My enthusiasm for the American version of Top Gear has waned considerably, since they ditched Adam Carolla (due to scheduling conflicts) as host and went another direction. The problem with the show as it’s constructed now is that they’ve failed to find any hosts with the ability to be, you know, funny. The original BBC Top Gear is more than just a car show, it is perhaps one of the best shows on television, and even though its about cars the show is so good that you don’t have to be even the slightest bit interested in cars to become instantly addicted to it. My wife and I are both complete Top Gear addicts and neither of us knows how to change our car’s oil, let alone understand the intricacies of test tracks and motor challenges that Top Gear swims in.
The American version would have been brilliant with Carolla, who is both hilariously funny and a complete car nut, but they’ve moved forward without him and when it launches in November Adam Ferrara ("Rescue Me"), racer and stunt driver Tanner Foust and analyst Rutledge Wood will host. They’ll have some help in their first episode which will feature an all-star guest list of petrol heads (the British term for car enthusiasts). Tim Allen, Ty Burrell, Buzz Aldrin, Tony Hawk, Bret Michaels, Dominic Monaghan, Kid Rock and Michelle Rodriguez will all guest. If I had to guess, I’d say they’ll probably all be taking a spin in the show’s reasonably priced car, as a means of setting initial celebrity lap times for the record board. That’s how Jeremy Clarkson does it, and nobody does it better than Clarkson.
So the American version is moving forward anyway and even though they’re doing it a little differently from the BBC version in that they’ve failed to find anyone as funny and interesting as Clarkson, they’re still sticking with the format. Most importantly, they’ll have their own Stig.
What’s a Stig you ask? Some say he never blinks and that he roams around the woods at night foraging for wolves. Some say that he can hypnotise sheep, and that if he could be bothered he could swim the Atlantic ocean - underwater. All we know is he’s called The Stig and in the British version he was a masked stunt driver used to test out all their top cars, pushing them to the limit in an effort to define their performance. The Stig’s identity is never revealed (at least not intentionally) and he’s not just a test driver, at times he’s also a hilarious, comedic prop.
So the American version will have a Stig, and THR has revealed our first look at him. Here’s the American Stig in a side by side comparison with his cousin, the British Stig:
Oddly enough it seems The Stig has more than one American cousin. In a previous episode of BBC’s Top Gear, on a trip to America, Clarkson and the boys encountered a different American cousin of The Stig. This cousin seems to have been from a different, much less active and far larger branch of the family, while the current Stig looks like he may be related to Richard Hammond. Here's the other American Stig, Big Stig: