EXCLUSIVE Interview: The Mighty Boosh's Rich Fulcher on His New Book and YouTube Hit "Rapper With a Baby"
Rich Fulcher is a hugely successful, immediately recognizable American comedian. The thing is, he is hugely successful and immediately recognizable in the UK, where he's one of the main supporting characters in the cult hit series The Mighty Boosh, and one of the two creators of even more cultish, brilliant comedy series Snuff Box.
Fulcher splits his time between LA, the UK and the rest of the world now, but he's currently in Los Angeles promoting the release of his new book Tiny Acts of Rebellion. He will be appearing at Amoeba Records this Saturday, May 1st as the special host of Amoeba's Monthly Charity Auction. Previous items at the auction include from Slayer promotional underwear and Michael Jackson puffy stickers (winning bids: $5 - $20)" to Brian Wilson box seats for 4 at the Hollywood Bowl ($550). Amoeba matches the winning bids.
We spoke on the phone with Fulcher about the book, the event, and the curious situation of his delayed fame in his native land.
Also, SCOOP: Fulcher is gonna be appearing at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater on June 11, and will very likely open the Cinefest the previous week.
What are you doing in LA? Are you living back in the States?
Well, I'm always back and forth. When I started doing the Boosh I kinda started living over there more and I'm kind of full-time there, but I basically roam the earth now. I was just at the Melbourne Comedy Festival in Australia and I'm here for a couple of months now. I did a character named Eleanor the Tour Whore and I'm doing a couple of shows here soon.
I think I'm opening the Cinefest June 2nd through the 4th and I'm also gonna be at UCB June 11th. They haven't announced it yet. The UCB is a definite but the Cinefest I'm about to pencil in. Come out!
Is it weird that you did all this work in the UK three, four, five years ago and the US awareness of it has just exploded in the last year or so?
It does help to get the DVD out. Sometimes they are a little slower in the UK in getting stuff, you know, injected. I know it's taken a while--when I was in the UK Flight of Conchords was in the store before the season had finished airing. I think the US marketeers are a little more aggressive in terms of getting the word out.
Most people in the US have discovered your work through short, out-of-context YouTube clips, and then they have to find the actual episodes and series any way they can, and they tell other people. Like the "Boyfriend" bit in Snuff Box--It's very popular as a YouTube mimi-meme but few people know about the show it comes from and how the skit fits within the general premise.
I know! That's the disappointing part of it because Matt and I really took a long time writing the shows and they kind of have an arc to them and it adds a whole other level when you watch them as shows.
Where you involved at all in the musical aspects of The Mighty Boosh or Snuff Box?
I would be lying if I said "I did the music!" but I did have contributions. Little things here and there. The Boosh is working on an album right now. I did a couple of songs, "The Ape of Death" and I did a thing called "The Fossil Rap" on the radio show. But mostly Julian Barratt wrote the music and he's amazing and Matt Berry in Snuff Box was instrumental for most of the music.
But my big contribution was "Rapper With A Baby."
That's another huge one for YouTube forwards!
Yeah. I just kept seeing these guys with these little babooses for the babies and I thought it would be interesting to have them rapping. And a couple of other songs Matt and I contributed, like the sticks song.
Do you play?
I play the keyboards. I'm not like "supergood," but when the band got together for the Boosh I was confident enough to play keyboards on songs like "Eels."
When we did the tour in the UK I played a couple of songs on the keyboards. The Boosh has a lot of great studio musicians, like Dave Westlake, the drummer, when we went out on the road, he used to be with the Sneaker Pimps, and Julian is a very accomplished musician, he was in jazz bands and stuff. Noel of course is a frontman. Dave Brown who plays Bolo is really quite a percussionist and singer. I'm trying to hold up my end with singing and keyboards.
Are you a music collector? Do you buy records?
I haven't been collecting recently, but I love soundtracks of movies and TV shows. I have the Batman TV soundtrack which has some great music in it. Some of those shows just had great players. I Dream of Jeannie had Hugo Montenegro, I think.
But recently I haven't been collecting as much. I'm getting stuff on the internet.
Well, you're on the road all the time.
I gotta keep light!
What's this new book you're presenting at Amoeba?
We had just written the Book of Boosh, so I thought I wanted to try something of my own. I was thinking "What should I write about?" and I thought "Well, all my life I've been doing all these tiny acts of rebellion. You know, when you're younger you start putting things in the shopping cart that your mom doesn't see.
I just realized I kept doing them throughout my adulthood. My rationalization is that if you do these things, you don't have to do huge acts of rebellion. If you do these things on a daily basis you won't go off like that Michael Douglas' character in Falling Down. You'll be able to function in society.
Edgar Allen Poe said we all have this little imp inside of us. This thing that makes us want to kind of laugh at funerals and other things we're not supposed to do. The book is basically outlining all these things you're not supposed to do but you do them. Like flipping somebody off under the table when they can't see you.
Would picking comedy as a career be the professional version of the tiny acts of rebellion?
Exactly. Like if you're in a hotel room and they have the "Do Not Disturb" signs, you go and make your own, saying "Do Not Resuscitate." It makes the day go better. It brings comedy into daily life.
What's gonna happen at the Amoeba event?
I'm hoping to do some reading from the book. But the first thing is there's an auction of various memorabilia and things. They're deciding as we speak, but definitely things worth bidding on. That goes on for half an hour and I'll read some stuff from my book and then we'll have a signing. They have people doing these charity auctions every month. I think David Cross is doing it next month.
Thanks for talking to us!
Thanks for watching Snuff Box! So, you're the guy who's watched it here.
No! There's an underground of good UK comedy fans in the US. Word-of-mouth hits like BrassEye, Nathan Barley, Garth Marenghi, all the stuff the UK producers take forever to release on DVD.
That's so frustrating. It's made and then it's not promoted. And now it's getting harder to make them over there as well, unfortunately. If you pitch to them a studio, multi-camera sitcom, that's what they like. They love The IT Crowd. Peepshow is great, but it's always on the ropes.