With Channel 4’s Toast of London, Matt Berry has landed a deserved leading role. It’s been a long time coming.
Matt Berry finally has his own sitcom called Toast of London. And it’s bloody brilliant. Channel 4 has taken a leaf out of BBC3’s book and finally given something surreal a time slot that doesn’t exclude the diurnal viewing public. With Toast of London reaching an impressive IMDb rating of 8.2/10, it’s a wonder as to why it’s taken so long for Matt Berry to reach centre stage. His repertoire is one of pure comedy delight, deserving of a lot more recognition. Through his contributions, Matt Berry is a hero of modern British comedy.
Through his contributions, Matt Berry is a hero of modern British comedy
Firstly there’s Todd Rivers, the spoof actor playing Dr Lucien Sanchez in Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. The serious character of Todd Rivers behind the awful acting of Sanchez made for a hilarious cult character that gave us one of the most memorable lines of the show: “You and he were…buddies, weren’t you?” The comedy is not in the line itself, it’s in the delivery, and then in the discussion of the delivery. There’s also the brilliant performance of One Track Lover, which Berry plays live at his music gigs (yes, he’s a musician too).
Then there’s Dixon Bainbridge, one of The Mighty Boosh’s most underrated characters. Cantankerous and rude, Bainbridge was a brilliant villain, showing off Berry’s ability at playing the ill-mannered bastard. And although Richard Ayoade was originally lined up for the part, it’s hard to imagine him playing the role quite as convincingly. Berry is able to get a laugh simply from saying “you prick.”
Perhaps more recognisable to the masses is the genius invention of Douglas Reynholm. This misogynistic buffoon is more likeable than Berry’s previous characters (due to his naivety and general stupidity) and his introduction to The IT Crowd improved the show drastically – he has some of the best lines in the show. Again, this is down to his incredible timing and a voice that is able to turn a single word (“FATHER!”) into comedy gold.
Berry’s most outstanding work to date is Snuff Box, a sketch show so out-there that it’s hard to summarise
Berry’s most outstanding work to date, though, is his BBC3 show Snuff Box, which he co-wrote and performed with Rich Fulcher. This sketch show is so out-there that it’s hard to summarise, but holds within it some of British comedy’s funniest moments. Berry and Fulcher have a continuous narrative running throughout the show, playing two hangmen who frequent a gentleman’s club and get themselves into ridiculous situations. These scenes are broken up by random sketches that are so surreal they make The Mighty Boosh look like a documentary. If you haven’t seen Snuff Box, watch it. The show demonstrates that Berry isn’t just a comedy performer; he is a dab-hand at comedy writing as well. He provided all the music for the show too, and man is that theme tune catchy.
Now we have Toast of London. Co-written with Arthur Mathews, Toast of London is one of the best things Channel 4 has decided to take a chance on. The episodes have increased in quality as they’ve progressed and the eccentric humour is spot-on. A lot of comedies try too hard to be unconventional and it shows, but Toast of London makes it seem effortless. Here’s hoping there’s a second series, but it’s just great to see Matt Berry in the leading role he deserves.
Now, re-read this article in Matt Berry’s voice to improve it massively.
Featured image: Channel 4
Inset image: BBC