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Friday, May 15, 2009


Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were two of the major forces in British comedy from the time they worked together in 1959 as performers in the legendary BEYOND THE FRINGE show, and both went on to great success as a team and as solo artists in projects such as NOT ONLY…BUT ALSO, the original and classic version of BEDAZZLED, 10 and ARTHUR. But what many fans here in the States are unaware of are the albums the duo put out as Derek and Clive, comedic alter egos who are pretty much ultra-filthy versions of their pre-existing Pete & Dud personas.

Derek (Moore) and Clive (Cook) engaged in lively discussions of whatever went through their heads as they hang around in a pub, subjects ranging all over the map of flagrant vulgarity including Clive’s failed attempt at setting the Guinness world record for longest yardage of snot (and his subsequent loss of temper against his wife that may have led to the record as the “greatest cunt-kicker-in”), how the thought of just about anything “gives them the Horn” (with the sole exception being Derek’s wife, Valerie, who may be both male and Jesus Christ), the discovery of a lost community inside Joan Crawford (meaning exactly what you think it does), and innumerable other topics rife with incredible tastelessness, blasphemy, foul language and not a trace of anything that could be considered politically correct in this plane of existence. Needless to say, I found them highly appealing and consider their albums to be the most offensive comedy recordings ever publicly released.

DEREK AND CLIVE GET THE HORN was a documentary — directed by a pre-HIGHLANDER Russell Mulcahy — chronicling the 1978 recording session of the “Ad Nauseum” LP and is worth seeing to witness the considerable improvisational chops of the performers, especially the quick, twisted and diabolically vitriolic Cook. The film has no narrative to speak of and wanders stream-of-consciousness style from one outrageous bit to another, and it’s great fun to witness the behind the scenes shenanigans such as a cute stripper turning up in order to (theoretically) provide inspiration, and the introduction of an inflatable “love doll” that allows us far more insight into the questionable design of such items than we ever imagined or wanted (the doll’s vaginal sheath suffers a truly disturbing and gender-bending malfunction).

Fun though it is, I wonder what those unfamiliar with the Derek and Clive material will make of this film. I knew the bits intimately thanks to having listened to them many times over the past sixteen years or so and as a result enjoyed seeing them being performed as they were recorded, complete with facial expressions and crazy gestures for punctuation, but the movie is basically just two guys sitting around on studio stools and speaking into microphones. Plus there’s the whole British comedy angle, something that many Americans either hate or don’t get, and while this stuff is about as lowbrow as it’s humanly possible to create, it’s still very British in its approach and wordplay. Keeping that in mind, if any readers out there are interested in checking out Derek and Clive I have to suggest you give the CDs of “Come Again” and “Ad Nauseum” a listen, both of which present the material in a format that doesn’t allow the listener to be distracted by the movie’s sparse visuals. The film is worth seeing and the CDs are better, but then again all of this is moot unless you have an all-regions DVD player; DEREK AND CLIVE GET THE HORN is not available for U.S. play, presumably because the source material is mostly unknown over here and would probably sell about twelve copies domestically. Nonetheless, the shit’s funny and sick as all hell, especially the bits involving an aged mother wanting to “punch her son’s ticket” and an innocent schoolboy (Cook) relating his supposed non-punishment for observing another student playing with himself and getting caught by the headmaster, so give it a chance if you get the opportunity. And besides, do you really need to sit through PAUL BLART: MALL COP?


Satyrblade said...

I read a wonderful comment a few years back in a British book about heavy metal. More or less, it said: "We British have the global reputation for being insufferably polite stiff-upper-lip types when, in fact, we are the rudest race on earth." Having dated a kinky English lass some years ago, I can attest that's often true.

John Bligh said...

For my money, AD NAUSEUM is certainly one of the top 5, if not THE, funniest and filthiest comedy albums ever.

I always had a theory (or maybe I read it somewhere) that Dudley Moore had all that Derek & Clive stuff repressed once he became a superstar here in the States simply because it went against his image as a likable, yet harmless, goofball.

Just that story about him getting molested by his teacher, hilarious as it was, would have caused quite an uproar here...

"...And Sir was shining my bottom.."