The best nonfiction comedy program now on television is back with new episodes tonight.
The best current nonfiction comedy show on television, the BBC program Top Gear, is presenting another series of episodes not yet seen in the United States, starting tonight at 8 EDT on BBC America.
The show, for the unitiated, is all about cars, and is immensely funny. The hosts, three very funny Englishmen, make fun of the cars (of course), other aspects of driving and transportation, and of the general habits of the Brits, Americans, and just about everybody else.
Each of the hosts has a distinctive, humorous personality: blustering, gruff Jeremy Clarkson, ditzy James May, and cheerful, optimistic, diplomatic Richard Hammond. Together they hit all the right notes as they compete against one another for the audience’s laughter and to win bizarre contests designed by the show’s producers to test the cars and the hosts.
They’ve raced cars against a parachutist and people on foot, played soccer in Toyota Aygos chasing around a giant ball, and done all sorts of other wacky things.
In one episode the hosts entered a car in a twenty-four hour road race. In order to conform with BBC’s nonprofit status, they invented sponsors whose names they could paint on the vehicle, painting the words Penistone Tires and Larsen’s Biscuits prominently on its sides. Thus when the car was in the pit area and shown from the front with its doors open, the two sides read "Penis" and "Arse Biscuits."
Sophisticated British humor indeed.
One particularly enjoyable thing about Top Gear is that it is quite bold in its political incorrecness. The presenters regularly express contempt for environmentalists, government regulators, and other harmful do-gooders. It’s a welcome relief from the dreary leftism of our nation’s news media.
Although the presenters of Top Gear do mock us Americans a good deal, they also make fun of their own country, and after all, we deserve a good comical kick in the backside, given the prevalence here of environmentalists, government regulators, and other such pestiferous busybodies.
More information about Top Gear is available from BBC America.