Episode 4 was a low point for Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy. The first three episodes of the show had been very inconsistent, with some very funny sketches mixed in with ideas that just didn’t work. But the fourth episode had little going for it. Aside from a Boosh-like opening sketch, the rest of the episode was a disaster, with poor new characters, and unfunny appearances from previously introduced ones.
Unfortunately, episode 5 is another poor episode. The problem Luxury Comedy has is that the majority of sketches are just Noel wearing brightly coloured face paint, and spouting gibberish. While there was plenty of that in The Mighty Boosh, there was also a self-contained plot in each episode, plus Vince Noir and Howard Moon, two relatively normal people to move the story along. Luxury Comedy doesn’t have that, and while Noel sitting in his home has a running sketch throughout the show, the resolution of those at the end of each show rarely makes sense.
So in episode 5, there’s a mostly purple guy singing randomly about mashed potato and fish fingers, while Mike Fielding appears as his sidekick with a racing car driving over his hair. There’s Iain Gauge, who has croissants on his face, and sings to toast, asking ‘Do you love me?’ ‘Non’ is the answer.
Sergeant Boombox, the cop with talking bullet holes on his arm, features heavily in the episode, having his own adventure with his nemesis, Count Ziggenpuss attempting to steal a ruby covered diamond the size of a cat’s head. He also plays tennis with Iain, while Secret Peter umpires (before the ice cream van comes), then has a standoff with Noel, after an animated dolphin fighter pilot has dropped a bomb that Noel decides to nurture as a baby, which is subsequently revealed to be Boombox’s nephew.
Richard Ayoade turns up again as City Gent, blaming Ice Cream Eyes for the falling standards in education, but you wonder why he bothers. Ayoade can and does do much better, having directed one of 2011’s best movies, Submarine. So why is he turning up for a couple of minutes in a mostly poor show?
There are some good moments in the episode though. Dondylion returns, his desperate positivity exposed again, as the sadly admits that the letters he’s sending home to his mother aren’t going anywhere, and his cellmate Ravi (Mike as a mentally challenged chimp) isn’t as clever as he’d hoped. Roy Circles, the chocolate finger, relates a story about his time in South Africa which is quite funny, and the best line is reserved for a stuffed squirrel pointing a gun at Noel.
But for a show that lasts just over 20 minutes, three fairly decent sketches isn’t enough. It’s clear that E4 have left Fielding alone to do whatever he likes with Luxury Comedy, but it is also clear that he has no quality control. The worry is that the show gets progressively worse, and E4 find themselves regretting already renewing the show for a second series. It would certainly surprise me if viewing figures were improving.