The Mighty Boosh met in the late 90's. Noel Fielding, who at the time was still in Uni and lived together with Dave Brown and Nigel Coan (who later became the animator for The Boosh), went to see Julian Barratt perform in "Hellfire Club". Julian was quite advanced as a stand-up comedian at that time and already had the reputation of doing unusual stuff. Noel went to see Julian perform a couple of times and one day went to him after a show to tell him that he likes his performances and that he's doing quite similar stuff. Julian just would not believe it.
The first time they shared a stage was rather by accident. Julian was performing at "The Enterprise" and Noel turned up to see him. Someone dropped out of the bill that night, and Julian told Noel to go for it. It was the perfect opportunity for him to show Julian what kind of stuff he was doing. Explaining afterwards that this must have been one of his best early gigs his performance was quite successful. Julian, who had to perform after that, reacted to some of the things Noel had done before and they recall to it as: "the first double act they ever did, without sharing the stage". Julian gave Noel a lift home that night, and that's when they wrote there first ever joke ("Before you come in you must know you can never leave!" - "That's fine. I haven't got anything on anyway!").
The first gig they ever did together was at "De Hems" bar in 1998. In this early stage of their double act they developed a unique style on stage. They used lots of music and props, like potted plants and cardboard boxes, which was unusual for stand-up shows.
Later that year they stared in "Unnatural Acts" where they met Rich Fulcher. They had this idea for a show that took place in a zoo, based on two characters they did in some tryouts. They ended up doing those zoo keeper sketches for "Unnatural Acts" and the characters, that should later become the essence of The Mighty Boosh, slowly came to life .
Noel and Julian were ambitious to take the zoo keeper characters to stage in Edinburgh. They started to develop a show with more characters, lots of costumes and props and rehearsed it mostly at the "Hen and Chickens" in Islington. Many of the scenes that are popular now among fans already existed in that early state of The Boosh.
There first big show was called The Mighty Boosh. It became quite a success and was even critically acclaimed, which resulted in them getting the Perrier Award for Best Newcomer. Their second big stage show was The Arctic Boosh followed by The Auto Boosh. By that time the third show was announced they were already so popular it was sold out immediately.
The logical conclusion was to take the show to TV. The big problem was that executives had no idea how to translate it into television, cause the scripts were always those epic adventures that looked like they needed a huge budget. So the Boosh decided to turn it in to a radio show first, when they got the chance fot it. The radio show was a great way for them to show the BBC that, although 70% of it was improvised, they could make a structured show.
After the Radio show they finally got a pilot at BBC 3 for a TV show. The pilot was, unlike the actual show later on, shot infront of a live audience, but they soon realized that wasn't they way to go for. The laughter tracks of the live audience are a typical element of comedy shows on TV and since nothing was usual about The Mighty Boosh, they ditched the live audience for the show to make it more personal for the viewers. After the pilot the BBC was willing to take the risk and take the show into series. The first series was aired in 2004, the second in 2006 and the third in 2007.
Inbetween series 2 and 3 The Mighty Boosh did a live tour called "The Mighty Boosh live" which became a big success. The Boosh felt right at home being up on stage again and they certainly did not expect it to become that huge. They played bigger and bigger venues during that tour, even though the show wasn't really produced for audiences that huge. In 2008, after the third series, they did another tour called "Future Sailors Tour". That show was taylored to bigger venues. They included bigger sceneries and lots of music to give it more of a concert kind of feeling. The second tour was an incredible success with the biggest venues like Wembley totally sold out.
On 5 July 2008, the Boosh held their own festival in the Hop Farm in Kent. It featured musical acts like Robots in Disguise, The Kills, Gary Numan, and The Mighty Boosh Band, as well as comedy acts as Frankie Boyle and Ross Noble.
On 18 September 2008, Canongate Books published The Mighty Book of Boosh, designed and compiled by Dave Brown and written by Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt, Rich Fulcher, Dave Brown, Richard Ayoade and Michael Fielding. The book includes original stories, crimps, concept art, behind-the-scenes photography, comics, and various other things, featuring old and new Boosh characters. On 1 October 2009, a paperback version was released under the name The Pocket Book of Boosh.
The Mighty Boosh are currently working on an album and two movies, one of them, in a typical Boosh manner, taking place in the Arctic Tundra.
If you want to know more about the history of The Mighty Boosh, we recommend you watch the excellent documentary "A journey through time and space". It currently can be found in the bonus material of the DVD Complete Box set.