The British are coming!

New York faces comic invasion

British comics are set to invade New York, thanks to the city's leading comedy promoter.

Omid Djalili, Boothby Graffoe, Bill Bailey, The League of Gentlemen and Irishman Dylan Moran will all get off-Broadway runs from early March.

Westbeth Entertainment, which has previously been responsible for introducing Eddie Izzard and Graham Norton to the States, is hosting the shows in the 250-seater Village Gate theatre.

Producer Arnold Engelman said: "Stand-up over here (in England) is considered an art form; in America, it's relegated to comedy clubs and 20-minute sets."

"The British are pioneering a new breed of comedy. Acts like Izzard and the League are crafting two-hour theatrical shows... [with] humour which is sophisticated, ironic and edgy."

The move comes as America increases its appetite for British comedy.

Norton has just signed a deal with Comedy Central, and Izzard has just completed a successful theatre tour. Meanwhile, remakes of TV shows including The Office and Father Ted continue apace, despite the high-profile failure of the American version of Coupling.

The original of The Office is up for a Golden Globe this weekend, as is star Ricky Gervais - a first for a British show.

Published: 23 Jan 2004

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