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Are You ‘Avin’ a Laugh?

February 18th, 2010 by Martin Moakler Social Community Manager

This week marks the premiere of The Ricky Gervais Show on HBO, and while we don’t yet know what the reaction to an animated version of his podcast will be, we can be sure that Ricky will remain in a special place in our hearts. He is one of a fraternity of British comedians that we Yankees absolutely adore. Their charm; their self-deprecation; the simple fact that they don’t know if you might be a redneck…we eat it up, and because it’s said with an accent, we can even claim to be getting cultured. So, in hono(u)r of Ricky’s new show, here are five Brits for whom our colonial hearts skip a beat. — Martin Moakler, Hulu Content Editor

Ricky Gervais
As David Brent in the original The Office, he was every boss we knew we were smarter than, but still had to endure. As Andy Millman in Extras, he was an everyman putting up with whatever he was dealt in a world of narcissists until his dream came true. And in his podcast, The Ricky Gervais Show, the Guinness World record holder for most downloaded podcast, he’s still an everyman, but one who teases a man named Pilkington. However, as the following clip from The Jay Leno Show demonstrates, Ricky is not above the stereotypes we have of every Brit.

Simon Pegg
Simon came on our national radar with the his films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, which managed to both parody the American horror and action genres and elevate them to the next level. Add to that his inclusion in the Star Trek franchise reboot, and it’s plain to see he has become the type of actor and writer who is idolized by the fanboys he portrayed in Brit-coms a decade ago … fanboy like in the show Spaced, in which he and a girl he just met (Jessica Hynes) pose as a couple in order to rent an apartm-… I mean, flat.

Hugh Laurie
If you were an American fan of Hugh throughout the 80s and 90s, chances are you have a lot of PBS paraphernalia floating around from their constant membership drives. His work on Black Adder and Jeeves and Wooster remained something that only your Anglophile uncle would watch at midnight on a Tuesday. But when Hugh became the pill-popping, acid-tongued Dr. Gregory House, America couldn’t stop tuning in for the abuse … if only for the fact that we are glad we’re not Cuddy.

Eddie Izzard
Watching Eddie perform standup is like going on an hysterical journey for which he doesn’t even know the route. Working without a script, this self-described “Executive Transvestite” will often find new jokes as he bounces between history lessons, pop culture musings and James Mason impersonations. Even in this clip from The Riches in which he plays a patriarch to a family of grifters, you can see his character discovering his story to ensure that he successfully hustles his marks into believing he’s a lawyer. Let’s hope that real life Eddie isn’t similarly trying to swindle our adulation.

Russell Brand
The latest English comic sensation to wash up on our shores already has had success (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), sizzle (his engagement to Katy Perry) and scandal (we all now think twice before making fun of the Jonas Brothers’ purity rings). He backs it all up with a riotous rock ‘n’ roll persona that leaves the lads laughing but with a tighter grip around their girls’ waists. Check out his appearance on The View where he proved he can take as much as he gives.

Is there a British comedian who makes you shout “Cool Britannia?” Let us know in the comments!