagery.
  • To Hell and Back: In "Bollo", Vince travels to Monkey Hell to rescue Howard after he's sent there by mistake. Vince is able to convince the King of Monkey Hell to let them both go after by giving the king a makeover that gives him better hair.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": During the Future Sailors tour, Howard casts himself in his own play as humanity's "handsome," "strong," and "powerful" savior, the only one smart enough to predict and combat global warming and reintroduce jazz music to the mutant race during the post-apocalypse. Vince promptly inserts himself into the play as a half-unicorn, galaxy exploring fashion expert with a (male) Sexbot, ready to save the mutants with his fashion superpowers.
  • Hermaphrodite: Old Gregg. He's got a manginaaaa! Howard as well apparently. According to Old Gregg he has a "shenis". And they're going to make sweet, sweet love.
  • Historical In-Joke: In the episode where they get lost in the zoo, Howard's mentor sees Vince and shouts "A Mod! I am a Rocker, he is a Mod. We are mortal enemies!" This is a reference to the two eponymous subcultures which clashed in England during the early to mid 60s.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Between almost all of the characters at one point or another, most prolifically Howard and Vince.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Played with by Eleanor. Howard is the prostitute, not her, but after taking advantage of him, she then saves his life from the Hitcher.
  • I Have Many Names: Rudi van DiSarzio: "I go by many names..."
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Kodiak Jack licks Vince's hand, considering him a "nubile princess".
  • Improbable Hairstyle: well, Vince's hair is always improbable, but it's exceptionally so in "The Nightmare of Milky Joe", where it still looks perfect and buoyant after what seems like months trapped on a desert island.
    • Not to mention "Journey to the Centre of the Punk."
    • Inverted briefly in "The Power of the Crimp", when Vince temporarily has a... er... "probable" haircut, and it's an enormous shock to the system for everyone involved (the audience included).
    • Then there's a mullet on a 68-year-old sailor.
    • And a perm on the Ape of Death. Not that there's a specific hairstyle you'd expect the "Ape of Death" to have. But if there were, it probably wouldn't be a perm.
  • Incorrect Animal Noise: Pete Neon is apparently part flamingo, but he makes peacock noises.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Howard Moon, Fox Bummer.
    • Vince and his Panda, the same Panda who eventually steals Miss Gideon away from Howard.
    • Bob Fossil and Bollo; they had a 'summer fling', which Bob apparently didn't get the memo that it's over
    • In Auto Boosh, one of the early Boosh stage shows, both Howard and Vince sleep with a yeti, and get romantic tattoos to commemorate the fact. (Howard thought they had something special!)
  • Just Friends: Howard and Vince are very close friends with quite a lot of romantic subtext between the two. However, they never canonically get together, and any more concrete moves to be together are revealed to be a joke.
  • Killer Gorilla: Bollo is implied to have been this in his youth. He cut off his own friend's feet and head for irritating him, for crying out loud!
  • Lampshade Hanging: "Party," which has some fun with the age difference between Howard and Vince (and actors Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding).
  • Large Ham: Dixon Bainbridge in particular, and Bob Fossil Chewing the Scenery in every episode he appears. The Hitcher also qualifies here, and the other characters have their moments.
  • Latin Lover: Spider Dijon. It's the whole reason he's in trouble with the Betamax Bandit.
  • Lecherous Licking: Both Alan and Kodiac Jack (both played by Rich Fulcher) greet Vince by licking his hand.
  • Leitmotif: Whenever Naboo comes on in Series 1, a trippy sitar riff plays in the background.
  • Let Me Tell You a Story: A couple times Howard and Vince go to Naboo for advice, and he tells them a story about some pop stars that's supposed to help (but usually doesn't):
    • In "The Priest and the Beast", the Framing Device for the episode is Naboo giving Howard and Vince advice for how to get their creative juice back by telling them about how Rudi and the Spider found the New Sound. They don't seem to take much away from it though.
    • In "The Power of the Crimp", Naboo tells them a story about the origin of the web series Peacock Dreams, which is presented as a fable but turns out to be real. Results in a Lost Aesop as the Peacock's response to being copied is to die alone in obscurity, which doesn't help Howard and Vince with their similar problem.
  • Lovely Assistant: Parodied in "The Chokes", where Bollo serves as Naboo's "lovely assistant" in Naboo's Stage Magician act, and performs a sexy dance befitting the part.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The Spirit of Jazz to Howard in "Journey to the Centre of the Punk". First he's his father, then his uncle, then his second cousin twice removed on his sister's side.
  • Magical Realism: The Boosh could definitely qualify as magical realism, as it involves elements of magic that the characters generally take in stride and pay little mind to.
  • Magic Carpet: Naboo has a flying carpet. He uses it, among other ways, when he can't get a taxi, and to fly through space.
  • The Man in the Moon: Is completely insane.
  • Maniac Monkeys: The Ape of Death and his two mandrill guards, who nearly toss Howard and Vince into the Pit of Eternal Fire, just for Howard bumming a fox. Thankfully, he becomes a lot kinder after Vince fixes his hair.
  • Meat-O-Vision: Parodied in "The Nightmare of Milky Joe"
    Vince: Hey, Howard, why don't we eat this guy? He's made of eggs and sausages.
  • Menagerie of Misery: The first season of this show fits this trope well. In the episode "Jungle", Howard tells Vince the zoo has been falling apart since the old manager, Tommy, went missing. Bob Fossil, the current manager of The Zooniverse, is often shown to be incompetent and unable to even remember the names of different animals, often referring to them by describing their appearances instead. He also often makes demands and comes up with ideas that put the zookeepers and animals at risk, such as making Howard box a kangaroo.
  • Metaphorgotten: How you gets to kill a 'roo. "Grab his balls! Christ, you're thick!"
  • Mind Rape: Again, the Hitcher, in "Eels".
  • The Minnesota Fats: Lance Dior and Harold Boon in "The Power of the Crimp".
  • Mobile Shrubbery: Parodied brilliantly in "Mutants".
  • Modern Minstrelsy: White dudes in blackface and brownface (and playing very broad racial stereotypes). Although the Spirit of Jazz isn't really "blackface", per se. He's supposed to be Baron Samedi as a reference to New Orleans culture.
  • Moment Killer: Many, many times, but (usually) not in a romantic way; Howard and Vince are best friends, but since both are stubborn, they find it very hard to admit their affection for each other and it usually takes a near-death experience for them to say they need one another. Vince's distraught speech to Howard in the episode "The Power of the Crimp" seemed to shock them both.
  • Monster of the Week: Sandstorm, Evil Tree, Mister Susan, the Black Frost, Old Gregg, the Ape of Death and the Mod Wolves. The Hitcher probably counts as well.
  • Moral Myopia: The Betamax Bandit is a dreaded robber and womanizer who travels into a small Mexican village and rapes all the women, but a main reason he wants to kill Rudy and Spider is because Spider Dijon slept with his wife.
  • Mountain Man: In "Call of the Yeti", the cabin the cast stays at is owned by Kodiak Jack, a grizzled mountain man with a thick beard and vaguely Southern accent, who wears flannel and is so in-touch with nature he is confused and barely capable of using technology. He's also a Depraved Bisexual who nearly rapes Vince.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Vince is impossibly pretty, and often wears skin-tight jumpsuits and shirts with the male version of Navel-Deep Neckline that show off his good looks.
  • My Card: Old Gregg and Eleanor
  • Nasal Trauma: Vince uses a hair straightener to burn Kodiak Jack's nose until he stops trying to rape Vince.
  • Never My Fault: Saboo is of this opinion towards Naboo.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Played with by Eric Phillips. He's dangerous, not because he's a crocodile, but because he's a master of Black Magic who turned Charlie the Blob Monster into a vacuum cleaner that ate and killed innocent Inuits.
  • Nobody Poops: Dear god, subverted in "The Hitcher".
    • Taken further in the first stage show, where he pisses on the audience members.
  • Non-Action Guy: Vince. He mostly sits around and looks beautiful, although he sometimes goes to rescue Howard
  • No Name Given: The Pencil Case Girl and Vince's love interest at the end of "Party".
    • She was revealed to be Old Gregg wearing a disguise in a deleted scene.
  • No Fourth Wall: Every episode in series one begins with Vince and Howard, in character, explaining what is going to happen in the show and usually discussing Howard's acting skills.
  • Noodle Incident: Many many. But, the Incident With The Binoculars. It was in The Guardian.
  • Odd Couple: Howard and Vince are inseparable Vitriolic Best Buds despite their many differences. Howard is uptight, pretentious, and uncool, while Vince is a ditzy, vain and popular manchild. Nevertheless, they live together and are even hinted to share the same room or bed.
  • Official Couple: If you count the Live show, then it's Howard and Old Gregg.
  • Ominous Fog: Heralds the appearance of Old Gregg.
  • Once an Episode: The Moon, the musical numbers... it's got a couple of Once an Episode bits.
  • Perky Goth: Vince, temporarily, in "Nanageddon".
    Vince: You're going to have to get a bit dark, like me.
    Howard: Like you? You're the least dark person I've ever met. You're like candy floss.
  • The Philosopher: Rudi van Di Sarzio; subverted with Howard. (Subverted with Rudi too, honestly; he's not as wise as he seems. Makes sense, considering he and Spider are basically exaggerations of Howard and Vince)
  • Plagiarism in Fiction:
    • The conflict in "Charlie" comes from Dixon Bainbridge's plan to steal credit for Vince's Charlie book and publish it in his own name.
    • In "The Crimp", Vince and Howard face off against Lance Dior and Harold Noom, who are bent on stealing the duo's style, music, and popularity and music career. Lance exactly copies all of Vince's outfits, and he performs Vince and Howard's "future sailors" musical number exactly after telling Vince and Howard it was uncool and out of style. They even steal Vince and Howard's secret musical style of Crimping!
  • Poor Man's Porn: Sandstorm, an incredibly horny being made out of sandpaper, is seen getting very excited over a furniture catalog. His compulsion to sand everything seems to be a sexual one and he seems to be attracted to furniture, so this is equivalent to having lingerie catalogs in your porn stash.
  • The Power of Rock: Highlighted in "The Priest and the Beast". Rudi uses his epic fusion riffs to fight the Betamax Bandit, though he requires help from the Spider and his new psychic powers to finish the job.
  • Raised by Wolves: Sort of. Vince grew up in the forest, raised by Bryan Ferry, and was raised with various animals as his best friends and adoptive brothers. This may explain why he can talk to animals.
  • Reading Tea Leaves: Parodied. Naboo is having tea with Bob Fossil, when he suddenly declares that Vince and Howard are in trouble. When asked why, he states that he read it in the tea leaves. The tea leaves are arranged in the shape of letters spelling out "Howard and Vince are in Trouble". On the drive, they spell out directions for where to go.
  • Real After All: Charlie. Dixon Bainbridge shouldn't have tried plagiarizing him from Vince.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Temporarily for Howard and Vince in Party. May have happened earlier off screen: Vince states that Howard throws women he's interested in into a wheelbarrow:
    Howard: I was drunk
    Vince: I know. So was I. I was in the wheelbarrow.
  • Retool: Each series makes significant changes to the setting and character dynamic. Series 2 makes Naboo and Bollo main characters while disappearing main villain Dixon Bainbridge and love interest Mrs. Gideon, while Howard and Vince both become more selfish and prone to conflict. Series 3 focuses more on the London (as opposed to fantastical) settings, while bringing in more recurring side characters.
  • Robinsonade: "The Nightmare of Milky Joe" is all about Vince and Howard getting trapped on a desert island, struggling against the elements, and forging a new society in the harsh environment.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: The King of Monkey Hell and all his minions, while clad in vaguely BDSM-looking gear, perform a Glam Rock number at the end of "Bollo".
  • Running Gag:
    • Howard's tiny eyes
    • Vince being mistaken for Howard's wife or girlfriend.
    • Anytime someone says "gather round" a person dressed up like an inanimate object gathers around as well.
    Not you, naan bread!
    • Howard and Vince tend to pretentiously describe their musical performances as "making shapes"
    • Howard making unsolicited plugs for Weather Report to somebody, only to be ignored or mocked.
  • Secret Test of Character: Rudi van di Sazio seems to like these.
    • Vince asks Rudi for help finding Howard, but Rudi acts coy and wise and offers him a pipe instead of being useful. When Vince returns the pipe because he doesn't want it, Rudi tells him he has passed the test, and then actually helps him find Howard.
    • Parodied shortly thereafter when Rudi asks Vince to kiss his balls, and Vince refuses for obvious reasons.
      Rudi: "You have passed the test. Most men would have kissed my balls."
    • In "The Priest and the Beast", Rudi offers Spider tickets to a Santana concert, which would have allowed him to abandon Rudi and start a new career with Santana. Spider refuses, and Rudi tells him he has passed the test, and Spider gains enlightenment just like Rudi.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the episode "Party", one of the guests on the dance floor looks suspiciously like Faust from Guilty Gear.
    • The episode "The Legend of Old Gregg" contains an extended homage to George Clinton and the P-Funk mythology.
    • From their Future Sailors tour:
    What in the name of Brian Christ was that about?
  • Show Within a Show: '
    • The Pieface Showcase features in the second series, while the Colobos the Crab appears in the radio variation.
    • Peacock Dreams could also be an example, though the show itself is only described rather than shown. It seems to be real in-universe, though.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Several characters have mistakenly treated them as a couple, often thinking that Vince is Howard's wife. They usually leave it alone, but Howard denies it in a couple of episodes.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The Shamanic Council of "super magic men" has exactly one woman, named Diane.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: In the live show, Vince tries to get Howard to wear pink pants. Howard refuses, saying he has poise and dignity. Vince says he has poise and dignity, too—while putting the pants on his head.
  • Sorry, I Left the BGM On:
    • "Lester, will you put that trombone down?"
    • Happened at least one on the radio show. In "Jungle", the swelling music behind Howard's dramatic scene cuts out when he stops the cassette tape he was playing it on. May have also happened twice with the mood music in "Mutants."
  • Sound-to-Screen Adaptation: Although, more accurately, Stage to Sound to Screen to Stage and Page Adaptation.
  • Special Effects Failure: invoked Lampshaded. In "Bollo", when Howard appears as a ghost, Vince tries to see if he's ethereal by putting his hand through him, but he can't, as Howard is still solid. Howard respond by reminding Vince that they spent all the budget on Vince's hair and didn't have enough money for the effect.
  • Spirit Advisor: Montgomery Flange in "The Chokes"
  • Stock British Phrases: The Hitcher loves calling people slags.
    • He peppers his conversations with a variety of Mockney phrases pretty much constantly.
      • Lampshaded by one of his minions who mutters "Apples and pears and other assorted fruits"
    • Also, Colin the Death Cab dispatcher, who mutters at one point, "I'm a Cockney, I'm a Cockney", after a (not-quite) stereotypical round of "How's your old woman?" with the cabbie who brought Howard to Limbo.
  • Stylish Protection Gear: Vince's 'glam rock ski suit.'
  • Subculture of the Week: Vince jumps from subculture to subculture in different episodes: sometime's he's a Glam Rocker, then a Mod, then an electro raver, then a hippie (this one involuntarily, due to the effects of the Yeti), then a goth, then a punk. Lampshaded by Howard in "Journey to the Center of a Punk".
  • Super Cell Reception: One character receives a phone call on an expedition somewhere in the arctic. We can safely suspend our belief to include it, considering that at the time the expedition, comprised of two zoo-keepers, was trying to defrost the frozen last words of an explorer killed by the Black Frost.
  • Surreal Humor: The core of the show's humor is weird, nonsensical things constantly happening, which the characters generally take in stride. Consider the Running Gag of someone saying "gather round" and a person dressed as an inanimate object gathers round too, only to run away never to be mentioned again after a mild rebuke.
  • Swallow the Key: Played with in the episode "Jungle" - Bob Fossil eats a key, slowly biting bits off and chewing them.
  • Take That!: In the live show, against a cereal mascot they felt had ripped off their pseudo-musical rhythmic spoken-word style. Their vengeance is delightfully depraved.
  • Talking Animal: Bollo, various bears, fish, the Crack Fox, etc.
  • Threshold Guardian: In "Bollo" there's Mr. Susan, a weird creature made of mirror-cleaning rags who guards the room of mirrors, which is a waypoint along the way to the Death Cab station. He attempts to scare Vince about the dangers of his journey and the possibility of picking the wrong one, but Vince just insults him and ignores his attempt to offer riddles. In a subversion, Vince ignores all his challenges and warnings and instantly picks the correct mirror.
  • Toilet Humor: Shows up from time to time. The Hitcher pees out a torrent of lime green urine that's high-pressure enough to blast him off his feet, and in another episode spends an uncomfortably long amount of time peeing on Howard's face, somehow. In "The Priest and the Beast", the Spider also pees a comically large amount, letting off streams like hoses in all directions — because, of course, he has eight dicks.
  • Training Montage: Lampshaded a couple times.
    • In "Killeroo", Vince and his boxer Cockney uncle decide a training montage is the only way to get Howard ready for the fight later in the day. It doesn't work, as he's just as weak as ever afterward.
    • In "The Chokes", there's a montage of vignettes with Howard learning various acting techniques with Montgomery Flange. When Vince complains that he wasn't able to get a hold of him, Howard replies indignantly that he was in a training montage.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: There are other hints of this throughout the series, but in "Party", after Vince kisses him to get them out of a situation, Howard declares that he's gay and argues that all their previous arguments and bickering were all just a part of their sexual tension. However, this only lasts a little while, and they both end up with women by the end of the episode, and it doesn't come up again.
  • Vinyl Shatters:
    • On a dare, Vince bites into one of Howard's records and breaks it into pieces.
    • In a different epiosde, Vince listens to Howard's records, decides they suck, and hands them to Bollo, who smashes them into shards with a loud shatter noise.
  • Weird Moon: The moon talks, often rambling about some nonsense mostly unrelated to anything else going on in the plot.
  • When Elders Attack: An episode had an army of grandmothers attacking people with different items, such as knitting needles. Made more dangerous by the fact that they're actually demons inadvertently summoned by Vince and Howard.
  • Witch Doctor: Naboo and the Shaman's Council are made up entirely of "super magic men".
  • Yawn and Reach: Between Howard and a coconut.


Video Example(s):


The Angry Crab of Trapped Wind

Howard's dream of being cast in a film made by his hero, avant-garde director Jurgen Haabemaaster, doesn't play out the way he hoped...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / EmbarrassingAdGig

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