What's in Paisley's Pants? Political ramblings about things that catch my attention... (rather than some smutty double entendre...)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Little Britan receives award for comedy writing...

An infinite number of monkeys could write Shakespeare, but it only takes two to come up with Little Britain.

Last night, David Walliams and Matt Lucas were awarded with the inaugural Ronnie Barker award for Comedy Writing at the British Comedy Awards. It is, appropriately, an absolute joke.

Little Britain engages in the cheapest, laziest form of comedy writing, that is, catchprhase comedy. It is the reason it is so successful - the catchphrases translate so very easily into playground language, mainly because they're not too far from it already. While in the first series, there was some element of intelligence in the writing, that has been ironed out in favour of crude stereotyping and the ever-present catchphrases.

The actual humour of catchphrases escapes me. How often is it funny to hear somebody say 'I want that one'? Yet the studio audience, and presumably the audience at home (the show receives absurdly high viewing figures), relish the prospect of this line being said twice an episode. Some would argue that the hunour comes partly from knowing what is going to happen next, but if this is true, then LB lacks the imagination to make the journey from premise to punchline entertaining for the viewer (a failure which is highlighted by the absurd, entirely predictable, but hugely entertaining comedy of errors 'The Worst Week of My Life', shown after LB). Even The Fast Show, the last big catchphrase comedy show, showed imagination, and allowed characters to develop within the established framework of 'what they do' - look at Ted and Ralph, for example.

By all means award Little Britian for gaining high audience figures, or selling a huge amount of merchandise, or even opening the gates for getting comedy off BBC 3 and onto the mainstream channels, but don't reward Matt Lucas and David Walliams for the quiality of their writing, as any quality is woefully absent.