The Chuckle Brothers
Paul and Barry Chuckle, better known as The Chuckle Brothers, are the world's most successful deranged brother comedy double act having pursued and plundered a career on the BBC since the late 80s following their success in escaping Butlins as the only performers to escape a criminal conviction. Recognised for their 'tasteful' fashion, the Brothers decline to wear typical pedestrian garb, instead wearing outrageously cutting edge haute couture such as pink farahs and yellow diamond pattern jumpers made exclusively from a rare Argiope argentata form of spider silk (it is said that one pair of Barry's Y-Fronts is made from over 500,000 spiders alone at a cost of £3000 a pair, despite this, Barry frequently flaunts such extravagance by skidding himself on purpose during interviews just to demonstrate how elite and wealthy he is).
Life Before Chucklevision
Before Chucklevision Paul barry and mr Heycock toured their native Yorkshire, performing standup comedy to the pissed stained county of England in the late 80s. Here they quickly gained a cult following within the stinking county's circles. The act often involved putrid jokes on bodily fluids and at times close to the wind jokes on race, a particularly risky thing to do in the Bradford/Leeds region. The pair were regularly compared to fellow filthy Yorkshire comedians Roy Chubby Brown and Bernard Manning. Paul and Barry rejected this comparison in a very public letter through their fan club stating that 'we are not fat sweaty wife beaters who perform for dole thick cunts. We're far more sophisticated than those pricks'. Indeed after this comparison the pair did indeed improve their comedy to far more sophisticated levels and took their show to the Edinburgh Festival where it won rave reviews.
In a tell-all interview on Parkinson in 1998, Barry revealed that during the early days of the duo's tours, their wages were so poor that on many occasions, both brothers reverted to licking the M62 for £4 an hour. Drivers laughed and often cruelly beat the brothers if they stopped or passed out. 'It was a shitting disgrace,' Barry told a stunned audience, 'Paul got his stomach pumped 14 times.'
Head of Children's BBC at the time Mike Hunt had the pleasure of viewing one of their shows and immediately saw their potential and offered the sibling double act the chance to make their own kids tv show. Initially it would prove to be a difficult transformation from the club/pub stage to childrens tv. Barry commented that they found the dilution of their at times rude, crude act the most difficult change. The show experienced a rocky pilot episode of their new programme (then entitled The Chucklevision) leading Paul to have some doubts over the ability to make comedy for children. In an interview with Radio Times he said 'I'd seen Joe Pasquale live and I'll say this quietly, but it was desperately dire. He thought jokes about hard to open jam jars was funny. I looked around the arena midway through and the faces on the audience were those same faces you'd see in a fucking morgue. I felt desperately sorry for the guy. It's not his fault. Bless him'.
Chucklevision began broadcasting in 1987 and continues to broadcast to this day. The show followed the exploits of Paul and Barry carrying out various jobs for their incredibly tolerant and unseen boss Dan the Van. The pair would often be hired by one man with no name, affectionately named 'No Slacking' (after his catchphrase, which he was known to shout in public areas -especially toilets). The show was a hit amongst youngsters and adults alike and was often praised for it's light hearted fun and it's simple but effective story lines. However one episode changed that reputation for ever during a broadcast in September 1996. The episode in question involved the Chuckles being hired to carry out basic domestic duties at No Slacking's 5 star B&B in Blackpool albeit with disastrous results. One incident in the episode though proved highly controversial. After leaving his breakfast to cook in, Paul inadvertently left the kitchen to go to the toilet. Unfortunately the breakfast caught fire and all hell broke loose. Barry was the first to attend the flaming kitchen and proceeded to "humourously" throw a bucket of water over the burning pan with catastrophic results. The next moment Paul and Barry were running out of the now burning house while 'No Slacking' slept completely innocent of what was going on around him. Viewers were then subjected to distressing screams of agony and mercy from No Slacking as he became trapped in his burning bedroom while Paul and Barry comically ran down the street, ending the show in the process. Parents were understandably appalled. One mother contacted the BBC stating that her daughter was 'scared to go to sleep at night in case her bedroom caught fire'. Paul and Barry reiterated countless times that they were 'merely bringing up the issue of fire safety in the home. We felt it was far more effective than those Richard Briers narrated adverts with those strange looking aliens which in our view condoned the playful use of fire for kids.' Despite this they refused to answer questions as to why they used comic catchphrases such as 'Oh dear oh dear' during the scene and why it was appropriate for Barry to say to Paul at the programme's end, 'Do you smell burning flesh?'. The episode led to the BBC being fined a record £1 million by media regulator Ofcom and caused Chucklevision to be suspended for 6 months. The show returned a year later but was heavily regulated by the BBC's production staff.
The Dark Years
The fire safety episode took an immediate negative effect on the double act. Paul and Barry became depressed with Barry becoming a heroin addict and Paul developing his own addiction to laxatives. Barry was arrested for shroom dealing and was put into rehab and has recently come out clean. Paul was put into a mental home after his addiction made him a mental case, and was seen defecating out a high storey flat building. He was recently released from the mental home, under the false pretense of merely carrying out a character study. He continued his fecal related crime spree. Wherever they were filming there would be reports of shit smeared on cars and feces being flung at members of the public. Barry then commented on how often Paul retreated to the toilet with whole bottles of ExLax. "This addiction has to stop" Barry said to CBBC journalists "its costing us £300 a day and to be honest I'm fed up with the whole fucking thing."
On 07 November 2011 the pair starred in a set of TV commercials for UK based van insurance comparison website, Van Compare.
Some of the more notable guests on the programme Chucklevision include:
- H from Steps
- Michael Barrymore (guest starring as a pool attendant in one episode ironically)
- Dale Winton
- Desmond Tutu (cameo appearance as a DJ at Christ Fest - a Christian festival where Paul and Barry were stewards)
- Liam Gallagher with Otis the Aardvark
- Michael Rosen (although it may seem an unlikely choice, Rosen mentored the brothers for many years on how to pitch a tent on a main road)
Following the incredible success of Chucklevision, EMI pounced on the immense popularity of the brothers in January 1995 and offered Paul and Barry a 3 record contract worth a staggering £20 million. Both accepted the offer immediately and within 4 months of signing the deal, their first album was released entitled 'Debut'. Intended for the Britpop scene of the 90s, the album offered a bullish 'live' sound that characterised the genre of the time. Critics were generally in high praise for the record with NME stating that the album had 'transformed the pair from cringeworthy and at times embarassing comedy double act to pioneers of the British contemporary music scene'. Rolling Stone was equal in it's praise saying 'The Chuckle Brothers have hit a goldmine with this album after digging through years of what can only be described as shit to get here'. Sales were initially slow to start off with but once the smash hit number 1 single 'To Me With Love, To You With Anger' hit the radiowaves the album's sales rocketed. Following two more number one singles the album firmly cemented itself on top of the UK Album Charts for a record 16 weeks consistently outselling rival Britpop bands Oasis and Blur 2 to 1. This though would be the highpoint of their music career.
In November 1995 the Chuckle Brothers announced a sell out world tour which would ultimately destroy the musical reputation of the pair. Promised 'better than the album' concerts, fans (affectionately known as Chucks) were left seething with rage and disappointment as the live performances were blighted heavily by the brother's tendency to revert back to type to their incompetent tv selves. Songs were often interrupted by the Brother's tv collaborator 'No Slacking' entering the stage in an act of pretend fury at the Brother's 'failure to properly set up my stage as I intended'. He would then tell them to get back to work accompanied by his catchphrase '...and remember NO SLACKING'. Encores often consisted of the brothers throwing custard pies into each others faces as the backing band attempted to play one of their hit songs albeit with no singers. By this moment in the show the crowd had more often than not begun seeping out of the exit doors in disgust and disappointment. The Times newspaper's live music section called the tour the biggest musical suicide note in history. Q Magazine seethed calling it 'arguably the worst live show in modern music history. We were expecting the new U2. We got two trainee clowns who thought they were performing to a special needs school'. The magazine also called the random appearances of 'No Slacking' as 'dreadful and highly disturbing'.
The tour only lasted 7 shows before it's promoters and sponsors pulled out with immediate effect. The brothers were forced to cancel all their remaining dates. In a response to show that they were serious musicians rather than just comedians, the brothers panicked and quickly released an avant-garde album solely consisting of Barry playing the flute accompanied with ambient music while Paul read out the list of cereal brands to a slow pulsing beat. The album unsurprisingly bombed and was slated by the puzzled music press. Events took a turn for the worse when Kellog's sued the brothers successfully for unlawfully using their brand products without permission. An angry Barry stormed out of court and shouted to TV cameras that Tony The Tiger (a popular cartoon character that promotes Kellogg cereals) could take the offending album and 'shove it up his arse... sideways!'.
This led the pair to file for bankruptcy. Greater implications were to come as EMI cancelled their lucrative contract with the pair which eventually led them to return to children's tv where they remain to this day. Both brother's have rarely spoken of their trip into the music scene but when asked in an exclusive interview with David Frost in 2002 Paul stated that 'Our failure was that we didn't realise people didn't like music and comedy put together.' He then went on to bizarrely lay the blame at the door of the government of the time believing that the then Prime Minister John Major had 'an agenda against us. I mean look what that man did to the fish fingers industry. Whilst he was being selfish and dealing with unimportant issues like Northern Ireland he was fucking the likes of me and my brother over...as well as Captain Birdsye'. The Mail on Sunday, in reference to the interview, famously ran the headline 'Deranged, Strange and Not At All Funny'.
Is Paul a raging homosexual? Barry says "yes" The trial and retribution of the "Chuckle Brothers."
Several years after their supposed 'death' they were torn screaming from their log cabin by hired goons, the Chuckle Brothers were found in court for acts/crimes ranging from theft to manslaughter and even several cases of pedophilia, in which they were both found guilty. Barry murdered his wife due to the fact she couldn't cook salad, then he proceed to use her dead body as a rolling pin for his hobby of making pastries. Paul had no idea. He thought Linda was napping in the living room when in fact her whole body was decomposing and ridden with maggots and cockroaches. However when Barry was put to stand trial, he spoke of the lonely nights in the Tibet log cabin. He claimed that one night Paul forced his way into Barry's locked room, whispering "I'm cold these mountains they make ones shriveled and cold, the warmth Barry I need the warmth." Barry continued to say "He claimed he need warmth and comfort but why in all sanity was he butt naked?! Now I know I've seen him before, but this time wanted me, not a 9 year old girl." Barry went on to explain that Paul decided to climb into bed with him and get comfortable, suddenly Barry found Paul's fingers sliding up his leg towards the gential area, Barry was having none of it, and pushed his hand away. At this point Barry started to cry in court, the press had a field day taking hundreds of pictures making a fool of Barry to smear across the cheap Sunday morning papers (Paul smiled in a creepy fashion as this happened). Minutes later the court was once again silent and Barry was OK to continue to explain the horrifying ordeal he was put through. "After pushing his hand away, I was overcome with fear." Barry explained "I found myself underneath Paul's thighs, his eyes fixed on mine as he... he soiled my dignity, along with the bed." Barry broke down in tears once again. But this time was unable to continue, the Judge only had one question for Barry in which he asked "Is Paul a homosexual?" and Barry Replied blubbering "Yes." Paul was removed from court and was re-tried for acts of rape on the 29th October 2004. The Jury found him guilty, and along with the other crimes was sentenced to 2 months in prison. Barry was found not guilty for any of the crimes committed as it was put down to peer pressure from his brother.
On 17th March 2009 website DawnOfTheJed.com ran an article reporting that the first episode in the new TV series would be set during the Holocaust. The BBC reportedly received several complaints and was forced to broadcast the episodes following the 10 o clock BBC News bulletin on the 23rd of March of that year due to scenes of a highly graphic nature unsuitable for children. The show involved Barry wearing a Nazi uniform and a fake moustache while Paul was locked in a shower while fecal matter and other bodily fluids were poured over him. Views stated the episode as being ‘vile’ and ‘inhuman,’ one viewer even stated ‘I nearly lost my raging wong while watching this putrid show.... but not quite.’
Chucklevision: The Animated Series
In 2003 American cable network channel HBO bought the rights along with leftover scripts from the BBC to produce Chucklevision as a 23 part animated series using scripts unused by the BBC for the original series. In an attempt to connect with American audiences the brothers were disposed of their Yorkshire accent and given gritty New Jersey accents. Television executives in America ultimately took the decision that it would be impractical to have the pair voicing their own characters in this accent and instead employed the services of James Gandolfini and Danny De Vito to voice Paul and Barry respectively.
Unfortunately, the series didn't reach the end of its tenure, as it was cancelled following a controversy over subtle yet excessive swearing. Unfortunately due to the production company using the original British scripts bought from the BBC inserts of the swear words 'wankers', 'shag' and 'fanny' (British slang for vagina commonly understood as the buttock in America) were not removed from the final script. As such the entire series was littered with profanities unsuitable for children television. Unbeknownst to producers and actors alike during production, it was only until broadcast that the linguistic misdemeanours were picked up by concerned and angry viewers alike. The fallout caused a sensational media storm that attracted attention from both sides of the Atlantic dubbed 'Smutgate'. Paul and Barry both took the opportunity to release a press release stating that such a controversy could have been avoided had the pair been allowed to voice themselves.
A disastrous incident occurred at a stage show in Blackpool entitled 'Hunky Paul Chuckle saves little Barry from the clutches of Don Dan the Van'. During the show, Paul incorrectly delivered the line 'Quick! Do something! Barry's having a fit!' as 'Quick! Do something! Barry's having a shit!'; the brothers and No Slacking couldn't contain themselves and collapsed in a fit of laughter. After an incessant session of 'booing' and shouts of 'wankers' from the audience, No Slacking collapsed and suffered a nervous breakdown. The audience went wild after this and began to tear up the seats they were sitting in. A 2-day riot proceeded, in which the Chuckle brothers were heavily involved. No Slacking was recovered from the wreckage singing 'We'll Meet Again' in slurred fashion. He died in intensive care the following week. The Chuckle Brothers announced soon after the incident that they were retiring from show business citing the distress caused by the riot and the death. In the following years Barry sought a restraining order following an encounter with a deranged fan accusing him of being responsible for No Slacking's untimely death
- Chuckle Brothers Help Make Cheap Van Insurance a Wheeze!. Van Compare. Retrieved on 7 November 2011.