They’re all British grifters, notable incompetents in their own country who came to America to exploit the cachet of an otherwise useless accent. These are people so stupid and obnoxious that people were mocking them ceaselessly at home, so they came to a country where gullible people think a British accent makes you sound intelligent. It’s a really familiar con, too.
So prevalent is the British mountebank in America that it has long been a literary trope. Perhaps the earliest specimens of the genre were the King and Duke from Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Claiming to be disinherited British royalty, these two “rapscallions” swindle their way across the Midwest, conning gullible, small-town Americans with their schemes. A century later, F. Scott Fitzgerald described the type in The Great Gatsby. “I was immediately struck by the number of young Englishmen dotted about,” Nick Carraway observes while in attendance at one of Jay Gatsby’s magnificent parties. “All well-dressed, all looking a little hungry, and all talking in low, earnest voices to solid and prosperous Americans. I was sure that they were selling something…They were at least agonizingly aware of the easy money in the vicinity and convinced that it was theirs for a few words in the right key.”
It’s too bad it doesn’t also work the other way. I think the impression an American accent leaves in the UK is that one is crass and loud and vulgar, which doesn’t help leave a good impression at all. If you’re going to try and dump Piers Morgan on us, it would only be fair if we could send you a Bill Maher, you know.