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|Index||16 reviews in total|
43 out of 46 people found the following review useful:
I want all of this on dvd now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, 19 December 2003
Author: liam-18 from Ireland
A real gem of a program for anyone who likes their humour dry with a hint of genius! It is said that there are two types of comedy performers, clowns and wits but Fry & Laurie break this rule from the off. With perfect awareness of their characters physical presence they bring the intelligent, charming, surreal and downright odd sketches to life with zest and sheer love of wordplay and being silly for the sake of it. Note to the BBC please pull your finger out and release every last bit of this fine comedy series on dvd right now!
21 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Triple damn and an extra slice of damn for tomorrow!, 2 September 2006
Author: trigerchic from United States
This is the BEST comedy sketch show I have ever seen, besides or
perhaps alongside with Monty Python. Their characters are flawless and
the duo are absolutely perfect for one another. Laurie wonderfully
balances out Fry's excellent but at times overbearing presence, while
Fry brings Laurie round and supports him subtly but effectively.
Possibly the most outstanding aspect of this marvel is their hilarious
and creative wordplay, which is made even better by Lauries comical
physical comedy and Fry's occasional hilarious slapstick. An example of
their creativeness is seen here:
Fry: "Which of sir's manifold hairs would he care to place in my professional care for the purposes of securing an encutment?"
Laurie: "Well, all of them."
Fry: "My, I haven't cut a full head of hair since before the war!"
Another favorite of mine is the recurring skit of Tony and his coffee-obsessed boss Control, as their interactions are robotic and excessively civil, while at the same time having innuendo like undertones. They supposedly work for the CIA.
This is, again, the most drop-dead hilarious show you will ever come across. If you see only one of Hugh Laurie's or Stephen Fry's works, let this be it!!!
33 out of 47 people found the following review useful:
"Oh Christ, I've Left The Iron On!", 10 April 2002
Author: lordwoodbine from London, England
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
They plough a completely original furrow of snatched conversation, admass
and inane banter that forms an impressionistic picture of the most
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.
17 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Hilarious, 26 August 2006
Author: jash-1 from NYC
I liked Jeeves & Wooster a lot. But it wasn't until I saw BlackAdder
that I truly became a fan of Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. Over the
years I have shifted more toward Laurie than Fry, with "House"
completing that shift. (Okay, I'm a House fanatic.) But, living in the
U.S., I had never been able to see ABOFAL (other than the occasional
sketch posted to the internet). Fortunately, the first two series are
now out on DVD. And I've just finished watching the first one.
These men are spectacular together. The acting is beyond reproach. But it is the writing that deserves special note. It is sharp, funny, sly, silly and merciless in skewering the pompous and the ordinary alike. But, above all, it never condescends. They assume the audience is a smart as they are.
I'm tempted to give an example, but so many of the sketches have hilarious twists at the end and I wouldn't want to ruin any of the punchlines for future viewers. But I can promise you at least two or three laugh-out-loud moments in every episode (even if you are watching all by yourself, as I was.)
I do have one quibble which kept me from giving ABOFAL a score of 10. The person who mixed the soundtrack on the DVDs should be taken out and tortured. Slowly. And painfully. There is a laugh track that is silent until they get to a punchline. Then it is dropped in, loudly enough to rattle the walls, frequently ruining the next line. And, in the final sketch in Series 1, the music actually drowns out the actors.
Edit - I have since learned that ABOFAL did not use laugh tracks. The laughter was from the studio audiences (and those tapes have since been used as laugh tracks on other shows.) So the problem was not that they added laughter too loudly, just that the DVDs had a sound mixer who did not comprehend that letting the at-home audience hearing the dialog is more important than proving that the studio audience enjoyed themselves at the taping.
15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Two Men And An Ampersand, 8 August 2006
Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
Amidst the 'alternative' comedy chaos of the '80's, 'A Bit Of Fry & Laurie' arrived almost unnoticed. Unlike 'The Young Ones', it had no ambitions to 'tear up the rule book book of comedy', but simply to present funny, surreal sketches. 'Not Only But Also' was undoubtedly an influence; highlights included 'Its A Wonderful Life' starring Rupert Murdoch, 'Kickin' Ass', and the 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' send-up with Fry as a Smiley-type intelligence boss who comes out with such cryptic phrases as: "You know I can't stick The Department up my arse, George.". Another notable feature were the vox pop sequences. As a double act, Fry and Laurie were peerless. After three excellent seasons, the show moved to B.B.C.-1 for its final run, which predictably became bogged down by guest-stars such as Caroline Quentin. The pair then split to pursue successful solo careers. It would be nice to think that they might come together again some day to give us more of their offbeat brand of humour.
12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Amazing linguistic manipulation mixed with surreal imagination, yet the show somehow remains completely unpretentious, 25 April 2007
Author: Art_Vandalay_316 from United Kingdom
Well, really I don't know what to write, as I summarised it all in the
title of the review! "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" is a programme that is
unique of its time. There were other surreal comedy products in the
80s, such as the Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, The Young Ones and some
of the Comic Strip Presents material. However, this is the only
mainstream show which managed to effectively bridge the gap between
sophistication and comedy, yet somehow managing to avoid coming across
Often as silly as it is clever, the comedy never falls into the trap of alienating a certain audience, always having something for everyone to enjoy, yet never compromising its unique style in doing so.
It's no surprise that the stars of the show are Stephen Fry - renowned for his intelligence and cultured nature and Hugh Laurie - renowned for his quirky and laughter-inducing surreal style. Combined, they make a perfect team.
In the 80s and 90s Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson were known as the kings of the 'nob gag'. Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie will forever be the distinguished gentlemen of surreal wit.
6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A Duo Doubling Comedy for the Viewer, 9 August 2008
Author: bnkybrdwybby from United States
If you love comedy that can be intelligent and frivolous at the same
time, A Bit of Fry & Laurie is the perfect show to view. Fry and Laurie
each bring to the table their own form of comic genius which when
combined becomes an explosion of guaranteed laughs. Anyone who has seen
this show has their own favorite sketches. Some love the spy sketches
in which Fry & Laurie satirize the British Secret Serivce and the
mechanically amiable Tony and Control. Others may prefer the Utoxiter
sketches featuring the pair as scotch-sucking John and Peter, always
trying to outwit their rival, Margorie. My own personal favorites are
Hugh Lauries singing numbers (particularly in the fourth series) and
any sketch that involves Hugh Laurie and a bar (in particular the one
with Fry as the piano player whom he forces to play "Strangers in the
Night." For those who enjoy satirical comedy at its best, you will love
the work of Fry and Laurie.
As a citizen of the United States, my exposure to the brilliance of British comedy is limited to one night a week on public television. I was familiar with Hugh Laurie from Stuart Little and his guest appearance on Friends. It was in 2004 when I began watching House and became fascinated by the acting of Hugh Laurie. Okay that's an understatement, I fell in love with him. I searched his name on my library database and found that he was in a show called Blackadder. This was my first experience with British comedy and I think it was an amazing show to begin with. With Blackadder I became familiar with British terms and slang, and I began to watch more British comedy on television. When I found this show that was chocked full of Hugh Laurie, (I mean, his name was in the title!) I jumped at the opportunity to view all four series. I was now familiar with some British pop culture and the work of both Fry and Laurie, and I feel that a better pair could not join together than these two brilliant gentleman. Each of them has their own unique qualities that makes the show twice as hilarious. Stephan has the ability to say any random phrase that can make absolutely during conversation without breaking the tone, and his satirical comments are classic. Laurie possesses brilliance with accents and musical talent as well as his ability to play a range of characters from an uptight and short tempered upperclassman to his rather goofy side that is often used in the introduction. (I apologize for that run-on sentence. I get carried away when I discuss Hugh Laurie.)
Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry bring something very rare to comedy (especially in the United States). They don't spell everything out for the audience. It's hard to explain if you have never before seen their comedy, but what would be a complete joke for another show is only a section of a joke for Fry & Laurie, and not even the punchline. I guess what I mean is that they keep the entire sketch funny, rather than the traditional way of keeping it serious to the punchline. Well, I think I've bored you enough with my thoughts of the show so I will leave you with a phrase which I think sums up all of my thoughts completely: Soupy Twist.
6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful, including extras, 3 January 2007
Author: smegma23 (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Washington, D.C.
Having never seen ABOFAL on TV, I've now watched all of Seasons 1 and 2
on DVD. To be fair, one should note that not every sketch
delights--some are perhaps a shade too random and give us little to
hang on to or identify with; but when Fry gets going on his
"overly-florid-speech" character, with Laurie as the increasingly
put-out straight man, we're in LOL territory. A particular highlight of
Season 2 is the extended sketch in which an effete, reticent Laurie is
charged by Fry's menacing spy/terrorist with planting a bomb in a local
restaurant--then this scenario plays out alongside two or three other
situations in the restaurant--each one terrific--with Fry and Laurie
playing multiple characters.
In addition to the six episodes of Season 2m the DVD includes a 45ish-minute "Cambridge University Footlights Revue" that, while inconsistent in tone and quality, shows off Fry and Laurie and some of their contemporaries (including Emma Thompson) at college-age, looking freshly scrubbed and adorable. Fry, in particular, had yet to gain his extra poundage--his slender face is beautiful and he is a veritable panther in terms of physical grace. He, solo, also has the best piece in the "Revue," a recitation called "The Letter" that recounts, with raucously funny wordplay, his Harkerian visit to Transylvania to respond to the legal needs of one Count Dracula. ("The journey through Eastern Europe had passed pleasantly enough. I'd picked up a little German on a previous visit, and he and I had met up again at Ragensberg. Now, night was just falling as I knocked on the mighty oaken door, and heard the answering echoes ring through the castle. After what seemed a cliché, iron bolts were drawn back..." "I tried to question Travolta as to the nature of the Count's business as I dressed for dinner, but he made the sign of the cross and said nothing. I asked him why there were no mirrors in the castle, but this time he made the sign of the very cross indeed, and spat." "The wind whistled all through the night, and other Welsh hymns. I arose early, made my toilet, sat on it, and then came down to breakfast.")
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Set the standard for other such comedy series to follow, 25 August 2010
Author: davideo-2 from United Kingdom
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning
** Sunday Night * Monday Morning
There's a snobby element of British society that can't do without their humour being 'refined' and 'sophisticated.' Cambridge graduates Fry and Laurie would, by their appearance and eleqution, fit this bill perfectly, and certainly a lot of the humour on offer in this series does test your sense of subtlety to the limit. But these two pithy academics also seem to have an interest in lampooning the lower classes they seem to have less in common with, so the humour covers a wider section of society than those this might be slightly more aimed at.
It was up to these guys to set the standard for fellow Cambridge 'footlighters' Mitchell and Webb and Armstrong and Miller, and their style does seem to have rubbed off, though arguably to less well effect. ABOFAL plays out like a wacky mish mash of ideas in the shape of sketches, where nothing is spared. Unlike more recent 'sketch shows' like Little Britain or That Mitchell and Webb Look, there are no real consistent characters here, just different set ups and scenarios for each new episode, with exceptions such as the people who seem to be stopped in the street and asked for their opinions in each episode. Many have commented on how 'british' the humour is, and this certainly rings true, but there also seems to be a deep affinity with America in a few of the sketches, such as 'Kickin' Ass' and the air force commanders, that doesn't let any of it get bogged down too much in Anglo culture. Indeed, Laurie would go on to achieve international fame as Dr. House in the hit series (as well as having a CD release in the pipeline, displaying his talent for country 'n western warbling that we see a bit of here), and we'd go on to learn that Fry was in fact almost born in the States and later wowed us with his Stephen Fry Does America programme, touring the country, so the early signs of this love and appreciation were already there.
The more modern Mitchell and Webb are eerily similar to this pair, with Fry and Laurie in the respective roles as the portlier, more hesitant one and the leaner, more dynamic sounding one. And while M&W are very good, it was doubtless up to this pair to really show them how it was done. ****
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
British eccentricity, 15 November 2009
Author: Master Cultist (email@example.com) from United Kingdom
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A sketch show featuring the comic talents of two of Britain's finest.
Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie lampoon most aspects of British life, playing a seemingly endless series of over-the-top caricatures of the populace. Thick as pig-droppings members of the general public, old boy toffs, crazed eccentrics and even bizarre secret agents are all on show and, whilst it can be a bit hit and miss, the standard is usually pretty high.
Stephen Fry is the standout of the two, as his excessive 'poshness' is used to great effect as he plays bumbling buffoons, corporation bosses and ludicrous TV presenters.
Always entertaining without being truly groundbreaking, it is worth a look.
The usual gripe, that is common to most sketch shows of the time, is the unnecessary inclusion of musical numbers, but that aside a thoroughly enjoyable show.
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