The first of a new experimental series in which Stephen Fry will be played by Hugh Laurie and Hugh Laurie will be played by Stephen Fry. The part of 'A Bit' will be played by And, and the part of 'Of...
A comedy panel game in which being Quite Interesting is more important than being right. Stephen Fry is joined each week by four comedians to share anecdotes and trivia, and maybe answer some questions as well.
As the title suggests, "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" is less of a specific format than a 'coat-hanger' for short sketches, starring the comical duo in various, recurring or unique roles: Stephen Fry, the sophisticated giant who usually plays the smug one, and comparatively small Hugh Laurie, usually playing the patsy. Written by
Monty Python's footballing philosophers sketch is a good example of the painful varsity guff that has been a part of British TV and radio right up until today's 'League of Gentlemen'. It isn't what Fry and Laurie do at all. They plough a completely original furrow of snatched conversation, admass and inane banter that forms an impressionistic picture of the most baffling and frustrating 'bits' of the British experience.
A collection of sketches and routines that could well baffle some foreign viewers who may not understand the love/hate relationship that most sensible Britons have with their country. For example, in mentioning the town 'Utoxeter' Fry and Laurie are able to throw the audience completely. One viewer may remember a trip to the town, another may never have been there but is able to wonder quite how unpleasant/pleasant it may be. Some will know that there is a race track there but know no more. And we all get to celebrate a name that is bound to be far more interesting than the place it's self. Don't let that put you off. Most of their material is more universal than this example implies. It's this kind of circular thinking that Fry and Laurie spend most of their time exploiting while also chucking in TV show pastiche, songs and quite a few traditional 'shop sketches' that simply leave Monty Python wheezing on the touch-line. What I mean is that random elements are seemingly clumsily adhered to tried and tested comedy formulae to create something quite striking and original.
It's not to everyone's taste but if you believe that stupidity and intelligence are the two vital sides of the comedy coin then this pair may be for you.
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