Back in 2008, Old Gregg was one of the most bizarre viral videos on YouTube.
Old Gregg documented the fateful encounter between a hapless fisherman and a grotesque grotto-dwelling man-fish with a penchant for Baileys Irish Cream and a "mangina" that emitted a hypnotizing beam of light. Their relationship played out like a "nice guy" fantasy, with Old Gregg kidnapping the fisherman, offering him poorly drawn paintings, and insisting they fall in love while threatening bodily harm (ultimately culminating in a song and dance number).
Old Greg www.youtube.com
It hit that level of quotability that made it a favorite at weirdos' high school lunch tables (speaking from personal experience here). It's a video that's definitive of a bygone YouTube era when viral hits lingered in the Internet's consciousness for years instead of days. But like everything else in the modern Internet age, the memory of Old Gregg eventually faded with time.
Cut to 2019.
My girlfriend and I were looking for something light to watch on Netflix and settled on The Great British Baking Show. I loved the first few seasons, back when Mary Berry was judging and Mel and Sue were hosts, but I stopped watching after all three departed the show on less than amicable terms. Why would I continue watching when the only legacy judge would be big villain Paul Hollywood?
Noel Fielding and Sandi ToksvigThe Great British Baking Show/Netflix
Well, I started watching the newest season, and oh boy, I was so wrong. The Great British Baking Show is better than ever. Mary Berry's replacement, Prue Leith, is the sauciest of dames, and the two new hosts, Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, are the absolute best. They even make big villain Paul Hollywood a little more likable.
Noel, in particular, with his friendly "goth" persona and impish antics, stands out as a real joy to watch, infusing the wholesome show with an oddly irreverent humor (and some truly ghoulish shirts). So, of course, after binging all the newer seasons over a single weekend, I Googled Noel to see what other shows he had done.
As it turned out, Noel Fielding was a member of a British comedy troupe called The Mighty Boosh, which had a BBC show that later aired on Adult Swim. It sounded so familiar, but why? Had I watched it on Adult Swim? I didn't think so, but...Wait. No. It couldn't be.
The Old Gregg YouTube video was, in actuality, a shortened version of a longer sketch from The Mighty Boosh. And yes, Noel literally referenced Old Gregg during an episode where one of the bakers made a mermaid cake, and it went right over my head. Now everything made sense. Noel Fielding was Old Gregg.
The man sardonically reading off hard-to-pronounce baking terminology in a brightly lit kitchen-tent was the same man I quoted ad nauseum whenever I yelled, "I HAVE A MANGINA," across the lunch room to my weird friends in high school. My mind was blown. I felt like my entire life had come full circle.
And yes, I realize many people already knew this, and I'm late to the party. But wow. The host of The Great British Baking Show is Old Gregg. What a world we live in.