Page last updated at 07:27 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 08:27 UK

Talking Shop: Matt Lucas

Matt Lucas first rose to fame as the giant drum-playing baby George Dawes on the BBC Two comedy quiz show Shooting Stars with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer.

Matt Lucas
Matt Lucas first rose to fame on comedy quiz show Shooting Stars
He is now more widely known for his partnership with David Walliams in creating the hit BBC comedy Little Britain.

Its huge success has since spawned a US series, Little Britain USA, featuring new and existing characters like the much-loved Vicky Pollard.

The pair are now spearheading the UK launch of comedy website Funny or Die, which was founded by US actor Will Ferrell in 2007.


When did you first discover Funny or Die and how did you get involved?

My friend emailed a link to the American site and in particular the Will Ferrell sketches and it was really funny. Then we were approached to work on the British version and we were really excited.

It's an interesting site because it mixes material from established comedians with that of aspiring comedians and newcomers. It's something we're really excited to be part of.

What can we expect to see on the site from you?

The site is going to feature some material from the forthcoming Little Britain USA show and have some behind the scenes stuff.

And then over the next few months David and me will film some exclusive stuff for the site and the idea is to get other comedians to add stuff to the site, and to have as much material as possible from members of the public. The aim is to make a dedicated comedy platform.

So how can aspiring comedians get involved?

You can visit the website and it'll explain how you can upload material.

David Walliams and Matt Lucas
Tom and Mark are some of the new characters created for Little Britain USA

And you'll also have a blog I hear?

Yes, we'll be blogging away and letting people know what we're up to. We don't really have a Matt and David website so it'll be our way of communicating outside of the shows themselves.

Lots of US stars have appeared on US Funny or Die - can we expect a list of UK celebs to flex their comedy muscles?

That's the idea, we're just beginning the process of that now. We have a wish list of comedians but I daren't mention any as we haven't tied any of them up yet, but I know Peter Serafinowicz is doing some stuff.

The nice thing about it is if you look at the sort of stuff Will Ferrell does on the US site, they do stuff in a kind of immediate, relatively lo-fi kind of way.

So whereas Little Britain requires scripts and re-writes and a big production team, on Funny or Die if you get an idea you whip out a video camera and muck about and upload it to the site, so there's a kind of instant, immediate nature to it.

Speaking of Little Britain, on your US show you had a lot of guest stars. Who was the best to work with and why?

We enjoyed very much working with Rosie O'Donnell, who appeared in a Marjorie Dawes sketch. She's great fun to work with and when she walked out the live studio audience were thrilled.

She started off as a stand up comedian so her comic sensibility was very well honed so she knew how to play the sketch.

We also had Sting - who we had met on a flight bizarrely a few months earlier, so we were cheeky enough to ask. We thought he could only say no, but fortunately he said yes so David got to kiss him.

Sting had a big beard at the time so I don't know if David had stubble rash or not.

Were you nervous about performing in front of a US audience?

Yes, because we honestly didn't know if anyone would turn up! We thought no one knows us out here but we were wrong because they had to turn people away.

The audiences were fantastic and unanimously positive. I was nervous but it faded away once we were in front of them.

The other thing we had was David Schwimmer [of Friends fame] directing. There's no better director to work with than someone who's had experience himself of performing in front of an audience. We'd love to work with him again - he's got a fantastic comedy mind.

Matt Lucas as Marjorie Dawes
Rosie O'Donnell features in a sketch with Marjorie Dawes in Little Britain USA

How does it feel having your catchphrases from the show used in every day language now?

It's odd because when we began doing the show it was on radio and then went to BBC Three, then BBC Two, then BBC One and is now in the US and shown around the world.

Yesterday, I was at an airport in Budapest and the woman at the check in desk was doing catchphrases at me.

It's strange to think you've been involved in the creation of something that's affected so many people but it's nice to think you can make people laugh. I'm chuffed to bits when I hear somebody do a catchphrase - it puts a smile on my face.

Last year you were placed eighth in the list of the UK's 100 most influential gays and lesbians, how does it feel to be so powerful?

It's a power I hope I can wield with responsibility and it's a power I hope doesn't go to my head.

I know that recently we genuinely were named as the people that Britain would most like to have a barbecue with.

But I would warn people if they do intend to have a barbecue with us I do have quite a hearty appetite so I'm not necessarily the most ideal person to invite to a barbecue because I do like my sausages, I do like my burgers and I do like my chicken drumsticks, so you have been warned.

Matt Lucas was talking to BBC entertainment reporter Genevieve Hassan.




SEE ALSO
In pictures: Little Britain USA
23 Sep 08 |  Entertainment
Comic Lucas reveals movie plans
22 Sep 08 |  Entertainment
US Little Britain set for BBC One
05 Sep 08 |  Entertainment
Comic Lucas splits with partner
18 Jun 08 |  Entertainment

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