We all love Amy Schumer, everyone knows how brilliant Key & Peele are, and you’ve watched Will Ferrell’s classic SNL sketches countless of times. But in this weekly column Sketchy MVPs, The Laugh Button shines a light on comedians from our favorites shows and troupes who don’t often get rightful credit for their contributions to sketch comedy.
Last week, we highlighted Hugh Laurie’s contributions to British comedy. However, no one presented absurd, politically incorrect and downright hysterical British sketch comedy in the 00’s better than David Walliams and Matt Lucas in Little Britain.
For three seasons on BBC (and a one season specifically made for American audiences that aired on HBO), Little Britain featured characters that ranged from completely bonkers to horrifyingly realistic, making you question if the U.K. was really that much more sane than the U.S. (don’t worry, they absolutely still are). What made both Walliams and Lucas so brilliant is that they could create laughter through witty dialogue or through wordless sight gags (proving that sometimes less is more). We’ll praise Lucas a tad more some other time, but Walliams especially had a knack for switching back and forth between playing the straight man and truly bizarre characters.
Walliams last collaborated onscreen with Lucas in 2010 for a BBC mini-series, Come Fly With Me. Since 2012, Walliams has served as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent. Last year also saw him return to sketch comedy with David Walliams and Friends, co-starring fellow British comedy icon Joanna Lumley. In addition to making numerous TV and film appearances, Walliams has also become a best-selling children’s author, with his latest The World’s Worst Children to be released on May 19.
There are SO many characters we could go on and on about… too many to count, really. So for now, let’s limit ourselves to three of our favorite moments from Walliams’ time in Little Britain.
“Anne At The Library”:
We know we’re terrible people for laughing at a character like Anne, the mentally challenged patient being trained for integration into society. Yet we can’t refrain from bursting out in tears every time she screeches “Eh-eh-ehhh!” while throwing some object (whether it’s a book, a tree, or in one instance a guinea pig). The best part, though, is witnessing Anne’s sudden change while in the midst of destruction… truly simplicity at its best.
One of Walliams’ most beloved characters is arguably Sebastian Love, an aide to the Prime Minister (played by Anthony Head). Something about watching Love not so subtly express his crush for his boss (whether through “accidentally” putting himself in sexually suggestive positions, or simply getting overly jealous at anyone who he sees talking to him) is simply fun. And yes, the recurring bit is just as funny when Sebastian is promoted to the PM role in the series’ American run, where we find him competing for the President of the U.S.’ affection against the French Prime Minister (portrayed by Paul Rudd).
“Meeting The Parents”:
A sight gag for the ages… “Bitty,” that’s all you need to know, really.