Recently I discovered and became a fan of Matt Berry. Berry is a British comic actor/musician who’s main claim to fame is his starring role as Stephen Toast on Toast of London, a comedy series made for Channel 4 in the UK, which can be seen on Netflix (and is highly recommended).
Before Toast of London, Berry was on the later seasons of The IT Crowd, and appeared as a guest on many shows on both sides of the Atlantic, like The Sarah Silverman Show, The Mighty Boosh, The Wrong Door, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Portlandia, Community and Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace, among others.
One of the more brilliantly surreal aspects of Toast of London, which follows the life of a supremely arrogant yet minimally-talented middle-aged actor, is the presence of a musical number in each episode. The music, written by Berry, is in his impressive Pop-Prog style, and is no surprise to longtime fans of Berry’s work. He’s released six albums so far.
Another musical notch on his belt is a half-hour comedy film from 2004, shot to look like an artifact from 1978, of a musical retelling of the story of the birth of Christ, told from the perspective of the Innkeeper. It’s hilariously filled with the excesses of a certain other beloved musical rock opera about the life of Christ, complete with histrionic vocals and notes held to the point where they’re smothered to death.
ADBC: A Rock Opera features music by Matt Berry and lyrics by Matt Berry and Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh), and the cast is filled with friends and colleagues from the British comedy scene. It flies by, and if you’re familiar with a certain other rock opera about Jesus, one which may have had a huge presentation a week ago today, you might find yourself laughing so much that it hurts.