Whatever it is that Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer have you have to wonder if sitcom is the right vehicle for it. Part music hall revival, part avant-garde experiment their method takes as kindly to restrictions as Mia and Ronan Farrow take to a Woody Allen season at their local fleapit cinema. That House of Fools, their first sortie into situation comedy in a decade, is funny is a relief and probably down to a less-than-strict adherence to sitcom convention. To be fair, I don’t think we were ever expecting The Wright Way.
We’re in Bob’s house which he shares with his contemptuous and rarely seen Norwegian son Erik (Daniel Simonsen). Vic’s a permanent fixture of course, tolerated not welcomed. Next door neighbour Beef is a regular guest. He’s Matt Berry playing Matt Berry as Matt Berry always does but as one-trick ponies go you won’t get much better. There’s Agbonlahor and there’s Berry – can’t split them.
He’s Matt Berry playing Matt Berry as Matt Berry always does but as one-trick ponies go you won’t get much better.
When Beef sets Bob up with a broad we have our plot. Watching Conan the Barbarian on the settee is the date, now all Bob has to do is clear the house of the unwelcome shitbirds who linger like the stink left by season six of Dexter and acquire a new TV set after Vic fucks the current one with a mediaeval gauntlet. Ah, that old chestnut.
Characters introduce themselves to the tune of Fiddler’s Dram’s Day Trip to Bangor (why wouldn’t they?); visual gags and violent slapstick abound. Vic and Bob still have that ear for the daft way everyday people speak. The knack of making you feel in on a private joke that this comedy relies on is a bastard. It’s capturing smoke in a jar with a busted lid. It leaves as quickly as it comes but they sustain it for the first half-hour here which is impressive going. This is what Noel Fielding thinks he’s making with Luxury Comedy. BBC2 shitcanned Shooting Stars but this is their consolation prize – it could well be a better show.
The verdict: Some gibberish it is so serious.
Marks out of 10: 7.5