Monday, November 30, 2009
Nerd Man of the Month: Hugh Laurie
At first blush, Hugh Laurie may not seem like an obvious choice for Nerd Man of the Month, what with him being a network TV superstar for playing a misanthropic, drug-abusing doctor on FOX's "House." Upon closer examination, however, the man fits four very important criteria that I've just now made up: he's very, very smart; he's a comedy icon; he's written a novel; and he's English. That's pretty much what it takes to earn the honor these days...and by "these days," I mean, of course, November. Well done, Hugh!
First, let's take a look at that "smart" category. The fellow earned a degree from Cambridge University and studied archaeology and anthropology while having the very good sense to date classmate Emma Thompson, who, as we all know, should have her own wing in the Museum of Awesome Women. (A quick aside: Emma Thompson is the best realistic cryer in movies. Ever.) Oh, and let's talk about that whole "writing a novel" thing -- called "The Gun Seller," it was a spoof of the thriller genre and you know what? It was really good. Couple that with his genuine musical talent and it appears we might have a Renaissance Man on our hands.
And boy oh boy, Hugh Laurie is ridiculously funny. I was a huge fan of Fry and Laurie growing up, and fell in love with their sketch comedy show. Check out this bit featuring a man with a very unusual last name:
Then there was "Blackadder" with Rowan Atkinson. Laurie is hysterically funny as the sunny-natured by irredeemably stupid Prince George. A kind-hearted person has compiled a few fine Prince George moments below:
And then we had the marvelous "Jeeves and Wooster" series, based on the P.G. Wodehouse novels. (And in no way was my choice of Laurie swayed this month by the fact that I've been reading Wodehouse. No way. Uh-uh. Maybe a little.) Laurie played the wonderfully wide-eyed and chronically ridiculous Bertie Wooster, a fellow who would be lost without his faithful manservant Jeeves.
Along the way, there have been other terrific roles in "Sense and Sensibility," "Stuart Little" and oh yes, that "House" program in which he is simply riveting, giving a performance week after week that is so good, it makes you forgive and forget some of the weaknesses of the show itself. He's like the Superman of that series, propping up awkward storylines in a single charismatic bound.
So, for being smart, funny, literate and English, The Park Bench is pleased to name Hugh Laurie as Nerd Man of the Month for November.