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...
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
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.")
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