Interview: Tim Brooke-Taylor &
Graeme Garden - The
Brooke-Taylor & Graeme Garden
and Stars of Cult UK Comedy The
By Sean Lynch
Goodies are one of the few iconic names you can mention in
the same breath as Monty
Pythons Flying Circus and Blackadder, shows
which pioneered comedic style, broke ground and paved the way for a new
generation of comedians.
Web Wombat's resident comedy nerd, Sean Lynch, caught up with his
comedy heroes Tim-Brooke Taylor ("The Patriotic One") and Graeme
Garden ("The Looney Scientist") to talk comedy history, Willy
Wonka and "Pulling Shapes" as they embark on Sydney's Worlds Funniest
years on, is it hard to look back and re-live some of those classic
Tim Brooke-Taylor: It's actually quite fun because in doing research
for these [Worlds Funniest Island] shows, we're actually watching
episodes we haven't seen in many years.
They haven't repeated them in England, so we've never had copies of
So we rely on Australia to tell us what we did, basically [Laughs].
always have personal favourite gags they've written and always find hilarious (even if they are the only ones who think
In your research, did you find any gags where you thought "Wow...
That's a really good f**king joke"?
Graeme Garden : [Laughs]
Well it's hard to say. The trouble is, people in Australia have seen
the show much more than we have - so we've forgotten half the gags we
TBT: If you remember, we used to do some very elaborate visual things,
and we used to call them "So What?" sequences.
Because what would happen is we'd film these very big, expensive
elaborate gags... and [you could just feel] people around the country
were thinking "Yeah, So What?" [Laughs].
Whereas you'd do one throw away verbal thing, and everybody would
What about your work before and
after The Goodies, were there any skits that never quite made it or
didn't work but you loved?
TBT: There has been
GG: Almost all of them didn't
go as well as we'd hoped [Laughs],
so I wouldn't like to single one out... you try and forget the failures
Goodies has always been a major comedy influence on me, but for some
reason, I think I'll remember Tim just as vividly and fondly for your
brief scene in the original Willy Wonka
Are there any moments of your career you wish to be remembered for -
and are there moments where you thought "I kind of wish I'd never done
TBT: There are lots of
"Kinda-Wish-I-Hadn't-Have-Dones", in fact, there is far too many of
There are some sorts of live shows I did in the 1980s where suddenly
green liquid was on your head - and it's supposed fun - but you think
to yourself : "Why am I doing this?" [Laughs].
I saw some footage of you on Top
Of The Pops in the 1970s - and you look like the
unhappiest man on earth, like you'd prefer to be in Auswich...
GG: Yeah, I know that's what it looks
like - but in fact - I was just holding back on my funky disco moves.
didn't want to throw shapes and show up the other guys [Laughs].
TBT: I remember doing an episode of One Foot In The Grave
where Victor Meldrew tries to look as if he's not there - and that's
basically what Graeme looked like on Top Of The Pops... [Putting on Graeme Voice]
"I'm Not Here" [Laughs].
working with The Chaser's
Andrew Hansen at World's Funniest Island - what's your take on the
current crop of comedy... What do you hate, what's crap?
GG: Of comedy?
TBT: We haven't got that long, have we? [Laughs]
GG: Well... [in Posh
English Accent] That would be un-gallantry, really, to say anything like that...
TBT: What I think is interesting about The Chaser is that
if someone described it to me I would say "I wouldn't like that",
because they are making fun of people.
But in fact, they've always had
really good points and the people they're making fun of deserve it.
GG: Until we saw the [World's Funniest Island] audience here, we
thought this was the most elaborate Chaser prank you
[Laughs] Well that was really quite a big crowd today...
TBT: Just say it was really
ENORMOUS! Does that sort of blow your mind that the show can still
generate this much interest?
GG: We were surprised and delighted to
see that many people. We thought we'd maybe fill the chairs, but there
were people standing up the back, it was amazing.
almost gave this up in favour of attending Monty Python's 40th
Anniversary party in New York?
TBT: I genuinely got an email from Eric
Idle asking me to come over, and I said I couldn't because I was going
to be in Sydney.
Now, I don't know if you've seen a sketch I co-wrote called "The Four
Yorkshiremen" [from At
Last The 1948 Show] where Graham Chapman times the word
"Luxury" absolutely perfect. But in the return email, Eric just wrote
And I know Eric Idle would
prefer to be here with us... although he quite likes the money he's
earning in New York [Laughs].
Writing nerds will remember the infamous "Written By Graeme Garden
& Bill Oddie with
Tim Brooke-Taylor" credits, what was the process with that?
what - did you all have particular strengths or weaknesses (studio
dialogue or silent filmed pieces)?
GG: We would start the writing process with all three of us getting
together to go through lists of topics and people and things we'd like
to make fun of, or thought would make a good area for a plot.
Then we'd mix it all up and have two or three things: we didn't like
circus clowns, we didn't like the American army, we didn't like
pollution. So we'd mix it all up into this crazy mix.
Then Bill and I would map out the show into two halves and we would
then take it away and write half each, then get together and stitch it
together in the middle somewhere... use a commericial if all else fails
and The Internet spread all kinds of celebrity rumours and myths by
If you could start your own rumour or
"Richard Gere Gerbil" style myth about yourselves... which you will be
remembered for the rest of time for... What would it be?
GG: What I just told you about Top
Of The Pops... [Laughs]
[Laughs] ... And what about you Tim?
TBT: That I am Bugs Bunny's father... [Laughs]
THE GOODIES is out now on DVD and are appearing at the WORLD'S FUNNIEST ISLAND FESTIVAL 2009