My latest guilty pleasure is a silly import that’s put the classy British accents back in sketch comedy.
“That Mitchell & Webb Look” (Fridays at 9:20 p.m. on BBC America, with reruns overnight) stars David Mitchell and Robert Webb, comedians and writers who met at Cambridge University (smart!). Comparisons to a certain other British comedy troupe are inevitable, so I’ll just get it out of the way: The duo shares Monty Python’s love of silly wordplay, deadpan non-sequiturs and bone-dry whackiness.
But Mitchell and Webb remind me more of a more recent American duo, “Mr. Show’s” Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, for all the post-ironic winking that underscores the proceedings. It’s like the entire sketch-comedy show is a send-up of a sketch-comedy show.
One of my favorite recurring “Mitchell & Webb” bits is “Numberwang,” a parody of the painfully-simple-yet-pointlessly-opaque game shows that plague the airwaves (“1 vs. 100,” “Deal or No Deal,” “Amnesia,” “Identity” … shall I go on?). Contestants spew out a series of numbers for no apparent reason, and the host rewards them by shouting, “That’s Numberwang!”
Another highlight: A send-up of banal home-and-garden reality programming, like “This is a Show About a Man Who Buys a House and Then Moves Into That House,” or “This is a Show About a Woman Who Cooks Some Food and Then Eats That Food.”
Yeah, I think I’ve seen that show.
“That Mitchell & Webb Look” 9:20 p.m. Fridays, BBC America Grade: B+