Al Murray’s travelling across the Atlantic to star in his own comedy pilot Union Jackass for Fox, according to Variety. He’s basically going to play the Pub Landlord again, but this time relocated to Santa Monica as he follows his ex-wife and son.
It could be good. It could be bad. Murray’s Landlord-based shows have never quite matched the wit of his stand-up performance, which relies a lot on the audience knowing the unwritten rules of pub culture and laughing as they’re actually spelt out by someone. The Landlord’s bigotry runs a risk of either being watered down or just being offensive in a US setting.
It’s clear, also, that this isn’t really another British invasion – the only invasion of the US we’re mounting at the moment is a format invasion, in which the US just buys the ideas behind our programmes rather than the programmes themselves. Instead, this is really just Fox looking for a new Al Bundy or its own version of CBS’s King of Queens and the various other “beautiful wife, slobby working class husband” sitcoms that are in vogue (well, just passing vogue) at the moment.
There is another advantage to importing your fall guys. Is there anything quite as funny as laughing at the backwardness of other countries? You can enjoy the nastiness while simultaneously looking down on the uncivilised foreigner and pretending to be above it all. That, after all, is one of the reasons for the success of Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen’s other alter-ego.
Anyway, I’m sure it’s going to be interesting…