British Comedy*

†††††††† The witty, satirical comedy of Great Britain has produced some of the most memorable, quirky characters in cinematic history. This unique brand of comedy has influenced film makers worldwide and continuously produces side splitters that keep audiences rolling in the aisles.

†††††††† The roots of the British comedy we are so well acquainted with today begin in television. Most notably, Monty Pythonís Flying Circus began as a television show, which aired from 1969Ė1974. This groupís influence on comedy can be compared to The Beatlesí influence on rock & roll. The group would eventually create feature length films including Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) and Monty Pythonís Life of Brian (1979).

†††††††† It would not take long for this interesting brand of comedy to cross the Atlantic. By the 1980ís the Pythons were becoming involved in their own projects that would include acting, writing, directing, and all other aspects of filmmaking they learned during their time in the group.

†††††††† Since Monty Python the British have offered up many notable players in all aspects of comedy. These individuals have offered up great films such as The Full Monty (1997), directed by Peter Cattaneo, Notting Hill (1999), directed by Roger Michell, and the newest brand of pop-culture comedies Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007), directed by Edgar Wright.

†††††††† We continuously see the influence of this brand of comedy in American films today, whether it is a blatant mimicking of style or actually using British actors in films to build interest. For instance, Chris Columbusí 1995 film, Nine Months, casts Hugh Grant as its lead actor. However, the rest of the cast is completely American including such actors and actresses as Julianne Moore, Tom Arnold, Joan Cusack, Jeff Goldblum, and Robin Williams. Note that this is not an instance in which the British actor/actress uses an American accent. He/she is simply the only British character in the film. Odd.

Brant Veal

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