Comedy

The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer Labatt's Apollo, London
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The Independent Culture
Just as you can't be a little bit pregnant, you can't be a little bit of a Reeves and Mortimer fan. You either find the sight of two grown men prancing around in woolly hats, donkey jackets and bras hysterically funny or pathetically juvenile. There was no doubt which camp the audience was in last Sunday.

They whooped as Reeves ran through his catch-phrases - "You wouldn't let it lie... We really wanna see those fingers" - andshouted "What's on the end of the stick, Vic?" to order at the appearance of the Man with the Stick. From the moment the PA announced them as "Libya's foremost air-conditioning engineers", the audience was in R&M raptures. By the end, when the pair sang "I love the smell of Chris de Burgh's eyebrows", the unconverted would have felt like intruders at a Masonic initiation.

None of this is meant to underestimate their influence. Pre-R&M, for instance, would advertisers have shown such a penchant for those tacky commercials that are invariably dubbed "post-modern"? And would lesser performers have not one, but two highly rated shows on BBC2?

The show was stuffed with surreal moments (Beatles figurines playing "All My Loving" under the Turin Shroud) and one-liners ("Hey, Vic, that's a lovely invisible pony you've got there") which chimed with the daftness of Reeves's green velvet suit and the show's meaningless title, "Weathercock Tour 1495". But a large part of the appeal inevitably lay in being in on the joke. The souvenir stall in the foyer was selling a T-shirt with the words "Eranu" and "Uvavu" on it. The message is "Hey, I know these are catch-phrases in Shooting Stars, Reeves and Mortimer's TV quiz show. Do you?"

Such nonsense is, of course, entirely deliberate. Perhaps in reaction to the alternative generation - who were so desperate to be politically significant - Reeves and Mortimer are defiantly silly. The point is that there is no point. It is futile to analyse Cox and Evans, Reeves and Mortimer's district councillor characters, for political overtones. They are just two fat, bald blokes with a serious personal hygiene problem.

Reeves and Mortimer have been called the new Morecambe and Wise. But as they clubbed each other with outsized kitchen implements, another comparison occurred to me: they are the new Tom and Jerry.

n On tour to 29 October

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