Whenever confronted about my 'unconventional' sense of humour, I tend to blame the Dada comedy on which I was raised - Monty Python, The Bonzos, The Goons and co. These guys certainly gave me an appreciation of the surreal, but the drollery and sarcasm can be traced back to a much more contemporary source - those legends of Saturday morning kids' TV, Trevor and Simon.
During my formative teenage years, Trevor and Simon punctuated the weekends with their sardonic sketches and eccentric, often manic or contemptuous characters. Say to anyone of my generation "swing your pants" or "let's roll on the floor" and it's guaranteed to raise a smile of nostalgic recognition. We loved Trevor and Simon because they were the least patronising children's "entertainers" of the time, and best of all, because they ripped the piss out of many an annoying celebrity on Going Live and Live and Kicking. I was such a fan that I even went to see them live - at Brighton Dome in 1991.
Looking at the more offbeat character-based comedy shows of today - Mighty Boosh, Little Britain, Mitchell and Webb - all written by and starring 30-somethings who grew up in the 80s and 90s - it seems obvious that they owe a debt (whether conscious or not) to Trevor and Simon's silly Saturday antics. But whatever happened to our deadpan childhood heroes? By the late nineties we were all off at university and sleeping in on Saturday mornings and they seemed to have disappeared into obscurity; the much-loved Stupid Video started gathering dust on the shelf. Occasionally I would hear of other projects they had going like the Circus of Evil at Edinburgh Festival, but they never seemed to find another niche outside of their original territory.
Then just the other week, Ant came home with amusingly windswept hair and a sporting new goatee, when suddenly Trevor and Simon's World of the Strange popped into my head. Of course I went straight onto YouTube to substantiate the comparison, and found myself heading off on a right old trip down memory lane. This in turn led to a string of other online discoveries, including the revelation that Trevor and Simon were on Twitter (why had I never thought to look before?). But best of all, I found their blog, on which is published a Trevor and Simon podcast.
Having listened to the latest podcast in the series, I am pleased to report that the duo have lost none of their bantering chemistry and are still as waggishly witty as ever. It was a delight to find myself immersed in a world of strange tangents and acerbic rants, delivered by the comfortingly familiar voices of my childhood heroes. The other five installments I am saving for an upcoming roadtrip Up North. All power to the duo for taking the task of a Trevor and Simon renaissance upon themselves - welcome back boys, we've missed you!
Trevor and Simon's blog (you can also download the other podcasts here)