Rich is best known for starring in The Mighty Boosh alongside Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt. He brings to life a whole host of characters, ranging from the wild Kodiak Jack, to blind jazz musician Lester Corncrake, to Jupiter (yes, the planet), to the sexually sexual Eleanor the whore, and of course, the irrepressible zoo keeper/club owner/dance teacher/simpleton that is Bob Fossil.
As well as being an amazingly funny actor, Rich has managed to find time to write his debut book, Tiny Acts of Rebellion: 97 Almost-Legal Ways to Stick It to the Man. In the book, Rich gives you 97 different challenges to break the tedium of everyday life, including: stealing your own stuff, greeting a guest with a limp, well-lotioned hand and unbuckling your seatbelt before the plane has fully stopped.
But Rich hasn’t always been into comedy. He began by going to law school and training to become a lawyer. It was quite a leap from law school to comedy, but it has proved to be a very successful transition for him.
I spoke with Rich over email and he was happy to answer some questions:
You’re a real funny guy, but you started out in law school! So what got you into comedy in the first place?
While I was always screwing around in class, I never really performed that much or thought I’d go into comedy…not until law school. I hated it so much that I needed a plan after I graduated so that I wouldn’t get sucked into the whole law firm thing, so I decided to go to Chicago and enrol in The Second City. It was a comedy school of sorts and a place where such people as Bill Murray, Steve Carrell, Joan Rivers…you name it, have all performed.
That’s a pretty impressive lineup of comedians! So how did you meet Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt and get into the Mighty Boosh?
While I met them socially here and there, I didn’t really get to know them until we worked together on a sketch show called ‘Unnatural Acts’, which aired on the Paramount UK Channel (3 people watched it). We formed what you would call a ‘comedy bond’ and then decided to do our own show at the Edinburgh Fringe after we finished. That show developed into The Mighty Boosh with me, Noel and Julian in 1998.
You play so many characters in the show, but who was your favourite character to play?
While there is always a special place in my stomach for Bobby Bob, some of my other favourites are Tommy Nooka, Kodiak Jack and Eleanor.
How’s Bob Fossil? What’s he been up to?
Bob Fossil’s Dance Academy is going strong and has reached 23 members. He is contemplating opening an office in Pismo Beach, Florida is coming out with a new line of fried nun sandwiches.
And Eleanor the Whore? Is she still touring?
Eleanor is taking a break from the road and is awaiting trial for sexually harassing the Arctic Monkeys.
We’ll have to keep an eye out for that one in the media. Give her my love if you see her!
So now to your book! How many things from ‘Tiny Acts of Rebellion’ have you actually done?
All except one, Elope.
And finally, what fantastic future plans have you got?
I just did a film called High Road and I wanna do some more (maybe a Boosh one down the road). I am also planning on throwing wine on passing birds, then arresting them.
You’re welcome Joshy. Thanks for speaking to me. Sometimes I feel so alone.