COMEDIANS Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer are bringing Vic and Bob’s Big Night Out back again, to mark their 25th anniversary at the BBC. The duo chat to Georgia Humphreys.

FEW comic partnerships are as long standing as that of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. Having first performed for the BBC with the Smell Of Reeves And Mortimer, the duo are marking their 25th anniversary at the channel with a new series of Vic And Bob's Big Night Out.

Each half-hour episode is filmed live in front of an audience in a studio theatre, and once again sees them deliver their inimitable brand of surreal slapstick humour together. Expect songs, sketches and silliness.

"We're not scientific comedians, thinking like, 'things have moved on, we need to do this, we need to reflect the world in this way'," suggests Mortimer, 59. "It's exactly the same as we were doing 28 years ago." Reeves, also 59, adds: "We don't think about what people might like. We just think: 'that's funny and that's ridiculous so we will do that'."

Darlington-born Reeves, whose real name is Jim Moir, was once an aeronautical engineer, while Mortimer, from Middlesbrough, used to work as a solicitor, before they entered the entertainment industry. They first performed together with their 1986 live show, called Vic Reeves Big Night Out, and have since gone on to have many hit TV shows together, including Shooting Stars, Bang Bang, Catterick and House of Fools.


Discussing the four new episodes of Big Night Out, Mortimer says there was one interesting difference from when they started as a double act. "We do tend to do more jokes nowadays," he reveals. "We start off the show, six jokes with punchlines – one-liners."

"We've probably gone more old fashioned," adds Reeves.

Both stars say they're always thinking about their loyal fan base when making their shows. "Not one year has gone by when we haven't done a Smell Of Reeves And Mortimer, a Bang Bang, a House Of Fools, and it's all pretty much the same," says Reeves. "If we were a group, we've presented our fans with an album every year, and this is what we do and that's what they like."

When it comes to the reason behind their loyal following, the funnymen wonder whether it's partly because they've never become "mainstream" - they have no desire to be "popular", as such.

"I suppose you've got the indie groups in music, and you've got the mainstream, and we've always been a little indie," muses Reeves. "We never have been in that mainstream area. Shooting Stars and Families At War crept into it, but we pretty much do what we like doing, and we've got an audience who like it too."

And it's not a form of entertainment they see anyone else encroaching on any time soon either.

"It's just traditional comedy really - pratfalls and funny faces, daft noises and all that - but the weird thing is no one seems to be bothering, so we kind of have fans to ourselves really," explains Mortimer. "We may be a bit ignorant of the youngsters... But I'm not aware of people doing this traditional stuff."

Their original Big Night Out show came from experimenting on stage, and seeing what happens when they talk about surreal topics. And the inspiration behind the new show comes "from the same place as it started really, which is you do something which is silly, stupid and will make someone laugh," says Reeves.

"There's nothing more to it than that," he continues matter-of-factly. "It's not like, 'let's see how surreal we can be' because I think if you do something like that, it's not going to work."

While both Reeves and Mortimer have done a lot of different projects separately over the years, they definitely haven't got sick of working with each other.

"It feels more precious after all these years," Mortimer says fondly of their partnership. "It's great fun," Reeves agrees. "I look forward to working - writing the stuff, and then doing it. If I wasn't looking forward to it, you could tell."

Having fun has, in fact, always been their main motivation for their sketches. "We do it because we think 'this is a great idea, I'd like to see that on screen'," says Reeves. "We pretty much do it for ourselves first, and hope other people like it."

And they've certainly never been tempted to do stadium tours, like comics such as Michael McIntyre. "I think he's got skills we don't have," says Mortimer. "I'm not a fan of the stand-up comedy personally. But some of them are incredibly skilled."

It's simple really: these are clearly two very good friends who relish the chance to make people laugh together.

"We write for months, and it's a very pleasant time, and then it's nice because we can finish a bit early, you can get home and watch the telly," quips Mortimer.

"Neither of us have got a desire to get super famous, it's just a pleasant way to pass the time. We both worked before, so back of our mind we know what life could be."

  • Vic And Bob's Big Night Out returns to BBC Four from Wednesday, November 28.