Sketch Comedy Saturday: Big Train
by Annie Wu, posted Jun 6th 2009 2:10PM
Hey, gang! It's time to get your sketch comedy fill and kick the Saturday Night Live summer break shakes.
This week, I'm here to educate you on a little British program called Big Train. It was created by Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan, the brains behind Father Ted, and ran two seasons/series in 1998 and 2002. Most of the sketches were surreal and played with the most beautifully serious deadpan expressions. There are people in giant cat and mouse costumes getting in fights, professional evil hypnotists lurking in hallways, as well as jockeys being preyed upon by Prince, so it's a wonder the actors could ever keep straight faces.
Though the cast went through a few changes from the first to second season, there was always a strong group of performers. Familiar faces include the now-super-famous Simon Pegg of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and, most recently, Star Trek fame. Julia Davis later went on to create the black-as-hell comedy Nighty Night, Catherine Tate became the tenth Doctor's sassiest companion, and Mark Heap continued his strange combination of neurotic and physical comedy as Brian in Spaced and Dr. Alan Statham in Green Wing (which I previously gushed about here).
Here are a few of my personal favorites that I like to show newbies in order to get them hooked as soon as possible:
Both seasons/series are available on DVD. Yes, even for Region 1.