[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/FryandLaurie.jpg]]

'''''A Bit of Fry and Laurie''''', commonly known as ABOFAL or "Boffle", is a British television series starring former Cambridge Footlights members Creator/StephenFry and Creator/HughLaurie, broadcast on both Creator/{{BBC}}2 and also [=BBC1=] between 1989 and 1995. It ran for four series, and totalled 26 episodes, including a 35 minute pilot episode in 1987. Both Fry and Laurie have expressed interest in working together again, but this has not yet taken place, due to both men's busy schedules (the former with various projects, the latter with ''Series/{{House}}'').

The programme was a sketch show cast in a rather eccentric and at times high-brow mould. Elaborate wordplay and innuendo formed the cornerstone of its material; some sketches deliberately threatened to cross the line into vulgarity, but would always finish just before reaching that point.

It was a progressive show, playing with the audience's expectations. For example, it frequently broke the fourth wall; characters would revert into their real-life actors mid-sketch, or the camera would often pan off set into the studio. In addition, the show was punctuated with non-sequitur vox-pops in a similar style to those of Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus, often making irrelevant statements, heavily based on wordplay. Laurie was also seen playing piano and a wide variety of other instruments, and singing comical numbers.

The first three series were broadcast on Creator/{{BBC}}2 between 1989 and 1992, and were well-received. The fourth series was shown on [=BBC1=] in early 1995. It had been recorded whilst Stephen Fry was simultaneously preparing for his West End debut (in Simon Gray's ''Cell Mates''), and a combination of the extra workload and poor reviews for his stage performance led to Fry having a nervous breakdown and fleeing to Belgium. The series met with mixed reviews and the show was not renewed.

Currently, Fry and Laurie have started working together again on an adaptation of OscarWilde's ''The Canterville Ghost''. Both have also recently stated that they are definitely considering making a fifth series. But both are, however, also reluctant to commit to any specific promises.
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!!''A Bit of Fry and Laurie'' provides examples of the following tropes:

* AllNaturalSnakeOil: "Nature's own barbiturates and heroin"
** "It's a [[ExpospeakGag simple arsenous monoxid nicotinal preparation taken bronchially as an infumation.]]"
** "But it can't be natural, can it?" "It's a perfectly natural leaf." "Yes, but setting fire to it and inhaling it?" "Well, it's more natural than Baked Alaska or nylon socks."
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: In the gameshow sketch "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26FKgGK84po Don't Be Dirty]]", players must carefully describe adult, risque topics, yet the final round's categories are rimming, genital torture and ''sports presenter [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Vine David Vine]]''. The contestant ends up losing for saying "...knowledge on the game" ([[spoiler:"on the game" is a [[DontExplainTheJoke British slang term for prostitution]].]])
* AuthorFilibuster
* AwesomeAnachronisticApparel: The politician and Tony from "Tony of Plymouth" are wearing modern clothing over Renaissance garb, as they reveal when they confront each other on stage.
* BlackmailIsSuchAnUglyWord: "I dislike the word brothel, Mr. Jowett. I prefer to use the word brothels. Yes, this is a brothels".
* BrickJoke: [[YesMinister Paul Eddington]] makes a cameo and is asked how he would rate his own comic timing. He pauses, frowns, responds "Good question, I'll have to think about that," and leaves. [[spoiler:Several sketches later, he interrupts the very last line of the show to respond: "Immaculate, I'd say." Roll credits.]]
* BritishRoyalGuards: The opening of the second season sees Fry and Laurie playing with a guard. The guard charges Laurie when he gets too close.
* ButtMonkey: Hugh gets punched, hit with a cricket bat, or otherwise beaten up with shocking regularity.
** It's even worse, as Hugh explained in a later interview that Creator/StephenFry had never been very good at "acting" hitting people, and so when the script called for him to hit Hugh, he would... well... actually hit him.
*** [[EnforcedMethodActing Well, that explains why he always made it look so realistic.]]
* {{Catchphrase}}:
** "Please, Mr. Music, will you play?"; "Soupy twist"; "m'colleague"
** "...if you'll pardon the pun." "What pun?" "Oh, wasn't there one? I'm sorry."
** "I wouldn't suck it."
* ChewbaccaDefense: A deliberately ridiculous example in the sketch "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVRODdXVI3Q Judge Not]]". It starts:
-->'''Lawyer:''' So, Miss Talliot, you expect the court to believe that on the evening of the fourteenth of November last year, the very year, I would remind the court, on which the crime that my client is accused of committing took place, you just happened to be walking in the park?\\
'''Witness:''' That is correct.\\
'''Lawyer:''' That is what? \\
'''Witness:''' Correct.\\
'''Lawyer:''' Oh it's correct, is it? I see. I wonder, Miss Talliot, whether you were aware that the American novelist Gertrude Stein was a self-confessed Lesbian?
** ...And only gets more absurd from there.
** Best part? [[spoiler:She turns out to be ''his mother''!]]
* TheChosenOne: Parodied in "A Word, Timothy".
* [[ClusterFBomb Cluster Bollocks-Bomb]]: "Oh, double balls and bollocks!"
* CompensatingForSomething - one character whose genitals have been removed is offered a doberman.
* CoolAndUnusualPunishment
* CrazyPrepared: One sketch features Hugh Laurie (in drag) running a greetings card with a range of highly specific messages even down to Stephen Fry's request for a joint birthday and get-well card (as his wife is liable to jealous spasms every time his daughter has a birthday). Sadly, the name on the card is wrong, but fortunately Laurie stocks a sympathy card especially for people who can't get the card they want.
* CrosscastRole
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: During [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ME77DsLu2wI this sketch]] that involves a speech on education and discipline:
-->Basically, the simple purpose of education must be to teach children, young people, to not, ''I repeat not'', '''''break into my car'''''. There will be other aspects to education, I'm sure. But the most fundamental principle of decent, civilized behavior, is: '''''[[PunctuatedForEmphasis Don't. Break into. My car.]]'''''
* DoubleEntendre: Or just smut.
* DriverOfABlackCab:
** One of the stock characters in the VoxPops, played by Stephen Fry with a mustache.
** Cab drivers being friendly, polite and helpful is a symptom of Rupert Murdoch's absence from the world in the ItsAWonderfulPlot sketch.
* DropTheCow: a method used a few times was for the characters to segue into WhoWritesThisCrap, for example accusing each other of having no idea how to properly end the sketch.
* {{Eagleland}}: The "Kickin' Ass" song, and American army general; "Get your ass in here!"
** ''America. America. America, America, America, America. Americaaaa-aa-AAA-aAa. America, America, America, America. The States. The States. The States, the States... the States. America. AMERICAAAA... [[GroinAttack (thud)]]''
* EnforcedMethodActing: According to Hugh in a later interview, Creator/StephenFry had never been able to convincingly fake hitting someone. So when the script called for him to hit Hugh - which happened quite often - he would actually hit him. So that wincing and those cries of pain you hear from Hugh in this show are mostly real.
** A lot of the time it's accidental though. A good example of this is in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNrS9RHMc-I the racing driver sketch]]. Near the end you can see Stephen's eyes widen in shock, before he folds his arms and looks away.
* ExcuseQuestion: Parodied.
-->Who was the first man to run the four-minute mile? Was it: A) the Battle of Crecy; B) ''Film/{{Moonraker}}'', or C) the athlete and fast record-breaking fast miler Sir Roger "Four-Minute" Bannister, the famous runner?
* FakeAmerican: Hugh Laurie plays an American country singer in one sketch, and he and Stephen play American soldiers saying "ass" a lot in another.
* FelonyMisdemeanor: "I've written a savage, angry song about jars that get separated from their lids."
* FingerlessGloves: The "light-metal" rocker "The Bishop" wears just one, with his pontifical vestments.
* FlairBartending: See notes under GargleBlaster.
* {{Flynning}}: In the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrOx24-7ytg Tony of Plymouth]] sketch.
* GargleBlaster: In seasons 3 and 4, the show would end with a cocktail being picked and chosen. These started at the season with the relatively reasonable, such as the Whiskey Thunder, involving whiskey, angostura bitters, lemon juice, a pint of oh-so-fresh dairy cream, two olives, and a peanut. They would then range up to the increasingly absurd, such as the mug of Horlicks (Think broadly similar to hot chocolate, and notably nonalcoholic) all the way up the the finale, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F_gYLLK-Yo which cannot be described in fewer than two paragraphs]].
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: The premise of a GameShow called "Don't Be Dirty!", the show that shows that you don't ''have'' to be dirty. Basically, it involves contestants trying to talk about potentially risque subjects (or if not risque, involving the possibility of {{double entendre}}s, such as "Preservation of [[BiggerIsBetterInBed Hardwoods]]") without "being dirty".
** In the ProductPlacement episode about Tidyman's Carpets, Hugh refers to the titular carpets as [[DoubleEntendre "the deep shag that really satisfies"]]
* TheGhost: Mr. Dalliard, and Valerie from the Tony & Control sketches. Marjorie is ''almost'' TheGhost, but does make one appearance.
* HaveAGayOldTime: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtaPaQwSQPA Parodied.]]
* HilariousOuttakes: Parodied.
* HurricaneOfPuns
* ImAHumanitarian: The "Tahitian" cooking show, where the Julia Child {{Expy}} advises the best way to prepare ears, fingers, Welsh toes, and footballers' testicles.
* ItIsPronouncedTroPay: Parodied in the sketch featuring "Mister (drops an object onto a tabletop). It's as it sounds." (Turns out, it's spelled [[spoiler:NIPPL-hyphen-E, but he's very offended when referred to as "Mr. Nipple."]])
* ItsAWonderfulPlot: RupertMurdoch gets this treatment. At the end, his guardian angel, realizing that he is a lost cause that who will never improve, pushes him off the bridge. And calls him a twat.
* LoveAtFirstSight: British officer Major Eric Donaldson falls immediately for his interrogator Friedrich von Stoltz. He calls him beautiful and his gorgeous darling with the deepest bluest eyes, and his accent is dreamy...
* LukeNounverber:
** "Peter Comeinmyear"
** [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar "Ted Cunterblast"]]
* MeaninglessMeaningfulWords: The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttjOqTW-8CA "Young Conservatives"]] sketch. "I thought at one point he was going to say something which made sense..." "Yes, he ''just'' avoided it."
* MixedMetaphor:
** Hugh's chat-show-host character in the "beauty of language" sketch has trouble keeping up with Stephen's progress from metaphor to metaphor: "[[FourthWallGreeting Hello!]] We're talking about language... we're talking about things ringing false in our ears... we're talking about chickens, we're talking about eggs... we've moved on to chess... [[KnowWhenToFoldEm ner-night]]."
** There's also where Stephen says "A unique child delivered of a unique mother" and Hugh looks at the camera as if he's about to say another "We're talking about..." line, then thinks better of it.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpzbcuvJOW8 "Berwhale the Avenger"]], which appears to be a small Leatherman knife.
* MurderSimulators: One sketch involves the conclusion that, since people are mimicking Stephen punching Hugh (by punching Hugh themselves) it would be a good idea for Stephen to give Hugh money on screen. Turns into an OverlyLongGag.
* NeverSayThatAgain: The "annoying guy at the vet" [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znZuH2BU0FE sketch]].
-->'''Fry:''' ...and I make myself a cheese and tommy-toe toastie.\\
'''Laurie:''' A ''what''? A cheese and ''what''?\\
'''Fry:''' Tommy-toe! Tommy-toe! Tommy-toe!\\
'''Laurie:''' ''TOMATO''.\\
'''Fry:''' Tommy-toe! Tommy-t--\\
'''Laurie:''' Don't say it again!
* NoFourthWall
* NoLongerWithUs: On learning that Charlotte Bronte is, "I can hardly say I'm surprised. Where can I get in touch with her?"
* NoodleImplements: The interviews between sketches abuse this:
-->[given a line to read] I can't read that, ''I'm a Methodist.''
** One sketch has Stephen and Hugh explaining they've cancelled a script due to complaints about excessive violence and sex, forcing them to give a vague summary:
-->'''Hugh''': During the course of the sketch, Stephen hits me several times with a golf club.\\
'''Stephen''': Which, ordinarily, in the course of events, wouldn't matter, ''but I do it very sexily.'' [...] And the sketch ends with us going to bed together.\\
({{beat}})\\
'''Hugh''': Violently.\\
'''Stephen''': Very violently.
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: Played with in the Michael Jackson sketch. Although he is a skilled mimic, Stephen Fry decided to play "Michael Jackson" in his own accent...and indeed his own clothes with not a single attempt at impersonation...with hilarious results.
* OrIsItEnding: Parodied with the Gelliant Gutfright sketches. "It couldn't happen... or could it? Or could it? [[SubvertedTrope Perhaps it couldn't.]] ...''or could it?''"
* OurSloganIsTerrible: "Tidyman's Carpets: [[DoubleEntendre The deep shag that really satisfies.]]"
* OverlyLongGag: "I was standing here, and this guy came 'round the corner..."
* OvertRendezvous: In the unaired sketch "[[http://abitoffryandlaurie.co.uk/sketches/spies_five Spies Five]]", Tony and Control meet on a park bench because there's a mole in their department.
* {{Oxbridge}}
* {{Parody}}
** The "Gelliant Gutfright" sketches parody ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' and its genre, featuring [[ArtifactOfDoom Artifacts of Doom]], TheLittleShopThatWasntThereYesterday, and many subverted cliches. ("Goodnight... if you can.")
** The "John and Peter" sketches parody [[TheEighties eighties]] "boardroom" dramas, featuring {{Large Ham}}s talking SeriousBusiness, with [[QuickNip copious drinking]] and [[GoshDangItToHeck mild language]]. ("Damn it three times round the carpark and back in for another DAMN!")
** The "Control and Tony" sketches parody spy dramas, with both characters acting ridiculously stilted and polite, almost childlike, about matters of national security.
** The "Tony Inchpractice" sketches, as well as several one-offs, parody talk shows.
** Nearly all of the songs parody something: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__DrJI7mTHQ Sammy Davis, Jr.]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raRQilFcriw Noel Coward]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AvMUR_XMlg blues]], etc.
* PainfulRhyme: [[invoked]] The entire joke behind Hugh's song ''Mystery''.
* PerfumeCommercial: Parodied in the fourth-series opening credits ("''Pretension'', by Fry and Laurie").
* {{Pluralses}}: In the Shoe Shop sketch. "[[BlackmailIsSuchAnUglyWord I dislike the word 'brothel', Mr. Jowett.]] I prefer the word 'brothels'. Yes, this is a brothels."
* PreciousPuppies: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZToV6JTujfk Puppy Appeal]]
* PrecisionFStrike: At the end of the "fusking clothprunker" sketch mentioned below.
-->'''Judge''': And what did you say to that?
-->'''Hugh''': I told him to mind his [beep]ing language, m'lud.
* ProductPlacement: Spoofed with the episode sponsored by "Tidyman's Carpets".
* ProtestSong: 'All we gotta to do is ... ''(mumblemumble)''' Hugh notably [[http://vimeo.com/44962330 reprised this]] when he hosted SaturdayNightLive.
* {{Punchline}} - frequently avoided.
* RunningGag: The woman who left her iron on.
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness - one of the best. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivVb8YUR7Lc See an example.]]
* ShapedLikeItself: In a tribute to Hugh (whom he has just {{Mercy Kill}}ed), Stephen says that Hugh Laurie's real name was Hugh Laurie, though he was more commonly known by his stage name, Hugh Laurie.
* SketchComedy
* SmarmyHost: Frequently mocked, including various real-life targets such as Noel Edmonds.
* SoapWithinAShow: The [[{{Neighbours}} suspiciously familiar]] Australian [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV3tfauw3vQ&feature=related soap opera]]. While it starts as a standard parody of daytime soaps with bad acting, overwrought plots and confusing relationships between the LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, it quickly evolves into something downright surreal.
* SophisticatedAsHell
* SpySpeak: Thoroughly averted in the "Tony and CONTROL" sketches, discussing matters of international espionage as if explaining them to a 3-year-old.
* StiffUpperLip: this is the other element of the "Tony and Control" sketches, as both characters are utterly unflappable, even when, for instance, Control announces he's actually a Soviet agent or when he falls out a window
* StrawCritic: The Critic sketch has them sprawling further and further down in their chairs until they fall out while using increasingly turgid and meaningless language to criticize a work. (Also an AuthorTract, since Fry and Laurie aren't fond of caustic critics.)
* SurrealHumor: Part of the humor are the bizarre, not quite right words or elements that have little to do with the actual sketch. E.g., a man eating cornflkes with a knife and fork, or Tony of Plymouth decrying a politician for lining his ''bathroom'' with venison and other fine delicacies.
* TableSpace: "Pass The Marmalade!" ("Arse the Parlor Maid?") sketch
* TalkativeLoon - The shop assistant in the Mr Dalliard sketches (the same one who prefers the word 'Brothels')
* TakeThat: Take that, MargaretThatcher, John Major, Rupert Murdoch, MoralGuardians, estate agents, {{Eagleland}}, yuppie culture, critics, psychics, TopGear, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and Noel Edmonds]]!
* TastesLikeDiabetes: [[invoked]] The awful dog owner in the vet sketch is disgustingly twee in all his speech patterns (he's the tommy-toe guy). When Hugh's character tries to shut up his inane prattle by saying he's there to have his cat put down due to liver cancer, Stephen only takes a beat before baby-talking to the cat about ''cancie-wancie''. [[spoiler:No wonder his dog is there to have him put down.]]
* TotallyRadical: "The young and hip-trendy."
* TranslationYes: The entire "Strom" sketch is based on variants of this joke.
* TwoOfYourEarthMinutes - "Twenty of your Earth pounds", yes, Mr Dalliard's friend again.
* UniversalDriversLicense - spoofed with the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klZ2suVUL7Q Flying a Light Aeroplane Without Having Had Any Formal Training]] sketch. A definite SugarWiki/{{Funny Moment|s}} too.
* UnusualEuphemism: "Ram it up your pimhole, you fusking clothprunker"
* VoxPops: One of the classic comedy uses, several times in each episode between sketches. Featured either Fry or Laurie [[HollywoodDressCode dressed as an easily recognizable British stereotype]] and saying something dirty ("Well, I'm aroused every morning by a very insistent cock"), satirical ("I was beaten as a child and it didn't do me any harm!" ''[slaps self]'') a play on words ("So I just told him to stuff it!... but he said it had been dead too long"), or just a non-sequitur ("They've got hotter pavements, I know that").
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-> [[TheStinger Soupy twist!]]
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