The Adam and Joe Show is a British television comedy show, written and presented by Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish, which ran for four series on Channel 4 between 1996 and 2001. Series 1 to 4 are available for free on 4oD.
The show took the form of short, condensed sketches interspersed with links filmed in what was purportedly Adam and Joe's bedsit in London, but was actually a shared "performance space" above a Body Shop in the town. Although the two comedians were involved in other projects before and after it was aired, The Adam and Joe Show is their most popular and well-known creation, and its unique brand of humour gained a cult following, especially among young twenty-somethings. The show is often described as one of the definitive pop culture parodies of recent times.
Each week, Adam and Joe would re-create a popular current feature film using stuffed toys
and elaborate cardboard sets. These 'Toymovies' condensed the story, look and action of each film into a couple of minutes. The most memorable included spoofs of Titanic
(Toytanic), The English Patient
(The Toy Patient) and Trainspotting
In this segment, Adam's pensioner father Nigel Buxton
(aka BaaadDad) reviewed music videos
by contemporary groups that he knew nothing about. In later shows he ventured out of his fireside armchair and into the field, going on a Club 18-30
holiday in Ibiza
, going undercover at a public school
ball, and smoking cannabis
for the first time at the Tribal Gathering
Dressed as policemen, Adam and Joe would raid rock stars’ homes, then examine their record collections for embarrassing or surprising items. The star would then be forced to dance to the shameful discoveries. Victims included Frank Black
, Gary Numan
, Tim Gane
and Laetitia Sadier
, Dave Navarro
, Cerys Matthews
, Nick Heyward
, Thomas Dolby
, Ray Manzarek
of The Doors
and Mark E. Smith
of The Fall
The Adam and Joe Show
regularly included songs on random pop cultural themes, co-written with their school friend Zac Sandler. The most memorable included "The Footie Song", an ode to football written by people who know nothing about it, "The Robert De Niro
Calypso", a tribute to the famous actor, "My Name is Roscoe", a country and western
song whose lyrics included the theory of relativity
and "Song For Bob Hoskins
". The footie song recently appeared briefly on a sky sports ad.
Star Wars TV
In this segment, Adam and Joe used 1980s Star Wars action figures
to parody current British TV shows. Targets included You've Been Framed
, Stars in Their Eyes
and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
. Throughout these sketches, Obi-Wan Kenobi
was memorably portrayed as a drunk vagrant.
, a character played by Adam Buxton, was an obnoxious, idiotic media entrepreneur who undertook absurd pop cultural projects in the real world. These schemes included the production of a short film about criminal junkies called Speeding on the Needlebliss
, and the formation of a teen band called 1471
. By the fourth series, the segment had become a parody of Omnibus
, with Korda fronting overly serious profiles of TV celebrities including Pat Sharp
and Handy Andy
Adam and Joe would regularly film each other performing camcorder pranks
in the real world. In the first series, they ventured into a supermarket in Brixton
and began helping themselves to the 'free' percentage from packages marked as including, for example, "20% free". In the second series, they ruined an unsuspecting man's front room while posing as designers from a home makeover show, then broke into a brewery to see how easy it would be to organise a piss-up. In the third series they built a poor-quality, movie-themed animatronic wax museum
from mannequins and charged tourists for entry, as well as competing as street mimes
in Covent Garden Market
Adam and Joe's links were performed sitting on their bed, in front of a crowded backdrop of contemporary pop cultural clutter. Memorable links included a guide to ways to fiddle with a candle while in a restaurant with a boring person; the most entertaining household objects to put in your microwave oven; and an experiment to see whether consuming Coca-Cola
and Space Dust
sherbet really does make your stomach explode. They concluded that no, it does not, but it is 'very bad'.
In 2004, a DVD was released featuring selected sketches from all four series, titled The Adam and Joe DVD. It included some previously unbroadcast material and other extras.
History and other projects
Adam and Joe began working on comedy material during their time at Westminster School
together, where they created numerous amateur films along with their friend Louis Theroux
, some of which they submitted to Channel 4's home video showcase Takeover TV
in 1994. Their submissions led to the duo hosting that show in 1995 and eventually being offered their own show the following year.
They won the Royal Television Society Best Newcomers Award in 1998, published The Adam and Joe Book in 1999, and presented BBC Three's coverage of the Glastonbury Festival in 2000 and 2002. Other spin-off projects included Adam & Joe's Fourmative Years in 1998 and Adam and Joe's American Animation Adventure in 2001. They also directed pop promos for Frank Black and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, as well as appearing in two Surf washing powder commercials, in which they comically brutalised Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Keith Harris and Orville.
In 2003, Buxton and Cornish presented Adam and Joe Go Tokyo, a Tokyo-based magazine show covering Japanese pop culture for BBC Three and BBC One. The same year they began hosting a show on UK radio station Xfm, filling in for Ricky Gervais on Saturday afternoons. When Gervais left the station they took over permanently, and continued to present the Saturday morning show, until Summer 2006. The best parts of these shows were condensed into a series of 20 podcasts. Bizarrely, their only TV show to be regularly repeated is their 2001 E4 series Shock Video, in which the duo provide an often totally irrelevant comic commentary on soft-core porn clips from around the world. It is currently screening on Bravo in the UK.
They are sometimes involved with The Idler, a biannual literary magazine.
From August 2006 until October 2007, they hosted the monthly "Coca-Cola New Music Podcast", which showcased unsigned bands from around Europe, presented in a similar style to their Xfm shows.
Adam and Joe started presenting the BBC Radio 6 Music Saturday morning show on 27 October 2007 and are currently signed up for a year's worth of shows. Features on the show include 'Song Wars', where they both compose original compositions based on a common theme, such as public transport. Listeners then vote for which song they think is the better. 'Text the Nation' is another regular feature where listeners send in anecdotes or concepts based on a theme or question set by Adam and Joe. Recent examples of themes have included 'Childhood Misconceptions' and 'Horror Film Ideas'. Their show won a Broadcasting Press Guild Award in 2008 for best radio programme of the year.