18/11/2011 07:33 GMT | Updated 28/11/2011 08:19 GMT

Is Jack Whitehall Hollywood's Next Big Thing?

For every Russell Brand, Ricky Gervais and Sacha Baron Cohen, there's a gazillion* British comedians who don't achieve success in the States - should they want it in the first place, of course. As a result, it's an integral part of the British psyche that we'll always be slightly surprised when one of our own makes it big across the Pond.

So imagine Huffington Post UK's raised eyebrows - in delight, naturally - when we read in American showbiz bible Variety that a certain posh young stand-up is the name on American lips right now. Or American agents' lips, at least.

"Every Hollywood talent agency is trying to sign Jack Whitehall," reports Variety magazine in a piece entitled "Brit helmers make strides Stateside". It also highlights the recent American successes of Pulling's Sharon Horgan, who's signed a deal with ABC Studios, and Drew Pearce, who's gone from writing-producing the ITV2 sitcom No Heroics to co-writing the screenplays for Iron Man 3 and Sherlock Holmes 3.

Indeed, as Variety points out, it's not just in front of the camera that British talent is shining - but behind it, too.

Because of the rising number of UK directors now working on US comedy shows and films, Variety calls it "the most stealthy aspect of the current British invasion".

Their ranks include Julian Farino (Entourage), Tristram Shapeero (Community, Parks and Recreation) and James Bobin (the forthcoming The Muppets movie) - and Bobin, who also co-created Flight of the Conchords and Da Ali G Show, attributes some of this British success to comedy cross-pollination.

"In the past 10-15 years, our cultures have kind of merged because of the Internet," he tells Variety. "A lot of things that work [in the US] work in the UK."

And from the sounds of it, one of those things could be Jack Whitehall. Well, Hollywood always needs fresh meat, doesn't it?

*official figure