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6 Shows like The Mighty Boosh: Come with Us Now…

Ciara Ruane itcher‘The Mighty Boosh’ was THE cult comedy hit when it came out. Famous for its surreal sensibilities and glam rock aesthetic, to be honest there aren’t many shows like ‘The Mighty Boosh’. However, I’ve done my best. ~ Ciara Ruane

On a Journey through Time and Space

Thanks to Monty Python’s influence, there is enough in the way of surreal British comedy for me to put together a list of TV shows like ‘The Mighty Boosh’. ‘Vic Reeves Big Night Out’ and ‘Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace’ may not have the exact boosh-iness you’ve been looking for, but the great thing about surrealist humour is the variation. Here are some series similar to ‘The Mighty Boosh’ to give you the cult laughs you’ve been looking for.
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Shows Similar to ‘The Mighty Boosh’…

In the 1980’s horror author Garth Marenghi produced, wrote and starred in a ‘groundbreaking’ supernatural hospital drama. The show features modern day interviews with the cast, exploring the dark genius of the show. Except, the show is cheap and clunky, Garth Marenghi is a pompous and untalented writer and worse than that, he’s not even real. He is a creation of comedian Matthew Holness, for which he won a Perrier award.

Starring future Boosh cast Matt Berry and Richard Ayoade (and spot Noel Fielding himself as a weird ape man dwelling in the hospital basement) the show has a more tongue in cheek feel but the same unabashed craziness of the Boosh. It’s cultier than cult but it’s a brilliantly under appreciated gem.

Similarity Match: 85%
It’s a little more acerbic in its wit but if you want weird humour and Matt Berry’s incredible voice, look no further.

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‘Vic Reeves Big Night Out’ (Channel 4, 1990-1991)

An off the wall parody of the variety show format, Big Night Out was the launchpad for Reeves’ and Mortimer’s career’s. It’s madder even than ‘Shooting Stars’, and won them a place as the godfathers of modern surreal humour.

Having the variety show format, it has a different feel to the sitcom narrative of Boosh. However there are no rules, with characters like The Man With The Stick and Morrissey the Consumer Monkey, it’s pure anarchy with a kind of warmth sometimes missing from that style of humour.

Similarity Match: 80%
It has more of a parody feel and an older sensibility, but without Vic and Bob there would be no Vince and Howard.

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‘Horrible Histories’ (BBC, 2009-2015)

Yes it’s a kid’s show, yes it’s educational but it’s also become the surprise comedy hit with people of all ages including students, parents and teachers. The show features historical-based comedy sketches and was inspired by the books by Terry Deary, and despite it’s intended demographic it has received respect from the comedy world and regularly wins British Comedy Awards.

Puerile, wacky and daft, it’s everything kids (and it turns out, adults) want. There are brilliantly clever sketches and parody songs (Roman Emperors rapping like Dizzee Rascal, anyone) and it’s joyful viewing no matter what your age. You also can’t help but feeling the cast are having the time of their lives…

Similarity Match: 70%
It’s a sketch show and it’s for kids, but it has the same love of the bizarre and joyful feel of the Boosh. Stupid deaths, stupid deaths…

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If You Like ‘The Mighty Boosh’, You Will Like…

There are enough shows similar to ‘The Mighty Boosh’ but without the surreality. If you want less Salvador Dali but with the same level of laughs, here are some TV series like ‘The Mighty Boosh’, but not completely alike.

‘Spaced’ (Channel 4, 1999-2001)

Written by and starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes and directed by Edgar Wright, this show launched more careers than Helen of Troy did ships. Pegg plays Tim and Hynes plays Daisy, two nerdy London 20 somethings who pretend to be a couple in order to buy a flat together, but really that’s the least important detail.

The show is the ultimate in nerdy humour and also features the first on screen pairing of Nick Frost with Simon Pegg (Frost worked in a restaurant at the time). The show is responsible for the iconic slow-mo gun fight and some epic ‘Phantom Menace’ rants. If you think ‘The Big Bang Theory’ has the monopoly on nerd humour, you are so very, very wrong. Come get some.

‘Spaced’ is the 90’s comedy without which there would be no cornetto trilogy, and for that alone you should give it a go, Does it come across that I really don’t like ‘The Big Bang Theory’?

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‘Black Books’ (Channel 4, 2000-2004)

Comedy giants Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey and Tamsin Greig play Bernard, Manny and Fran, perhaps the only people who are ever in a crumbling London bookshop. Bernard is a bad tempered Irish borderline alcoholic who hates customers almost as much as I did when I was a waitress, Manny is his downtrodden lackey and Fran is the scatterbrained shop owner next door.

There’s jam in the bath, there’s toast on the ceiling and the air itself is dirty. The shop is a hovel and the owner is a misanthrope of the highest order. And it’s absolutely hilarious. If you want a release after a day of awful customers or if you simply like the idea of freezing a wine bottle and smashing the glass of to make a refreshing ice lolly, ‘Black Books’ is the show for you.

‘Black Books’ certainly has its off the wall moments, but what makes it so brilliant is the dark, dingy reality that the characters live in. That doesn’t make it any less funny though.

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‘Fist of Fun’ (BBC, 1995-1996)

A sketch show from comedy greats Stewart Lee and Richard Herring, ‘Fist of Fun’ is a criminally underrated and, I hate to say it, hard to find sketch/variety show. It’s incredibly clever and brilliantly observed and it features a segment with hobbies you might want to try out such as “egg smashing”, “train ignoring” and “calling Norris McWhirter at 3am and asking him what the biggest kind of leaf is”.

Lee and Herring are comedian’s comedians, and this example of their early work captures their observant yet anarchic humour and ability to dissect comedy itself. It’s not for everyone but it’s a stand out comedy classic to those who appreciate it.

‘Fist of Fun’ is clever and observant, and perhaps less exuberant and more cerebral than the Boosh, but it’s a fantastic little gem for those who can find it.

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Not You, Fire

‘The Mighty Boosh’ and its devout following are perhaps the best proof that “comedy is the new rock and roll”. Its unique humour can’t be exactly replicated, and that’s the best thing about it!

What other lesser known cult gems do you wanna shout about?

Let us know in the comments.

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