Although I have always found him immensely likeable and talented, I would have found it very hard to believe 10 or 15 years ago that Hugh Laurie would one day be among the highest paid actors on US TV.
Back in those days he was well-known in the UK for his portrayal as an amiable thicko in the third and fourth series of Blackadder, along with the sketch show A Bit Of Fry & Laurie, in which he starred with his long-time comedy partner Stephen Fry.
In the sketch show Laurie would often employ highly suspect foreign accents. The clip below showcases his 'Australian', but his American characters were usually even less convincing. This mattered not a jot, as it was comedy: often exaggerated and grandiose, nearly always hilarious.
The irony for me is that when I see his performance in House, the accent sounds just as inauthentic to my English ears. You could argue that I am not qualified to comment, that it is good enough for folks in America: end of story. I have no real comeback for that, I just can't help chuckling. Similarly, when seeing him on TV performing songs from his 'Blues' album. I am immediately reminded of when his genuine musical abilities were only displayed on parodies like this. Some time ago I posted my lovely wife's unusually profound reaction to a commercial for the aforementioned album.
Stephen Fry had to plough his own furrow while his old pal became the darling of Hollywood. Nowadays he is best known in the UK for two things: Hosting the smug-fest quiz show QI, and for being one of the first celebrities to embrace Twitter.
QI is unique for me amongst TV shows in that it almost exclusively features guests who I like and whose other work I admire, yet I hate the resulting programme. I am not averse to smart-arse banter, in fact it is a pretty essential ingredient in any comedy panel show. With QI, however, it just is somehow cranked up to an unbearable level, and Fry as host can barely contain himself from displaying his fabulous education and expert knowledge on almost every possible subject.
There seems to be a misconception common in the UK that if you are on Twitter you must follow Fry. This could unfortunately put people off what for me is a vibrant, fascinating, and often uproariously amusing forum. I find his tweets rather dull, but as he (at the time of writing) has 4,440,632 more followers than I have, what do I know?
I do know that he is, or at least was, an amazing comedy talent. He, like Laurie, was a leading light in Blackadder, but this post was inspired by catching the excerpt below on TV late last night. It's Fry & Laurie doing a superb parody of It's A Wonderful Life, where Aussie Media Tycoon Rupert Murdoch is shown how the world would be if he had never been born. A lovely thought anyway, but it's superbly done.