Monthly Archives: February 2011

Interviews: Noel Fielding – Let’s Dance!


February 2011 saw Noel Fielding take on one of the biggest challenges he’s ever faced: a live dance-off on BBC1 show Let’s Dance in aid of Comic Relief.

Noel was kind enough to talk exclusively to The Velvet Onion on the way to rehearsals.

Noel talked about his appearance on the show, and whilst we had the lovely man’s attention, it would have been churlish of us not to ask about plans for the Boosh and his own forthcoming series.

Thankfully, Noel was more than willing to indulge us.  Here, then, for posterity, is our complete interview…

Hi, Noel… thanks for talking to us today: we know you’re insanely busy!

Original Image © BBC

Yeah I’m on my way to the studio now, actually – I’ve got to do the dress rehearsal today, which is a bit scary.  It’s the first time everyone’s been all together and can see what you’ve been doing for the last two weeks.

It’s quite hard to get to that level.  I’ve sort of learned what I’ve got to do, but its getting all the bits to look good in the dance at the same time.  You always lose one bit, so the middle bits good but the end’s wrong or something. It’s really hard to get everything good.

Obviously when I watch my dance teacher, who is amazing, and then I see myself in the mirror I just go: “OH MY GOD!”   In my head, I thought I was doing what my dance teacher was doing, and when I saw myself I was like: “Not quite…”  I guess it’d be like them trying to do stand-up.

It’s a ridiculously hard thing to learn in such a short space of time, and I’ve never been so tired in all my life.  I’m actually knackered all the time.

How did you end up getting involved? Did they ask you, or did you offer yourself up for exhaustion?

They asked me, of course.  There’s no way I would have volunteered! [he laughs] Richard Curtis sent me a really long, three page email saying it’d be really good if I could do it.  He’s been doing this stuff for twenty years now, so it was a really nice, really well constructed email.  There was no way anyone could’ve read it and thought:  “Nah, I’m not doing that.”

Then you realise just how much work everyone else is doing for it, and he’s been doing it for so long and still manages to write films and do stuff, so I said yes and then thought: “What have I said that for? What a dick!” It was ages ago when he asked, so you think it’ll be fine, but then as it got closer I thought: “Did I really say I was doing that? What an idiot.”  But its fine… it’s been really fun actually. Read the rest of this entry


Interview: Colin Hoult


© Colin Hoult / Dawn Sedgwick Management

Twelve months ago, many of our readers outside regular Edinburgh Festival goers and fans of the London comedy scene had never heard of Colin Hoult.  The star had critical acclaim aplenty – TimeOut had claimed his comedy was a blend of Lewis Caroll & The League Of Gentlemen, and he had won the highly prestigious Writers Guild Award for Comedy.  Those who had seen his live performances would attest to his immense talents, in double act Colin & Fergus, and his own live shows including Zimbani, Carnival Of Monsters and Enemy Of The World.

A stint on Russell Howard’s Good News had greatly enhanced his profile, but it was Zimbani – the pilot he made with David McNeill and Julian Barratt – which really thrust him onto The Velvet Onion’s radar.  After catching his Edinburgh run last Summer, TVO had a bit of a dilemma: here was an immensely talented comic actor whom we wanted to shout from the rooftops about, but whose connection to Booshdom appeared somewhat tenuous.  Was he, for all his talents, outside our ‘remit’, like so many other comics we could mention but not really embrace?

Then came a memorable appearance at November’s Fulchfest, and as we dug deeper, we realised his connections to TVO’s other subjects were far deeper than we had first noticed.  Above all else, he was, and is, ridiculously entertaining, charming in person and hilarious on stage – more than worthy of an honorary place in Booshdom.  Now involved with an upcoming television sketch-show which will include a familiar face or two from these parts, and on the eve of launching a new regular London club night which may include still further familiars, its clear that Colin has established himself as an active part of The Wider World Of Booshdom, as we dubbed it… and his increasing profile in his own right makes him a guaranteed star to watch.

As his audiences grow, and critics continue to take note of his talents, we were lucky enough to talk to Colin in advance of his forthcoming shows across Spring 2011, including the final run of Enemy Of The World later this month.

Hi, Colin. Welcome back to TVO.  For the benefit of those who haven’t seen Enemy Of The World, what can newcomers expect to see?
Well, it’s a character show, as you can probably tell.  It’s very funny, it’s very dark, very strange and different.  Aesthetically, it’s a sort of Weimar Republic Cabaret Show: a Kurt Weil/Burtolt Brech type show.  It’s basically about villains, so we enter a spooky cabaret world, and within that world are all sorts of different characters.

My trademark, if you like, is mixing the fantastical with the real.  What we’ve tried to create is very designed and cool, and a quite fantastical world, and then the characters within it are very real, believable and recognisable.  Also, on top of that we’ve got lots of songs, with fun audience interaction and games.
You do seem to love playing with the audience.  Do you prefer it when the crowd’s up for it?
Oh, definitely.  It’s funny, really, but when you start out I think you’re scared and a bit nervous of what you imagine comedy audiences are going to be like… rabid dogs with fangs and claws, throwing things at you and screaming at you.  I must say I’ve never had an audience of rabid dogs, I’m not sure how that’d work…

But when you get an audience that’s up for it, it’s a lot better!  I try to encourage that sense of rabidity within my crowds.  Sometimes the room is very gentile and nice and the audience just nods, and you feel like you’re doing it for your aunties. Read the rest of this entry