The Fast Show

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search

British sketch-based show in The Nineties. One of the best British comedies of the decade.

Lots of regular characters, and lots of regular catchphrases. "Suit you, Sir", "Does my bum look big in this?", "I'll get me coat" (which was used a lot on Outpost Gallifrey), "I'm a little bit wooh, a little bit waaay", "...which was nice", "I'm afraid I was very, very drunk" and so on. Singlehandedly added several Stock British Phrases to the language.

According to creator Paul Whitehouse, the show's format was inspired by when he was working on Harry Enfield and Chums and made a five-minute reel of highlight clips (mostly sketch punchlines) to send to the BBC to be used in previews - he then decided that "character comes on, someone shouts 'ARSE!', bang, next sketch!" was actually funnier than the usual sketch buildup, and created a show around that format (hence "fast").

Probably the best known celebrity fan of the show is Johnny Depp, who allegedly kept trying to insert its catchphrases into the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Tropes used in The Fast Show include:
  • The Ace: Monkfish, who has been a tough, uncompromising detective, a tough, uncompromising doctor and a tough, uncompromising vet amongst other things. He even got an adaptation on Channel 9 called "MOOOOOOOOOOOONKFISSSSSCH!".
  • Affectionate Parody - Jazz Club, of 'Whispering' Bob Harris of the Old Grey Whistle Test, and artsy late night music show Later with Jools Holland... Great. Wonderful.
    • Arthur Atkinson is a (mostly) affectionate parody of Arthur Askey.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Channel 9 TV. Scorchio!

Ethethethethetheth, ethehethethetheth, ethethetheth, Chris Waddle!

  • Banana Republic: The country that produces Chanel 9 (only identified as 'Repubblica') was eventually shown to be one.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty: "Suits you, sir!" was never ever said; the line was always "Suit you, sir!"
  • Berserk Button - Don't mention the colour black to Johnny Nice Painter.
  • British Accents - essential to many characters, especially the Cockney criminal.
  • British Stuffiness - combined with UST in the "Ted and Ralph" sketches.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Rowley Birkin QC actually is a retired barrister. Given how Queen's Counsel members are elicted on merit, this suggests that, for all his eccentricities and drunkeness, he was an incredibly good one.
  • Butt Monkey - Chester Drawers is that to Arthur Atkinson in the Show Within the Show.
  • California Doubling - the "Shore Leave" song, supposedly in New York, is clearly filmed in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
  • Catch Phrase/Mad Libs Catchphrase - Millions. Some characters are only even named by their catchphrases.
    • The Suit You Tailors: "Oh, suit you sir!" "Were you out with a lady last night sir?" "Did she want it, sir?"
    • Rowley Birkin QC: Variations on "...and I freely admit I was vey, vey drunk"
    • The Off-Roaders: "Let's off-road!"
    • Billy Bleach: "There's someone sitting there, mate."
    • Chanel 9: "Bono estente" ('Hello'), "Boutros, Boutros Ghali" (Goodbye, among other things), "Ethethethetheth, ethethetheth", "Chris Waddle" and "Scorchio".
    • The Insecure Woman: "Does my bum look big in this?"
    • Jazz Club: "Nice". "Great".
    • Mr Nice: "...Which was nice."
    • Jesse: "This week, I are been mostly (verb)ing..."
    • Brilliant Kid: "Int X brilliant?!" (His dad has "Int X rubbish?!")
    • 13th Duke of Wybourne: "Me, the 13th Duke of Wybourne? Here? In (place)? With my reputation? Are they mad?"
    • Ed Winchester: "Hi, I'm Ed Winchester!"
    • Swiss Toni: "(Verb)ing a (noun), Paul, is very much like making love to a beautiful woman..."
    • Ron Manager: Variations on "Football, eh? Little boys in the park, jumpers for goalposts...marvellous."
    • Johnny Nice Painter: "...Black? Black! BLACK! (goes off into insane rant)
    • Simon Day's high-rise builder character: "I can't do the accent" (before proceeding to do an excellent job at imitating a completely different accent) and variations on "Was he F--"
  • Country Matters: "Country Matters" is the name of a farming programme whose hosts have unfortunately suggestive Verbal Tics. The title is presumably not accidental.
  • Curse Cut Short: The main joke in the sketches where Simon Day and Mark Williams play builders on a high-rise--all the sketches end on something like "And was he? Was he F-"
  • Everything Is an Instrument - Bob Fleming and friends perform The Wild Rover.
  • Gratuitous English and Inherently Funny Words - Channel 9, and Rowley Birkin QC ("Poisonous Monkeys!")
  • Handsome Lech - The 13th Duke of Wybourne.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender - In a documentary about the show, Harry Enfield acted as an exaggerated bitter version of himself complaining about how 'I CREATED THEM!!' and now The Fast Show is more popular than his own show.
  • Jizzed in My Pants: Sorry, I've just cum
  • Just Like Making Love: Swiss Toni delivering his catchphrase is very much like making love to a beautiful woman...
  • Le Film Artistique - Subverted to humourous effect in this clip
  • Looks Like Orlok - "Monster, monster!"
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: Most of the catchphrases were like this.
  • Mood Whiplash: Quite frequent in some of the longer running sketches.
  • Mushroom Samba: The Offroaders, on a survival expedition, go half-arsed on the survival part and agree to a compromise by ordering a plain pizza but will top it with the wild mushrooms they have just found. Next time we see them, one of them is tripping out, referring to himself as "The Mushroom God".
  • My Local - setting of many sketches, especially the Pub Bore.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Jazz Club features a Nigel Kennedy lookalike, and a character called Jeremy Kwee singing about chocolate on his Ferrari, who in no way resembles Jamiroquai.
    • Jazz Club's host's voice was also inspired by that of radio DJ "Whistling" Bob Harris.
  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: Monkfish. Upon arriving at a crime scene, he tells the widow of the deceased to "put your knickers on and go make me a cup of tea!"
  • Non-Specifically Foreign: Chanel 9
  • Overly Long Gag - 'The Big Long Punch Up'
  • Paintball Episode - played for laughs as the Off-Roaders are supposed to be useless at all the extreme sports they try.
  • The Parody - The films of Guy Ritchie, such as Snatch ("It's a Right Royal Cockney Barrel of Monkeys"), the musical On the Town ("Shore Leave") and the classic movie Whiskey Galore ("Heroin Galore")
  • Positive Discrimination - Subverted with the Insecure Woman, and an incomprehensible Jive Turkey.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Johnny Depp appeared in one of the "Suit you, sir!" sketches. (If you want to do this, it helps to be Johnny Depp.)
  • Real Song Theme Tune: An instrumental version of "Release Me".
  • Running Gag, to the point of being an Overused Running Gag
  • Sketch Comedy
  • Spin-Off - Lots, though none have ever matched the popularity of the original.
    • Ted and Ralph got their own one-off drama to wrap up loose ends (which also featured Rowley Birkin as a barrister).
    • Swiss Toni got a short-lived sitcom on BBC 3 with Simon Day's alcoholic businessman character incorporated into his staff.
    • Billy Bleach got his own show, Grass.
    • Brilliant Kid had a popular milk advertising campaign ("Int milk brilliant?!")
    • The Suit You Sir tailors have advertised both Holsten Pils beer and the mobile phone store Phones 4U.
    • Simon Day played a version of his 'Dave Angel, Eco-warrior' character (but without the costume) for a series of bookend idents for a power company sponsoring ITV Weather. Dave Angel and Billy Bleach both appeared on Day's 2011 radio sitcom The Simon Day Show.
    • Ron Manager and the other characters in his sketches hosted (in-character) a short-lived Sky One sports-themed Panel Game, Jumpers For Goalposts.
    • Insecure Woman became Jackie Payne, the heroine of Arabella Weir's novel Does My Bum Look Big In This?
  • Talks Like a Simile - Swiss Toni. Always the same simile, too:

Swiss Toni: Going to the brink of death and back, in a nine car pile-up on a dual carriageway, is very much like making love to a beautiful woman. First of all, brace yourself, hold on tight - particularly if it's a rear-ender. Pray you make contact with her twin airbags as soon as possible.

    • Though when he had a nervous breakdown he descended into Metaphorgotten:

Swiss Toni: Answering the phone, Paul, is very much like making love to a beautiful woman. You...pick up...the receiver...speak loudly and clearly...oh, and always state your name...(To himself) You're losing it Toni...

  • Team Dad - Parodied/exaggerated with Competitive Dad.
  • Tourette's Shitcock Syndrome: Jed Thomas ARSE!
  • Write Who You Know - Simon Day admits to basing "Competitive Dad" on a man he saw at a public swimming pool, who challenged his children to a race and then swam away at top speed leaving them to struggle behind him.
    • This inspiration formed part of the very last Competitive Dad sketch, where we see a video recording of Competitive Dad's own father doing it to him as a child.
    • Rowley Birkin QC was based on a similarly incomprehensible (English) person one of the cast met in Iceland.
    • One of Arabella Weir's characters is a woman who suggests something to a group of arguing men, only for them to totally ignore her and hear the suggestion as though one of them had made it. This, as Whitehouse and Higson wryly realised on reading the first sketch, was her commentary on how they tended to treat her in script meetings.