A Bit of Fry and Laurie – “Prize Poem”


Come.   Ah, Terry, come in, come in, come in.   – Now, do you know why I sent for you?
– Not really, sir. No.   Not really, not really. No.   Well, um…   First of all, let me congratulate you
on winning the school poetry prize.   Oh, thank you, sir.   Mr Drip tells me that it’s
one of the most mature and exciting poems   he’s ever received from a pupil.   Don’t suck your thumb, boy.   Well, I’m not, sir.   No, it was just a piece of general advice
for the future.   Now, Terry. Terry. Terry. Terence. Terenche.   It’s about this poem, really. I’ve read it, Terry.   I can’t pretend to be much of a judge of poetry,   I’m an English teacher, not a homosexual.   I have to say that it worried me.   – Oh?
– Yes, worried me. I have it in front of me. Now…   “Inked Ravens of Despair   “Claw Holes in the Arse of the World’s Mind.”   I mean, what kind of a title for a poem is that?   – It’s my title, sir.
– “Arse of the World’s Mind”?   I mean, what does that mean?
Are you unhappy about something?   I think that’s what the poem explores.   Explores? Oh, it explores, does it? I see.   Well, let’s have a look
at what it explores, shall we?   “Scrotal threats…   “unhorse a question of flowers.”   I mean, what’s the matter with you?
Are you sickening for something?   Or is it a girl? Is that the root of the problem?   It’s not something I can explain, sir.
It’s all in the poem.   It most certainly is “all in the poem.”   Now, “I asked for answers
and got a head full of heroin in return.”   Terry, look at me. Who’s been giving you heroin?   This is a very serious matter.
We must do something about it.   – No one, sir.
– No, no, Terry, I must insist.   It’s in the poem. “I asked for answers
and got a head full of heroin.”   This is a police matter.
You must tell me who’s been giving you heroin.   Sir, no one has given me heroin.   So this poem is a fiction, is it?
A fantasy? A lie? What’s happening?   No, it’s all true. It’s autobiographical.   Well then, Terry, I must insist you tell me
who has been giving you heroin.   Is it another boy?   Well, sir. You have.   I have?
What are you talking about, you diseased boy?   This is rank standing impertinence.
I’ve never given anyone heroin in my life.   – No, it’s a metaphor.
– Metaphor? How metaphor?   It means, I came to school to learn,
but all I got was junk instead of answers.   Junk? What are you talk…
The GCSE syllabus is most rigidly adhered…   – Well, you know, it’s just an opinion.
– Oh, is it? And is this just an opinion, too?   “When time fell wanking to the floor,
I kicked his teeth.”   “Time fell…” I mean, is it just put in to shock?   Or is there something personal
you want to discuss with me?   “Time fell wanking to the floor.”   – I mean, what does it mean?
– It’s a quotation.   Quotation? Quotation? Who from? It’s not
Milton and I’m pretty sure it can’t be Wordsworth.   – Bowie.
– Bowie? Bowie?   – David Bowie.
– Oh.   And is this David Bowie, too, hm?   “My body disgusts, damp grease   “wafts sweat balls
from sweat balls and thigh fungus.”   – I mean, do you wash?
– Of course I wash.   Well, then, why does your body disgust you?
It looks perfectly all right to me.   Why can’t you write about meadows or something   Never seen a meadow.   Well, what do you think the imagination is for?   “A girl strips in my mind   “squeezes my last pumping drop of hope   “and rolls me over to sleep alone.”
You’re 15 years old, Terry.   – What’s going on inside you?
– I think that’s what the poem…   What the poem explores.
Don’t tell me, don’t tell me.   I cannot understand anymore.
I cannot understand.   Well, sir. You were young once.   Hm? Well, yes. In a sense, I suppose.   Well, didn’t you ever feel like that?   You mean, did I want to
“Fireball the dead cities of the mind   “and watch the skin peel and warp?”
Then, thankfully, no, I did not.   I may have been unhappy from time to time
if I lost my stamp album or broke a penknife.   I certainly didn’t write it all down
and show it to people.   – Perhaps it might have been better if you had.
– Oh, might it, young Terry? Might it?   I suppose I am one of
the “unhappy bubbles of anal wind…   “popping and winking in the mortal bath.” Am I?   Oh, your silence tells me everything. I am!
I am an unhappy bubble of anal wind.   Well, that’s just how I see it. That’s valid.   Valid? Valid? You’re not talking about a bank note.   You are calling your headmaster
“an unhappy bubble of anal wind.”   I’m one, too.   Oh, as long as we’re all
unhappy bubbles of anal wind   popping and winking in the mortal bath,
then there’s no problem,   but I don’t propose
to advertise the fact to parents.   If this is poetry, then every lavatory wall
in England is an anthology.  What’s happened to
The Oxford Book of English Verse?
  Where’s that disappeared to in all this, hm?   Perhaps that’s the lavatory paper.   – Is that clever?
– I don’t know.   I suppose it’s another quotation
from Derek Bowie, is it?   I can’t understand anymore. I cannot understand.   It’s not surprising, sir.   Perhaps you’re frustrated.
After all, it’s a lonely job.   I am frustrated. It is a lonely job.
I’m assailed by doubt and wracked by fear.   Well, then write it down.
Write it down, get it out your system.   “Assailed by doubts, wracked by fear.”   You think? Yes.
Assailed by doubts, wracked by fear.   Tossed in a wrecked mucus foam…   – of… of…
– Hatred?   Good, good. What about “steamed loathing”?   Better. You’re a natural.   Wrecked mucus foam of steamed loathing.   Snot trails of dust   perforate the bowels of my intent.   Put on your red shoes, Major Tom…  

45 thoughts on “A Bit of Fry and Laurie – “Prize Poem”

  1. wow… british humor, i just dont get it. is it because im american? could be. whatevs.

  2. The GCSE courses for English are abysmal. I spent half of it studying Eastenders and the other half writing about my holiday. Then I had to write about my favourite film. Meanwhile, externally to school, I was writing a play on the feminist revolution in the 1950's and writing columns on cultural stereotypes. 15 year old's should be taught to express themselves, not just prove that they are literate. Oh, and this sketch was good! 🙂 x

  3. David Bowie and Fry/Laurie, my two favourite things in the world, combined. I will never get sick of this sketch!

  4. Not necessarily it is notoriously hit and miss, often consciously wordy and inaccessable – part of the charm is its uncompromising nature, but you shouldn't judge the whole of british humour on a sketch like this. If you you enjoy US comedy I'd be surprised if you don't like at least some british humour our comedy shows are one of our biggest exports. I suggest you type in 'Mitchel and Webb' see if you like their stuff

  5. Ah, high school poetry, where attempted seriousness of intent and fetid pus-oozing vulgarity conceive their sordid love child, and then ponder why their relationship doesn't work.

  6. I had a teacher do this to me when I was 13, she found some of a poem that I had thrown away and missed the waste bin. She recognized my handwriting and pulled me out of my health class and asked if I needed to see the school counselor……… I FUCKING LOVE THIS SKETCH!!!!!!

  7. "I can't pretend to be much of a judge of poetry…I'm an english teacher, not a homosexual"

    HA!

  8. not enough fat guys whining about domestic life, is it? I.e. american sitcoms

  9. "Inked ravens of despair claw holes in the arse of the world's mind" is the most ingenious line these guys have come up with, and that's saying something.

  10. I love Stephen's voice in this. He has this high voice and particularly affected accent. Fantastic.

  11. @Madelaine Hanson so 15 year olds should be pseudo intellectual cultural marxists? sounds even worse

  12. "I am an English teacher, not a homosexual"
    Stephen Fry playing to the gay stereotype. Well played, very well played.

  13. I can't pretend to be a judge of poetry, I am an English teacher, not a homosexual. – Hilarious!

  14. "You mean, did I want to fireball the dead cities of the mind and watch the skin peel and warp, then thankfully no, I did not…" 03:44

  15. "Unhappy bubbles of anal wind popping and winking in the mortal bath…."😂😂😂

  16. lol, man theyre brilliant. Such simple silly sketches but still they often manage to convey so much through them be is some social7polical criticism or just a mean quip towards someones. Awesome comedy, its sad how much the bar has fallen as to what people consider funny nowadays.

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