Little Britain to Set Its Sights on America


If you’ve caught the comedy show Little Britain on BBC America, you’d be forgiven for being a little bit confused. While the format is good old sketch comedy, the sketches are performed by a duo, David Walliams and Matt Lucas, often in extraordinarily elaborate costumes and makeup. The bits are somewhat brief and all feature recurring characters, so it might be a little tough to catch up to them–the guy in the wheelchair can actually walk!–but once you do, the show can achieve absolute face-slapping hilarity with even the most subtle of twists, as each sketch seems to build on the last, in an ever-tightening spiral of parody. Moreover, the theme of the show is specifically British (with a vague notion of portraying the country’s many fine citizens) so Americans might not quite understand the segment of society Vicki Pollard is mocking. Hint: Lady Sovereign.

When it was announced the show would be coming to HBO this year, many were even more confused—how was it going to translate? The show’s portrayals are sometimes astoundingly over-the-top, like a weight-loss clinic where the instructor often ends up shouting “Fat cow! Fat cow!” at the attendees. If Matt and David take on some American archetypes, would they have the confidence to attack our fine citizens with the same gusto they show their own?

Well, we needn’t have worried: the Daily Mail has some pictures of the new characters in store for us on Little Britain USA, and they look insanely, insultingly, hilarious. First we have muscle-bound jocks Tom and Mark, in apparently not-quite-realistic body suits, characters Walliams described as “possibly the most outrageous we’ve ever done.” There’s child beauty pageant hopeful Ellie Grace and her mother, who apparently has yet to understand Ellie doesn’t really conform to traditional notions of beauty; and Bing Gordyn, the 8th astronaut on the moon, which I can’t even say without laughing. The press release boasts of a guest appearance from Rosie O’Donnell and a few episodes directed by David Schwimmer, but it’s all about Matt and David, a duo who have taken comedy in a strange, wonderful, and sometimes jaw-dropping direction. Like all great satire, you know it’s gotta sting, but you can’t help but shout “do us next!”

The three seasons of Little Britain are out on DVD, and Little Britain USA premiers on HBO on September 28.