Opinion: In Praise of Vic & Bob

Vic & Bob

It was announced yesterday that Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer have added extra dates to their autumn tour due to popular demand. They still haven't announced London dates, but I’d wager that they could fill the O2. The demand certainly seems to be there*.

Their audience at the moment is probably a combination of middle-aged Big Night Out fans and a younger audience coming to them fresh through House of Fools. This second series has been an absolute delight. Normally sitcoms dip in the middle of a run but this one has been consistently brilliant. There has been Vic’s demented dances (and his Bruce Forsyth of course) and the deranged face-off with the moth to name just a couple of highlights. Every instalment brings fresh moments to treasure.

I’ve been absolutely thrilled at their success. And not just because I might get some royalties. It’s rare that an act that has been around for a quarter of a century can scale new creative heights again. It’s more common that they tread water or go into a decline. Look at the disappointing reviews Lee Evans got for his last tour. The only act I can think of who has had a similar resurgence is Stewart Lee.

The reason Vic and Bob are doing so well is fiendishly simple. They are working together again. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a double act who click so well. That’s why House of Fools is making such an impact where their various appearances without each other in recent years have been relatively forgettable by comparison. It's the chemistry stupid.

This issue was highlighted for me recently when Vic appeared as a member of No Direction on Comic Relief last Friday. At the risk of agreeing with Piers Morgan I thought this was one of the weaker moments of the night. Yet get Vic dancing like a loon with Bob in House of Fools and I’m in comedy heaven.

And then there were the recent editions of Chain Reaction on Radio 4. Bob being interviewed by Reece Shearsmith was enjoyable in an informative way about the duo's early days, but Vic interviewing Olivia Colman was more awkward. Vic's warped humour just didn’t quite work in this context. Yet between those episodes there was an episode with Bob interviewing Vic, which was pure unalloyed joy. The madcap freeform banter was like Big Night Out if it had been made for radio.

So I just wanted to whack something out today to sing their praises. A lot has been said recently about comedians losing it as they get older. Vic and Bob clearly haven’t lost it. And they won’t. Until one of them loses the other.

Get your tickets for R&M’s Poignant Moments Tour here.

*ed's note 20/3: They have just said they are doing Eventim Apollo. Info here.


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