Fist of Fun
Fist Of Fun began as a single series on Radio 1, before transferring successfully onto BBC TWO and finally giving comics Richard Herring and Stewart Lee a vehicle for their undeniable talents.
Lee: tall, languid and with a laid-back intelligence, was a perfect foil to the childish, enthusiastic Herring.
Fist Of Fun was very much a comedy for the younger generation: cool yet geeky, marrying intelligent wordsmithery with a childlike delight in nonsense.
The loose remit was that it should be a lifestyle programme presented by two men in their mid-twenties: each show in series one began with Lee and Herring emerging from crates in their tatty, studio-rendered 'flat'.
The pair would engage in banter – Herring eagerness personified, Lee detached and questioning, before an onslaught of pre-recorded vignettes, some featuring regular contributors Kevin Eldon (notably as obsessive 'hobbyist' Simon Quinlank, a splendid creation) and Peter Baynham (as a scruffy Welshman of the type that gave him later recognition advertising Pot Noodle).
Other contributors included Ronni Ancona, John Thompson and Sally Phillips, with Rod Hull gamely appearing as himself in the final episode (after many episodes of being represented by Eldon in a terrible wig).
The second series was promoted to a Friday night slot, but changes imposed by BBC management left the pair unhappy – according to Herring, Lee was more vocally resistant to these, and, he now concedes, "rightly so".
Ratings were respectable (considering Channel 4's opposition was the US smash hit Roseanne) but a new channel controller meant that the series was not recommissioned.
It hadn't been particularly well supported by the BBC, and as the two have latterly emerged as among the most respected stand-ups of their generation, their loss to television should cause heads to be hung in shame in certain quarters of the corporation.
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