Little Britain is imo a far weaker remake of League of Gentlemen with all the schlock hammer horror removed. Much as i like the shorter fatter duncan goodhew clone, how often has that guy in a wheelchair gone swimming as a punchline? Too often and never in enough shark-infested water for my liking.
Repetitive catchphrases are imo the weakest of all sketch formats. It's a pavlovian type trigger that tells a lazy viewer when they are supposed to laugh. And LB is filled with it. "yes sir, no sir, but yes but no" A catchphrase designed to make the viewer feel safe with the 'familiar set-up' is fine but it should never be mistaken for (or ever replace) a punchline. The best repeated weekly formats are those where the climax is taken to a higher comedic, more extreme, more violent end.
Why has LB won so many awards? I can only assume because comedy is now a chic form of fashion statement. Comedy is the new Rock (and judging by the charts, Rock is the new Comedy). Many people follow a show just to be in the 'in crowd' associated with the brand. God, how many bus-stops echo to shrieks of laughter as nicked catchphrases are repeated ad-infinitum to mates spluttering 'special brew' through their nostrils? Hmm, one more reason to dismantle the public transport system, i think. I can see the sketch show of tomorrow lasting less than 60 seconds as we dispense with all the 'fluff' and just state the excised punchlines.
Even Orwell's vision of the future seems brighter than that. At least there independent thought still existed (albeit as a crime)
Here's to writing and creating comedy that relies on its substance and not it's fashion statement.