Hit American website targets Little British public

The launchpad for some of America's top comics is to showcase UK talent
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The Independent Online

It has turned Paris Hilton into an unlikely star of modern-day satire, and could end up pricking the bubble behind Sarah Palin's assault on the US vice-presidency. Now the website that has revolutionised how America laughs is set to transform comedy in this country.

The UK version of the Funny or Die website will feature David Walliams and Matt Lucas in starring roles, providing exclusive clips of the Little Britain duo's new show, which is due to be screened on HBO pay-TV in the US.

Fans will be given a sneak preview of some of the new stars of the stateside version of the BBC comedy hit,including the character Ellie Grace, a wholesome-as-apple-pie, all-American youngster with an unhealthy interest in male genitals. Alongside newly created material from up-and-coming British writers, and some of the US version's most famous sketches, Walliams and Lucas will post a blog and oversee material produced by aLondon-based content team in partnership with Hat Trick Productions.

Created in California in 2007 by Saturday Night Live star Will Ferrell, funnyordie.com has gone from being underground cult viewing to providing a high-profile if unlikelybattleground in the US presidentialelection campaign. Hilton's recumbent satirising of the Republican hopeful John McCain was followed swiftly by Gina Gershon's scantily clad take-off of his running mate Sarah Palin. Millions of people have logged on to view these two sketches after they "went viral", finding their way into email inboxes across the world.

The US version of the website boasts some nine million unique viewers each month. So far about 37,000 videos have been uploaded, and rated by viewers on a sliding scale.

In the UK, viewers will be invited to vote on the videos using a ranking that runs simply from "Funny" to "Die".

Laughing matter at Funnyordie.com

1. Gina Gershon Strips Down Sarah Palin

2. Will Ferrell: The Landlord

3. Bill Murray: Fact Checker's Unit

4. Oscar de la Hoya: The Fight After the Fight

5. Eva Longoria: Sex Tape

6. Larry David: Help a bald man