Okay, so I apparently had subconsciously made the decision that I would not see Noel Fielding without Julian Barratt, because I knew about the live show, An Evening with Noel Fielding (compliments of the Nerdist podcast), and didn’t get tickets. Until the night before. Thanks Stub Hub. Best decision I’ve made in a long time.
If you aren’t familiar with Noel Fielding, he’s an English comic, and his material is unusual or unique or atypical or something. He’s probably best known for co-creating and co-starring in the Mighty Boosh, a show which has become increasingly sentimental to me of late. I think partly because I live alone now and need to be a grown-up, but really don’t want to lose that sense of magic with the world (there are totally monsters in the back garden. They sang me a lullaby last night). Fielding’s comedy has been termed psychedelic, though he doesn’t seem 100% on board with that categorization. The word “whimsy” got thrown around a lot during the show and I think whimsical comic sounds a little less harsh than psychedelic comic, so for now, let’s go with that.
I’m an angel city dweller, so I saw Noel Fielding at the Fonda Theatre, where I’d never been before. It isn’t huge, but it’s definitely bigger than somewhere like Largo, which meant that it had enough of an audience to get a good energy going (and the show I went to was sold out), but small enough that it felt intimate-ish. And there wasn’t really a bad seat in the house, especially for the portion of the show where Fielding…er, I mean Sgt Raymond Boombox, interrogated the audience. And they serve alcohol at the theatre, so it was nice to take the edge off before your mind exploded. I was on my own, and my social anxiety usually acts up in these sort of situations, but I actually found myself bonding with the girl sitting next to me over a mutual crush on Richard Ayoade.
The show itself was fucking glorious. In the beginning it felt more like a traditional stand up show (though there’s nothing “traditional” about the material). It was all mod monkeys and dreams about anthropomorphic teabags and chicken boys. But then there were animated projections, and singing, and ridiculous costumes.
Mike Fielding (the only person who can moon an audience twice in one show in a way that can only be described as charming) and Rich Fulcher (who seems genuinely thrilled with the world whenever he’s performing) both appeared in the show. At one point, the former played Noel’s wife, while the latter played a triangle. They were all involved in a love triangle and I’M JUST NOW PUTTING THAT TOGETHER, OH MY GOD, THAT’S BRILLIANT. See these things always turn out to be a lot less random than people think.
The Moon (from the Mighty Boosh) was onstage the entire time and when he swiveled around, you’d either get the proper Boosh Moon or the Dark Side of the Moon, the Moon’s evil alter-ego. This did eventually lead to a Pink Floyd joke, which was one of may favorites, but didn’t get the response from the audience it deserved (you annoy me, L.A. We are better than this).
The second half of the show revolved around Noel being “kidnapped,” which allowed for him to play multiple characters from Luxury Comedy (which I’m not as familiar with, but quite enjoyed seeing in the show). The only downside to this is I missed seeing Noel be Noel, but seeing an entire cast created by the few people that were actually in the show was excellent. These characters led the audience into a fantasy world to retrieve Noel. This included plucking some poor guy from the audience (who was a really good sport, but he did just get to be in a Noel Fielding show, so I don’t feel that bad for him) and making him the hero of the story. And speaking of “Heroes,” that’s the song they played at the the end of the show. Just for one last punch in the feels.
And then I went home. And I was confused, because it felt like something had changed. And I frustrated because reality felt unusually crushing. To be honest, I was a little depressed. But I realized that’s actually not a bad thing. For one thing, I’ve been in a bit of creative rut lately, and I really think the show gave me a bit of a creative boost. If I (and other like minded nutters out there) want life to be more like a Noel Fielding show, then I (and we) can do something about it. There’s a whole big mad world out there, and I look forward to going out and infusing some whimsy into it.