Monday, 30 November -0001

Radio Review: 13 March

Vic and Bob really are surreal comedy gold

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-dog-176Comedians in conversation can have a tendency to try and top each other, measuring each laugh gained jealously. This is why it’s lovely to hear Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer talking, as it’s just two good friends cracking each other up. If anyone else joins in, grand, and both share in the delight.

So, last week’s Chain Reaction on Radio 4 was a treat. The previous week, Reece Shearsmith had chosen Mortimer, who then, touchingly, chose his comic partner (for next week, Vic’s chosen the glorious Olivia Colman). Normally, on this show, there’s some vague attempt to be semi-serious, but that went out of the window for the full half-hour.

Instead, Bob asked Vic some of the questions that truly matter, such as ‘Do you think dogs have been getting a lot bigger recently?’ and ‘How do you pass the time in supermarkets?’, as well as revealing Simon Cowell’s penchant for sharing buttered bed sheets with a pet leopard. In addition, Reeves claimed that Miles Davis had taught him to play trumpet on a caravanning holiday and admitted to committing an unspeakable act on the Magna Carta.

Unlike many lesser surrealists, Reeves and Mortimer know the value of ordinary words in incongruous settings. A perfect example came when Reeves was asked his favourite place to work. Mortimer offered ‘an outbuilding or annexe’ as options, but Reeves came back with ‘In the cloisters’.

I appreciate that all of the above might leave you cold, especially when seen on the printed page. You either get Reeves and Mortimer or you don’t. I’ve been a fan for 25 years. When I had a pair of badgers visiting my garden, I named them Vic and Bob. They’re touring the UK in November, and I can’t wait. The comedians, that is, not the badgers.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email:

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