"Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which is in a way a very avant-garde piece of work, became an American success, and now you’ve got Spamalot in Vegas," observes British comedian David Walliams. "You can't ever really guess what’s going to take off and what isn't."
Walliams has his fingers crossed that Little Britain, the UK sketch-comedy smash created by and starring Walliams and Matt Lucas, can find a similar foothold stateside. After three seasons that topped the ratings in England -- and garnered a cult audience among Yanks who caught the show on DVD or on BBC America -- the show will make it across the Atlantic as Little Britain USA, debuting September 28 on HBO.
Little Britain USA is designed for longtime fans and newcomers alike. "We wanted to design the show so that an American audience who had never seen the show would get it, because we guess that that will be 90% of our viewers," Walliams says.
If you're one of those newcomers, Little Britain features Lucas and Walliams portraying a wide array of characters, like mouthy delinquent Vicky Pollard (Lucas), who tries talking her way out of every situation with a nearly incomprehensible torrent of complaints and schoolyard gossip. Emily Howard (Walliams), is the world's least convincing transvestite, who constantly insists that she's "a lady" who enjoys "lady's things." Daffyd (Lucas), is a chunky, latex-loving poof who insists that he's "the only gay in the village," despite constant evidence to the contrary. Marjorie Dawes (Lucas), poorly moderates weekly "Fat Fighters" diet meetings -- think Weight Watchers gone horribly wrong. Carol (Walliams) is a sneering receptionist who can wave off any request with a deadpan "Computer says no."
Both Walliams and Lucas seem surprised that these rather specifically British characters have been embraced by the show’s American fans. "To be honest with you," admits Lucas, "it wasn’t actually until we arrived to make the show that we had any sense that we had any audience at all in the States." Walliams adds, "People around the world have responded to [Vicky], but she's meant to be a teenage girl from Bristol, which is a city in the west of England. But comedy may be more universal than we might think."