Before they shot to stardom with their celebrity TV quiz ?Shooting Stars,? Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer ? real names Jim Moia and? Bob Mortimer ? wrote and performed the most bizarre and, in my opinion, funniest sketch shows of recent years. The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer ran for two series of six episodes each and is still considered by most Reeves and Mortimer fans to be their finest and weirdest achievement. STYLE Vic and Bob present the majority of the show from their large studio (which they call their house), emerging from huge ?R? and ?M? letters at the beginning to sing a song and spending a lot of the show sitting behind their desk of assorted props. The interaction between the two exaggerated characters is my favourite aspect of the show and becomes something of an interesting, running storyline as the series progresses, but Vic and Bob?s show was also interspersed with sketches featuring familiar characters, with varying degrees of success. The humour is quite unlike any other show, with its mixture of silliness and downright bizarre events balanced out by comic violence and petty disagreements between the foolish Vic and the (slightly) more sensible Bob. This is the kind of show that will only appeal to a minority, but that minority will love it; I am a huge fan of the show, but some of it seems too daft even for me to enjoy, especially the scenes with puppet gangster dogs, and the farting men (explained later). STORYLINE It may seem odd to attach a storyline to this weird and largely random show, but Vic and Bob made an effort in planning out a lot of their studio scenes to result in a great ending, during the first series. There was constant talk of Vic over-spending on foolish items an
d rubbish guests, leading to Bob eventually telling him to consult him on any expenditure over £2,740. In the final show it comes to light that the high budget fruit advertisements that had littered the previous five weeks had all been part of Vic?s elaborate plan to advertise Reeves and Mortimer fruit products, but when Bob informs him that they don?t actually sell fruit Vic admits that he spent over wo million pounds on the lavish ads. This sense of continuity made this series enjoyable to watch week by week in a way that less structured sketch shows never did. One of the catch-phrases throughout the series is ?it doesn?t really matter does it??, said in a silly voice, but as it approaches the end it is Bob?s duty to become responsible and tell Vic that it does indeed matter as they will become bankrupt. But he does have gorgeous hands. CHARACTERS In-between Vic and Bob?s banter and feature presentations are short sketches featuring recurring characters. SLADE: The most memorable are perhaps the soap operas chronicling the life of seventies pop group Slade, with ?Slade in Residence? and, in the second series, ?Slade on Holiday.? Vic and Bob starred alongside ?Fast Show? stars Paul Whitehouse and Mark Williams in the low-key domestic squabbles between the family unit, usually based around sending the younger ones to bed without a Cup-a-Soup. Slade on Holiday was equally pointless and saw the foursome enjoying Tuesday and Wednesday-flavour Cup-a-Soups in the great outdoors. MULLIGAN AND O?HARE: This fictional singing duo, played by Bob and Vic wearing a false beard and artificial breasts respectively, often s
ang about lost love and their love of the outdoors in funny operatic voices it is difficult not to imitate. O?Hare?s beloved fiancé Rose left him for a bloke from Allied Carpets, which was the inspiration for their most popular song on their two-day nationwide tour. LE CORBUSSIER ET PAPIN: One of the more stupid offerings, this saw two Frenchmen with dubbed grunting walking around in trenchcoats and glasses, breaking wind in silly tunes. OTIS AND MARVIN: Vic and Bob black up for this weird performance that sees their heads above tiny false bodies with arms moved by obvious wires. They sit in a dock for the whole series, watching the boats coming in and going out again, and occasionally offer advice to Vic and Bob through their TV screen, such as when Queen guitarist Brian May contracts the dangerous condition, Guy Fawking of the leg. THE BRA MEN: Two irritable Northern men who take offence at anyone mentioning their bras, even when they were not doing so. Lines that caused such outbursts include ?I thought you had popped out? and ?Strap it on.? UNCLE PETER: Not a separate sketch, this deranged old man would wander onto the set during the studio scenes and shout about donkeys or demand payment for his rubbish band performance. ONE-OFFS The sketches can get a little too silly sometimes, something you will have no doubt noticed from reading that, but the one-off specials that make each episode unique are where the real comic genius of Vic and Bob comes into play. The documentary film presentation of their Reeves and
Mortimer Secret Factory shows a hilarious use of amateur filming, while their rendition of Masterchef complete with huge-headed, floating presenter for no apparent reason and a woman who has used her real ears in a dish resembling Jesus? face, are priceless and memorable. Some of the humour of Reeves and Mortimer comes from unexplained visual jokes; their version of Noel?s Telly Addicts sees Bob dressed as Noel Edmonds by wearing a huge naked suit with cans and items shoved in to make lumps, and the incomprehensibility of this would make me wee my pants, were I of that disposition. An episode also featured a very long drawn-out affair in which Bob tried to trick people into sitting on his matchstick chair, eventually succeeding. MUSIC Even if you hate the humour, this programme is raised above the competition for its grand scale, helped greatly by the opening and closing songs. Most episodes ended with a variant of the same song in which Vic and Bob would discuss smells they enjoyed, the best example being when this was converted into a song, with visuals, about how many things Bob had given birth to. ?You?ve given birth to a Ford Fiesta I?ve also given birth to Frank Bough?s wife Nesta You?ve given birth to a horse-drawn necklace? The opening songs were more impressive and covered a number of events from air conditioning systems and getting trapped in a flat, to the story of a boy who slipped on a vicar?s Loose Muesli: ?Watch out, clergy on a cliff top Don?t let your children run free? And my personal favourite, Vic?s ode to his lucky charm; an enormous roll of carpet. ?It?s my lucky carpet, let me tell you how it?s at.? ?Where did you get it Vic?? ?I bought it from a ma
rket!? ?Who from?? ?The bloke who sells carpets.? The songs were all very well planned and executed, and viewers could at least be drawn in to the show before deciding they preferred the easier viewing of the Good Life instead of these modern young men. At least they hardly ever swear, so it's funny viewing for all generations. VERDICT As you can tell, I love this programme, and I have done since I first saw Slade on Holiday at about age eight. The duo returned with a similar format show called ?Bang Bang it?s Reeves and Mortimer? in 1999, and although it was similar it lacked some of the originality and enjoyment of this, perhaps coming as it did after the less extreme ?Shooting Stars,? a popular and funny show but one that many people, including Vic and Bob themselves, felt a little disappointed by. Reeves and Mortimer were truly comedians who stood alone during the mid 90s, separate from the dull ?Men Behaving Badly?-style sitcoms and the excellent dark side of comedy pioneered by ?The Day Today,? ?Fist of Fun? and ?I?m Alan Partridge.? Both series of the Smell of Reeves and Mortimer are still available on BBC video, but have yet to be released on DVD format.
Vic and Bob, Reeves and Mortimer - somewhat confusing eh? Naah, everyone knows which is which by now don't they? Just in case - Vic Reeves is the tall one with the bulbous head and Bob Mortimer is the shorter one with the bendy face. The Smell Of Reeves And Mortimer grew out of the massive success of Vic Reeves' Big Night Out - a silly little theatre piece that did hugely well all over the UK. Back in these days I wasn't too bothered with these two - overly silly, random comments and really not at all funny. Let's just say they grew on me, the cheeky chappies. OK then, The Smell (as it will now be called), what's it all about? Basically, you've got Vic and Bob, a desk and a whole load of tomfoolery with sketches, songs and a cast of a few other loonies running about to add just that little extra colour to the whole thing. The way a show begins, as a rule, is with a voiceover talking about some fictional subject or taking an excessively sinister tone on something very benign. We are then introduced to the stars of the show - yes, it's Reeves and Mortimer for example: Voiceover: ...but there's a darker side to cheese, and here's Vic to tell you all about it... (Close up on Vic) Vic: VOODOO. And into a song we'll go. Following the song there's usually some kind of argument with Uncle Peter, a trip to see Otis Reading and Marvin Gaye, an imaginary star guest and a couple of sketches before we finish on a final song detailing what both Vic and Bob like the smell of - options ranging from The Poor to Paul Gascoyne's Knapsack. So, onto a quick who's who and we'll be done in time for tea and crumpets. Uncle Peter: ------------ You really need to see him to believe him. Another holdover from the Big Night Out shows and one that was rightly kept on. Saying little more than "Donkey", "
;Bow-Wow" and "Don't send me back to t' dark place" but being understood by Vic and Bob in a Lassie/Flipper/Skippy kind of way. The rows usually come up over something and nothing and Vic then proceeds to blast a lot of crockery - gun or sledgehammer. Otis Reading and Marvin Gaye: ----------------------------- Well, all I can really say is "Hilarious" - the resident agony uncles of the show, all Marvin wants to do is have a bit of fun and all Otis wants to do is sit on the dock of the bay and "Watch the ships coming in, and going out again" the arguments kick off on a regular basis as all Otis's advice tends to involve watching stuff - we've been advised to watch the sun coming up and going down again - hours of entertainment. Barry White: ------------ My all time favourite comedy impersonation. Vic Reeves, hugely inflated false belly and what can only be described as wattles around his neck. His legs dangle off the edge of a chair (clearly not his real legs - all spindly and floppy) and he goes about seducing the camera in his Barry White voice. The best by far was his attempt to get off with a length of copper piping. "I'm just and old, out of luck with a sexy lady and an oven glove......Mmmmmmmmm, that's great man!" and then onto.. "The heat from the fire has made her legs go red, I'm going to have to rub savlon on them before we go to bed" True classic, in Vic's strong northern accent, made extra deep for the occasion. Love it. Slade in residence: ------------------- The boys take off the band Slade - cup-a-soup obsessed in a street of rock and pop stars. Trying to get UB40's cat to stop wee-wee'ing on the marigolds is about all I can do by way of the perfect example. The farting French blokes: --------------------------
All they do is fart a lot - the only bit of the series I have never found funny! Mulligan and O'Hare: -------------------- My Rose has left me, I'm in a mood. She went to Kenya, With the bloke from Allied Carpets. She wasn't immunised, And that's a legal requirement. She's been increasingly slapdash, Since we bought our new hearthrug! Based on a kind of Foster and Allen kind of duo, both with breasts (weird?) and both singing mainly through their noses. A great little section and one that will be a classic forever. I could go on but the general theme is that they have a load of characters, usually played by Vic and Bob or the odd guest appearance by Martin Clunes or the likes. Overall: -------- You've probably guessed by now that I'm well into Vick and Bob, The Smell is one of those silly little shows that is great because of its ridiculousness, whether it's Vic's bongo playing that continues after he's stopped bongo-ing, Bob's love of "Centre parting monthly" or Uncle Peter's band it is a continuous stream of surreal comedy. I love the sets, I love the surprise guests (the Natrel woman - you know, the one that blends with trees....quality), the songs and the whole set up. In a nutshell, a great and silly show from two incredibly clever blokes (both are actually trained lawyers.) Takes all sorts I suppose ;)
Jim Moir and Robert Renwick Mortimer are men of an acquired taste. They are like marmite, either they leave you wanting more or you can't see what all the fuss is about. Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer first appeared on saturday Night Live , to then be given their first show Vic Reeves Big Night Out on Channel Four. How I laughed at a fruit bowl and a bald man who was greatly afeared of chives. Week after week I sat there recording every episode with the fervour of mad woman. I must know all the songs. I must know what the man with the stick has on the end of his pole. All these questions addled my mind like a month old pint of milk bereft of modern refridgeration. Then this halycon of mirth ended and alas Wavy Davy was satan... But, wait and strike my Aunt Mavis pink with a mackrel (a damn wide fish), Reeves and Mortimer bounced into our livingrooms like zealous labrador puppies under the guise of The Smell Of Reeves and Mortimer on September 21st 1993. But with Aunty Beeb nestling them to her bosom could they possibly continue their boyish antics? Yes and No. Some characters have another big night out.. The lovely brothers Donald and Davy Stott continued to wear bad clothes and rant about marzipan while hosting their own Question of Sport (Not Real Sport) and host their own chat show. Greg Mitchell , the golden retriever, 'Oh no my wife's gonna kill me when she sees this' makes a guest appearance from Vic Reeves Big Night Out alongside new cockney geezer Corky the dog New Characters included: Uncle Peter : The wild haired retro clad uncle who shouts 'Donkey' and 'Don't put me i'n't' dark place'. A bit too long sometimes I thought. Otis and Marvin: Vic and Bob dressed up as Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye, sitting on the dock of the bay. Both have geordie accents and have puppets legs. Inspired. Really laughed my pants off when the
y took a tour of Prince's wardrobe. To explain is to destroy. Simply watch and see. Slade: Vic , Bob, Paul Whitehouse and Mark Williams (Fast Show) as the seventies Glam group. It is scary how much they actually look like them, but find humour and comfort in the arguments over Pot Noodles, Cuppa Soups and Fairy Liquid. Muligan and O Hare: Probably the main reason why I had to be escorted of public transport in the early ninetees. I only have to think of this pair and I lose all sensibilities. Bad folk singers who warble about things such as Mulligan's wife leaving him for the bloke in Allied Carpets and Gerard Depardeu's nose. 'She's become increasingly slapdash since we bought that new hearth rug' Top moments involved: Vic being Barry White. A parody of the food and drink show. Tricky Licky the security dog. Le Corbussiere and Papin , the farting frenchmen doing the Emma Peel and Treble Hot Winnie fart moves on a roundabout. So to sum up. You will like The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, if you liked Big Night Out or have a perchant for the strange and purile like I seem to have. I think that it is perhaps their most polished moment to date , but the early chaos of Big Night Out was so contagious that it may not be bettered. Now how do I get them to forget about acting and start being silly all over again? *NB The title is taken from the Reeves and Mortimer version of Noel (Thanks Dave) Harrison's The Windmills of your Mind.(But is incidently also a line from Oh Mr Hairdresser from I will cure you. Yes I am an anorak.)
FOG FOG FOG. I could go on but I doubt I could give these two justice. When I first saw Vic and Bob during Vics Big Night Out, I laughed about it for years. Les' face when he saw spirit levels was a picture of tranquility. I honestly thought things couldn't get any better. The the duo moved to BBC2 and Bobs name was added to the programmes title. Bobs increased repsonsibility and credit made the show what it is. The addition of Uncle Peter, back from the dark place, gave a new dimension to the programme. Who could forget his band; "I want to be Erotic I want to be in Tattler But more than that, I'll tell you that I want a Cup of Tea", Peter - don't we all. There were also Marvin and Otis watching the ships coming in and going out again whilst answering agony aunt style questions, from sailors standing on frozen cat piddle, about Top cat videos. Personally I feel the musical element of the show was beyond dount the best. Each show started with a musical number and ended with the smell of it theme music. Such musical numbers included "Its a kind of magic", played whilst Vic is dipping a dog into cider. Then theres a deeply tragic song about loose muesli dropped by a clergy causing the death of a young Elvis impersonator; "Carol-Anne kept on boozing She didn't hear a word we said Watch Out Clergy on a clifftop Now little Elvis is dead" Then of course we have the dulcet tones of Mulligan and O'hare; "My Rose has left me I'm in a mood Shes gone to Kenya With the bloke from Allied Carpets Oh Rose how I miss you But where are you now Shacked up with your salesman YOU TREACHOROUS COW" The series concluded with Vic applying for the job of a foghorn operator, which was really a clever practical joke by Bob. Vic was left in a coma due to the shock,
where we realise that hes been in a coma all along and the whole show has been a dream. Bob tries to soother Vic with the closing Song about an Orphan boy. To sum up about the smell of reeves and mortimer, their brand of humour is unlike anything ever and has not been attempted since (apart from a poor attempt by Harry Hill). It isn't possible not to laugh continuosly throughout the shows, even when the jokes are bad, like the examples below; VIC: I've had my Loft Converted BOB:Really? VIC: Yes its now Roman Catholic! VIC: Just met a man from the Gulf BOB: Really was it Dangerous VIC: No worse than any other Petrol Station VIC: Have you farted? BOB: No VIC: What? Never? Ha Ha, I can just imagine you all laughing now. The second series was very good too although not as good. We did see some notable newcommers though such as Matt Lucas (George Dawes) and Charlie Higson (Fast Show) playing the unmistakable Swiss Tony. Vic and Bob went onto do 3 more excellent programmes Shooting Stars, Randall & Hopkirk and Bang Bang its Reeves and Mortimer. I feel that regardless of what Ronnie Barker thinks we should have more of this pair on Television. In particular a spin off comedy about the Club in Bang Bang its... would be excellent.
With characters like Mulligan & O'Hare, uncle Peter, and of course the Stotts, this has to be the most insane, strange, and hillariously funny things on the TV. Ever. With bazzar songs warning you about the dangers of spilt muisly on clifftops, sketches about two flatulent French cyclists, and not forgetting about the Reeves and Mortimer factory in wait for it.... Kent! The reviews of the publications: "Side parting weekly" and "Center parting monthly" are hillarious. "Page 55 of MY publication is cut into the shape of a Webley automatic pistol"-Vic "...AHHHHH, so what. My publication has a transparent motorised fishcake which walks across the page and points to difficult words and aids you in the reading of them"-Bob. It really is a laugh a minuite, or possibly more with the greatest comidians alive.
You people seem to have forgotten the visual delights of "Bang Bang its Reeves and Mortimer" Though perhaps not as well resieves as "The Smell of..." it still had some memorable classic goings on in there. Are we having fun? - Its Giro Day! or something like that! I can't quite remember! "The Club" ... need I say more? (is this 75 words yet?!?!?) What about Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) - was that good - I think so. I only managed to view a couple of episodes - I was always out on the raz by that time on a Saturday evening!
It's difficult to compare Vic and Bob to any other comedians, because I think they are so different to anything else that has come before them. Personaly I think they are far away the funniest comedians in the past 10 years, nobody even comes close. At the beginning and end of every show there is a surreal comedy song, often involving 1 or more of Vic's even more surreal sketches. If you've never seen 'A specially formed ice arch for climbing over Doves', or 'A Kestrel having sex above a television set' then I would advise you to watch!! They also do many sketches, for example, the bra wearing men, the farting Frenchmen and Otis Reading and Marvin Gaye, sitting on the dock of the bay, waiting for a ship to come in, then...er....go out again. No ships ever come in, ever. I can well understand some people not getting the joke at all, as I think that they are truly a 'Love them or Hate them' kind of act. True Reeves and Mortimer fans can often be heard in Pubs up and down the country, reciting the lines of R+M sketches in the vain hope that someone else will find it funny. They usually fail. I shall leave you with one of the all time great R+M gags. BOB : Vic, have you farted? VIC : No BOB : What, never??!! ...tap the bongo's, play the shoe heels, comb hair with squirrel etc etc...!!!! As I said, some people just don't understand!
This is utterly, utterly hilarious stuff. I can’t believe that, at the time I’m writing this opinion, nobody else had left one. I know so many people who are strongly on one side of the fence with regard to this programme, and with regard to Reeves and Mortimer in general, either hating or adoring. I am one of the latter, and as such, I urge you to watch a couple of episodes at the very least, because this is a re-inventing comedy style of comedy, and if you like it, you’ll love it. Vic and Bob are surreal, singing about Roman coins, merging slapstick with irony, and parodying everything from films to Otis Redding.