Funz and Gamez – the HITcomedy show that’s cunningly created for kids and adults – has been one of the surprise hits over the past 12 months, earning a BBC3 pilot and winning the Fosters Panel Prize. Creator of the show Phil Ellis recalls his favourite moments of an incredible year
Wowz, it’s been over a year since we first previewed Funz and Gamez and what a roller coaster ride of pain, regret and funz it’s been. Since winning the Foster’s Panel prize, I’ve started dating a 20-year-old beauty consultant from Burnley, she’s 13 years younger than me! BRILLIANT! Bonzo the Dog has branched out into advertising a pig-themed clothing range in Scandinavia. Jim Elf has got himself a full-time job on the stock market and Uncle Mick is still missing, presumed dead.
Anyway, here are my top 5 moments from the shows so far.
5 – The London tyrants
Toward the end of the show, we encourage the kids to throw balls at Jim the Elf. This was one of the kids’ favourite games and they could eventually be encouraged to sit down after throwing several tonnes of sweets toward the back of the room. However, during the Soho Theatre run, we hadn’t taken into account how badly behaved and spoiled a lot of the kids would be. They were genuinely uncontrollable and their parents would happily sit and watch as their offspring physically attacked us with proud grins that suggested they were thinking, “Oh look at Marmaduke and Zeus expressing themselves through the most basic and pure method possible: violence”. One day, I was walking amongst the chaos with one child sat on my foot, gripping my leg, another pelting balls at my face at point-blank range and one particularly feral child beating me with a juggling club. The only way I could get the parents to remove them was pointing out that I wasn’t CRB-cleared.
4 – Son of Satan
During one show, there was this toddler who just kept appearing at random points of the show, in different areas of the stage. You’d never see him wandering there, you’d just turn around and he’d be stood there holding one of our balloons. I’m sure he was the son of Satan (who I hear is a big fan) and his expressionless face and piercing dead eyes still haunt me to this day.
3 – Uncle Mick Gets Bored
Uncle Mick (left) plays a game which involves 2 children forcing marshmallows into each of their parents’ mouths, one at a time, whilst they attempt to say the words “fluffy bunnies”. Eventually Uncle Mick gets bored and he starts stuffing marshmallows into the parents’ mouths, to speed the game up. One day, I was staring at the dad of a kid, as Uncle Mick was forcing handfuls of marshmallows upon him and realised that it was a “Brother of the Night’s Watch” from Game of Thrones. That made me chuckle … although we did nearly get sued that day.
2 – Watergate
After a child had beaten Bonzo during a water pistol dual, she decided to focus fire on his crotch, which amused us all hugely, but not so much Bonzo. I found it so funny that I thought it would be a great idea to empty my glass of water over Bonzo’s head. Now, I may have forgotten that the keyboard was in front of Bonzo. Apparently, water and electrical devices do not mix very well, I should’ve remembered this – we lost Uncle Paul to a toaster and foot spa-related incident, back in ’98. As we played out the show with our final song, the keyboard did not respond to the correct keys being hit, due to the water damage. It sounded like the ghost of Les Dawson had possessed Bonzo. Oh what funz was hadz.
1 – Straight-talking Charlotte
My all-time favourite moment was toward the end of a particularly fun show in Edinburgh, during which one girl had been precocious and pedantic throughout. I introduced the final game and was explaining the rules when the girl loudly exclaimed, “It’s pretty obvious you know! You just put the balls into the bowl.” People laughed at how straight-talking the girl was, and she had been a lot of fun to banter with to be fair. I replied with, “You know what Charlotte, you see to me to have the get-up-and-go attitude that will make you succeed in any career you choose. However, with this attitude, you will also die alone!” The fact that everyone in the audience gasped and then fell about laughing, as did Charlotte, made me realise that we could push the boundaries of the show a lot further than we had initially expected.