Matt Berry’s ‘Year of the Rabbit’ Is Ripe for Laughs

Ben Meadows/IFC

It’s already looking to be a big year for Matt Berry.

The English actor, writer, comedian and musician is gaining familiarity with audiences in the States, thanks to his starring role as Laszlo in FX’s vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows (returning for Season 2 in April) and IFC’s recent airing of his comedy series Toast of London. This month, IFC premieres Year of the Rabbit (Wednesdays at 10:30pm ET/PT beginning Feb. 19), a spoof of Sherlock Holmes-style mysteries, featuring Berry as off-the-rails Detective Inspector Eli Rabbit.

“It’s all accident,” Berry says, insisting that the concurrence is not part of a grand scheme to conquer America. “It just so happens that all of those things have just basically come at the same time. It just all helps everything. I love them all, and I want all of them to do well.”

In Year of the Rabbit, Berry’s Inspector Rabbit is a hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, loose-cannon cop in Victorian London. Rabbit is assisted by his Watson-esque new partner Wilbur Strauss (Freddie Fox) and the country’s first female police officer, Mabel Wisbech (Susan Wokoma), as they try to crack the toughest and weirdest cases on the seedy streets of East End. In one episode, they hunt down a murderer disguised as the legendary “Brick Man” in a comedic spin on Jack the Ripper.

“I’ve always been very interested in the Ripper since I worked in the London Dungeon,” Berry says. “I’ve always wanted to do something about the Ripper. But I was also a huge The Sweeney fan, which was a 1970s cop show in the U.K., and I wanted to take that idea backwards in time. I hadn’t really seen that done in Victorian times. The only Victorian stuff that is made is usually quite serious and usually quite worthy. There’s no humorous side.”

Could Rabbit someday track down a killer who has a thirst for blood? Don’t rule it out. “If I get permission, I’d would like Laszlo to be in Rabbit in some way, even if it’s just at the end of the street,” Berry says. “Those kinds of things are fun if you can kind of cross them.”

Maybe Laszlo will show up in Rabbit Season 2. IFC has already renewed the show for another installment.

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Some thing I like (in no particular order): Sports, Star Wars, LEGO, beer, 'The Simpsons' Seasons 1-13, my family and the few friends who are not embarrassed to be seen with me. Why yes, I am very interested in how much you like 'Alaskan Bush People.' #LynxForLife