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Hugh Laurie Now the English county of Oxford is known for quite a few things. For example: (1) Its prestigious University. (2) Its annual boat race. Plus (3) Some gruff chap with a limp who goes by the name of 'abode'. No. That's not right! 'Brick edifice' then? No. That's not correct either. Maybe Hugh Laurie from 'House' fame will know? As seen in this 40-minute interview he had with James Lipton in 2006.

Hugh Laurie

In this episode of 'Inside the Actors Studio, the interviewer who was once an actor, James Lipton, interviews the Englishman who is now an American television star, Hugh Laurie.

Now as soon as a very complementary introduction is relayed by the man with the blue-cards, Hugh commences this tête-à-tête by explaining to James about his own origins. How his father was a doctor. How his mother was a complicated matriarch. Plus how he found his time in academia a rather strange avenue to follow.

Still, thanks to his rowing prowess plus his parent's status in the community, Hugh managed to attend such private institutes as Dragon, Eton, and Cambridge, where he befriended fellow student, Emma Thompson, and gained entry into the Cambridge Footlights, after having to pull out of rowing due to Glandular Fever.

Here, at this stage in James interview with Hugh, Mr Lipton coaxes My Laurie to sing a 'British Boating Song', just prior to elaborating about his time on British Television (Blackadder and an early review show). This then lead's back into how Hugh's fragile personal life started to turn into a bout of depression, inadvertently paving the way for him to star in the film 'Maybe Baby', and the American medical drama 'House M.D.'.

Gregory. Wilson. Chase. Cuddy. Forman. Cameron. The pretext. The accent. And his own feeling about this show. Are all touched upon in a quick question and answer session between James and Hugh. Subsequent to Hugh singing a splendid song on the piano called 'Mystery', topped off by the Bernard Pivo structured questionnaire.

At this final stage in the show we learn that Hugh's favourite word is 'Marsupial' and least favourite word is 'Whatever'. Which eventually paves the way for the students to learn about 'House's personal affairs', plus Hugh being more of 'a Goldfish' that 'a real Doctor'.  

Here, check out these quotes taken from this program:

  • The rule in our house was that you should treat pleasure with suspicion.
  • My Mum did not like me.
  • Television was for Catholics.
  • I became so board with my diary, I started to make things up, and it turned into the novel 'The Gun Seller'.
  • At first I assumed that Wilson was the central character, not House.
  • Boredom is not an appropriate response when you see two cars blowing up in front of you.
  • My American accent is based on Hungarian, Pakistan, and television.
  • I am a fan of Science. I am not religious.
  • If you can not see the ass-hole in the room, it most probably is you.
  • Lisa Edelstein is excellent, excellent, excellent fun.

Unlike many of you poxy Yanks out there in cyberspace, I first saw Hugh Laurie on a skit show called 'A Little Bit of Fry and Laurie', with his comedy partner, Stephen Fry. Now at the time, I thought of this double act as a modern day version of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. One of them played the piano and mumbled a lot (Hugh / Dudley). Whilst the other one was more educated in his demeanor, and had a very sardonic way of holding himself (Stephen / Peter).

And do you know what? I suppose that it is very appropriate that I saw Hugh and Stephen in this way really. You see, just like Peter and Dudley before them -- Hugh went over to America and found fame over there -- Where as Stephen stayed behind in England, and found a niche to plug into as well.

Funny that, huh? Almost like history repeating itself. However, unlike Peter and Dudley, Hugh and Stephen have remained firm friends for all of their time together and apart. Even now sharing a bond that I would one day like to see cemented on screen again.

Hugh Laurie in America

Still, before that time comes around, lets have some Hugh Laurie facts: (1) When Brian Singer gave Hugh his role in medical drama 'House', Brian did not know that Hugh was British. (2) He obtained a third-class Honours degree in Anthropology and Archaeology. (3) His parents, George and Patricia, are both from Scottish decent. (4) 'Hitchhickers Guide to the Galaxy' author, Douglas Adams, wanted Hugh to play the lead role, Arthur Dent, for the film adaptation of his book. (5) He is a very proficient pianist. (6) Hugh is a big fan of both Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood. (7) He was passed over for the role of Rimmer in the Science Fiction sit-com 'Red Dwarf'. Chris Barrie got the part instead. (8) His eighties comedy partner, Stephen Fry, is the Godfather of his Children. And actress, Emma Thompson, was his vice-president while he was president of the Cambridge Footlights [1980/81]. (9) Hugh's real name is James Hugh Calum Laurie, and he was born on the 11th June, 1959. (10) He, Stephen, Emma, Tony Slattery, Penny Dwyer, and Paul Shearer, took their revue show called 'The Cellar Tapes', to the Edinburgh Festival, and won the first ever Perrier Comedy Award.

Inside the Actors Studio with Hugh Laurie

Now if you have not guessed by now, I am a huge 'Hugh and House' fan. So as you might have gathered, I did enjoy watching this episode on 'Inside the Actors Studio' quite a lot. Though, personally speaking of course, I would have preferred it if the overall structure of the show was more evenly balanced between his life, his film work, his British television career, House, and his feelings towards the likes of Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, and Ben Elton. Moreover, I also would have liked for this interview to have been much longer as well -- just so it could have given James and Hugh more time to speak to each other.

However, on the reverse side of this stance, I did find it very revealing about Hugh's Mother, plus how his depressive behavior has affected him over time. In many ways when he started to talk about this period of his life, this interview rapidly changed into a psychiatry season - with Hugh the patient and James the head-shrink. I really did feel sorry for Hugh when he said he could not cry for his dead Mum -- as if something is still inside him, holding him back, and making him bi-polar by nature.

Hugh Laurie Smile

In addition to this, I really did get a kick out of Hugh's song 'Mystery'. I found that it was very much like Hugh himself - a mixture of jovial wonderment, cleaver wordplay, and with a center steeped in irony. Here, check it out to see what I mean:

Ha! Great song. And a great interview between a great couple of guys.


JAMES LIPTON WITH HUGH LAURIE JAMES LIPTON WITH HUGH LAURIE Reviewed by David Andrews on August 09, 2012 Rating: 5
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