Come with us now on a journey through time and space…
That’s the opening of the British cult hit, The Mighty Boosh, and it’s the only warning you’re given before entering a world of zookeepers, shamans, DJ-ing gorillas, a moon that talks, cockney hitchhikers, evil jazz spirits and that’s just scratching the surface. The Boosh trickled onto American television this year, appearing in the 1am Sunday time slot on Adult Swim in March. It’s one of those shows where there’s no middle ground. You either love it or hate it, or don’t even know it exists. It’s like a children’s show for adults. Melissa Block from NPR described it (accurately, in my opinion) as “a cross between Monty Python, H.R. Pufnstuf and Flight of the Conchords.” There’s hilarity, costumed characters and boy is there ever music.
The Boosh musical trademark is one of their own invention —something known as a crimp. A crimp is an acapella song, sung in a style similar to beatboxing where the topic is random, the words are creatively fitted to satisfy the needs of the rhythm and happen in the middle of a conversation regarding… anything. It takes at least two to crimp and the musical stylings are accompanied by any variety of hand movements. You know what.. just watch this:
Not for everyone, but very much for me.
Comic-Con was stop number two in the Boosh’s first trip to America. Not only did they have a panel scheduled, but two autograph sessions and an off-site Boosh Bash (a Comic-Con afterparty of comedy and a full cast DJ set). The appearances would coincide with the US release of all 3 seasons of the television show as well as the CD release of their original BBC Radio program (or rather… programme).
As soon as the announcement was made, Twitter became the center of my universe for all things Boosh. I was excited to see celebrities I follow on Twitter re-tweet posts about the Boosh (including The Office’s Rainn Wilson adding “Welcome, Boosh. Pls teach r sketch comedians abt smart, imaginative comedy.”) In addition to the boys themselves tweeting, the BBC had someone tweeting about the DVD release and the progress of all the events planned in the different cities. The Boosh stopped in NYC for the Jimmy Fallon show and announced on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace that they’d be doing a signing and a secret show —both drew masses of Boosh fans and not everyone was able to get inside the show.
Whoever was behind the Twitter, they were amazing. They interacted with the followers and followed them back. They offered out challenges to Boosh fans, trying to get the topic #mightyboosh trending. They re-tweeted quotes from fans and Boosh-related goodness in the works for Comic-Con (t shirts, costumes, art…). And as I stood in line Friday afternoon, waiting for the Boosh to arrive for the signing; the mysterious tweeter was somewhere there, updating with cell phone pictures and text descriptions for the Boosh fans not at the Con.
It was strange and still kind of fun not knowing who they were.
Even with the strong turnout at the signing, I wasn’t sure what the following panel would look like. Would it be just the people we met in line? Would it be bursting at the seams or half full? Not wishing to take any chances, we got a seat early and as the time got closer the room started to fill, and fill, and fill. By the time the Boosh took the stage, the ballroom was maxed out. When a promo video of clips from the show began, the room erupted into a level of screaming that would worry even the most die-hard Twilight fan. If the Mighty Boosh was ever worried a 1am time slot on a cable channel was going to keep them from getting an American fanbase — said concern was certainly removed.
Interesting note: Noel asked if anyone had a problem with the British accents on the show. There was a resounding “no” from the crowd. He then explained that TV execs told them that Americans wouldn’t be able to get past the heavy accents. I’ve never considered an English accent a challenge.
The Boosh Bash that ended our day at the start of Saturday morning (11pm to 2:30am), was in a venue that didn’t allow cameras. So pictures from the Bash are few and far between; but I know I’ll never forget it. Held at 4th and B, it was half stage show and half DJ set, with Boosh cast members spinning as well as dancing and interacting with the crowd. I can only guess, but it really looked like they were amazed by the turnout, the dedication of American fans that was on-par with the rabid masses of Boosh fans in the UK. They took pictures of themselves with the crowd at their backs and genuinely seemed to be having as amazing of a time as we were.
Comic Con has come and gone and more or less I’m back in a world where when I say “The Mighty Boosh”, people don’t know what I’m talking about. What Boosh-fans I do run into, it’s like being part of a secret club; like how people who drive Jeeps wave to each other when passing in traffic.
While Rochester might be slow to embrace the Boosh, the media is starting to take notice. Since San Diego, the Boosh have popped up in: The New York Times (twice), Salon.com, in a multiple part video series on the popular blog BoingBoing.net, and driving home the other night I was elated to hear them come up on NPR’s All Things Considered (Public Radio and British Comedy, two great tastes that taste great together).
I have the DVD’s but I keep mightybooshDVD in my Twitter feed. I know when Boosh news breaks (an expanded American tour, pls), they’ll be there for me.
And I’ll be there for the Mighty Boosh.