Ten years ago, I had a date with Reeves and Mortimer most Thursday nights. Billing themselves as the 'alternative to alternative comedy', they were less a circuit-breaker than the latest incarnation of a long tradition of two-man visual and verbal comedy; the direct descendants of Eric and Ernie on the one hand, and Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson in their early Young Ones days on the other. R&M's brand of humour was quintessentially British, surreal and slapstick in equal parts. A typical episode would see them bashing one another over the head with giant frying pans while spouting ridiculous Dadaist non sequiturs -- "Like a badger with an afro, throwing sparklers at the pope!" "Like Bono in a boob-tube on the choir master's lap!" -- or stopping to argue in great detail over some pointless matter of terminology, vis:
After recently revealed aliens have stopped police in their tracks:Now of course Reeves and Mortimer are a couple of big sellouts, hosting mainstream panel games on TV and radio and appearing on I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of here. But remembering how good they were back in the day, I'm really quite intrigued by the recent re-rentry into the artworld of the once self-styled Darlington Dadaist, who became a comedian after leaving art school: a couple of years ago Reeves's works were shown at Whitechapel, while Jake and Dinos Chapman describe Reeves's art as “able to command our laughter as a purgative, to encourage the viewer to leak at both ends”. I think the works are OK, actually, although maybe a bit less Dadaist than you'd expect. But maybe it's just that I'm imagining them as the backdrop to a serious bit of tomfoolery. You can decide for yourself with eleven of his paintings reproduced here, including Luftwaffe Love School.
Bob: "What's going on?"
Vic: "He's just frozen them with his special eyeballs so now we've got to get them into that booth."
Bob: "That's not a booth, that's a kiosk."
Vic: "No it's not, there's no shelving in it."
Bob: "No, a kiosk has a counter. Shelving, you're thinking of a pantry."
Vic: "So what's a kiosk without shelving or a counter?"
Bob: "That's a booth."
Alien: "Howay yous two! Them's only frozen for thirty seconds!"