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Sunday, 30 November 2008

LITTLE BRITAIN


I understand that one of the biggest UK comedy hits in recent years, Little Britain has flopped horribly in the US.

I'm not surpised as its humour was often silly and near to the knuckle. I think it's massive success in the UK was not so much down to the jokes but because it went totally against the politically correct bunch and made a refreshing change. And some of the grotesque characters were brilliant piss takes of certain elements in UK society.

I'd be interested to get an American persepective on the series. Why did it fail? Is American and British humour really that different?

11 comments:

Ray said...

I don't have much time for American comedy. Mainly, because it has changed over the years. Shows like 'Amos and Andy', 'I Love Lucy', 'George and Gracie Burns' and 'The Beverley Hillbillies' were funny. The modern stuff doesn't really know how to raise a laugh nor do these shows seem to be able to laugh at themselves.
Whereas, British comedy can do all of these things. 'Little Britain' is a parody that just takes 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' another step forward.
Having said all that - the Americans have produced Joan Rivers and Rich Little who can cross the cultures just as Bob Hope and Cary Grant did.

David Cranmer said...

My wife and I just watched an episode of Little Britain USA on HBO for the first time a couple of days ago. We thought it was hilarious. One skit of a "woman" gambling away her jewelry and clothes and then ended by saying 'you have to know when to stop' was a riot. I can't account for the humor of the rest of America, but for me, I've always enjoyed British comedies. I think for most over here, the 'dry' sense of humor somehow doesn't translate, and certainly, intellectual comedies just don't fare well. Seinfeld is probably the most successful intelligent comedy for the US.

Jerry House said...

I saw the first episode on HBO and gave up. Strained too hard to be funny and didn't make it. Humor
(including silliness) should flow easily; this one didn't.

Chris said...

Haven't seen it but will take a look and let you know what I think. I've always been interested in the British/American comedy debate, but never am sure what to make of it. Everybody's going to find humor in different things--as you know, I like "Police Squad." I also have a soft spot for American sitcoms that are definitely cheesy but I love 'em anyway--Three's Company, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, The Cosby Show, Everybody Loves Raymond, etc. My wife and I have been watching a show called "Coupling" on BBC America, which is decent--although has the look, feel, and pacing of a standard American sitcom. Anyway, I will take a look at Little Britain. Thanks for the review!

Bruce said...

I usually love British comedies - Black Books, Spaced, Mighty Boosh, League Of Gentlemen, Father Ted and Alan Partridge. But for some reason I never warmed up to the original Little Britain it just seemed to recycle the same characters and jokes. I did try watching the US version and the one character that made me laugh was the astronaut. While the family with the son who still needed to breast feed tedious.

ARCHAVIST said...

Chris - Coupling did have an American feel - to me it was a British (unofficial IE- rip off) of Friends.

Ben Willans said...

I think that part of the problem with Little Britain is that for every really good sketch, there is one that is just unfunny and often cruel.

I still think the best thing they ever did was the teacher who was married to one of his former students. That was clever and original.

I personally think Coupling had more in common with Seinfeld than Friends.

Anonymous said...

I have a huge problem with "Little Britain" in some of the sketches it did. There was one scene that seemed to laugh at people with learning disabilities. I think that kind of "humour" is not very clever and shows a lack of imagination by the producers, (not to mention cruel, which another commenter pointed out.) To me, this is not very far removed from the bullies in the playground laughing at people who are "different." Give me John Cleese in "Fawlty TOwers" any day, who was genuinely clever and not just poking fun at easy targets.

Andrea

pattinase (abbott) said...

I want to try one now. Thanks for bringing it to our attention because it sits ON DEMAND unwatched. I have found "Stacey and Gavin" funny at times.

Charles Gramlich said...

I have to confess that I often don't get British humor. Lana loves it but I'm not a big fan of comedies anyway.

ARCHAVIST said...

Charles - this is interesting - what don't you get with UK humour? Whay do you think the major difference with UK and American humour