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Funny / I, Claudius

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  • Augustus attempting to use Claudius as an example of a 'good Roman boy' early in the series, capped off by the fact that he has no clue which of his relatives the boy was, resorting to asking him his name right at the end.
  • Caligula's performance as Dawn must be seen to be believed. Especially funny when you consider that John Hurt crafted his own getup for the scene. Especially his audience's reactions. One wonders how many takes they needed to film before Derek Jacobi and the others stopped bursting out laughing.
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  • Augustus going around the block talking to his daughter's numerous lovers. The scene opens with Augustus and the camera going down the line of men, which just goes on...and on...and on...and on.
  • His wide-eyed sarcastic reactions to the lame excuses of some of them are just priceless. "O-only once." "Ah...! Only once...! That's all?"
    • "Not... slept..." "Ah...! Not slept...! You mean it happened standing up, perhaps! Or in the street, or on a bench! Not slept?"
      • What sells it is the fact that, if you watch any videos of it (assuming copyright claims haven't deleted them), you can actually hear the line reverberating BEFORE BRIAN BLESSED delivers it!
      • Augustus then orders them all out, at which these wizened men of the Empire flee like schoolboys.
  • When Tiberius receives news that Lucius has died and he is summoned back to Rome, he and his astrologer (whom he's promised to kill if there was no good news) both burst out laughing. And laughing, and laughing, and laughing, while the messenger just stands there uncomfortably and continues to tell the tragic details of the story while they keep laughing.
    Messenger: Sir, all Rome is drowned in grief!
    Tiberius: Well, of course they are. It's only natural. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
    • Later, he excuses it as "nervous laughter" and pretends to wipe a tear. Then he starts laughing again.
  • Tiberius, about his mother: "They say a snake bit her once, and died."
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  • "You fat, drunken cow!" "Fat? Fat?! FAT?!"
  • Everyone's initial reactions to Caligula's announcement that he's Zeus.
    Claudius: He wants to see you; he's become a god. Oh, you're a god too. (To Herod) We're not.
    • When Claudius "realizes" it, he immediately starts groveling like mad. It's his clever Indy Ploy to keep Caligula from killing him. It's also bloody hilarious how much of a suck-up he's pretending to be.
  • There is a dark sort of humour in the scene where Claudius chats to Caligula's wife about all the horrible depravities Caligula is committing while making kootchy-koo faces at her baby.
  • Elephants!
  • This exchange:
    Antonia: Sejanus will allow it, I'm sure. He has nothing but contempt for you anyway. He'll suspect nothing.
    Claudius: (beat) Thank you.
  • When a pair of rival historians learn Claudius has read both their works and demand to know who he prefers, he says that it depends on what he's reading for. He'll read one of them if he wants beautiful language...and the other if he wants to know what actually happened. Naturally, the first one is quite upset at this, though Claudius genuinely thought he was giving a compliment.
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  • Caligula's casual statement that he doesn't know Macro, but he's slept with his wife several times.
  • When Scilla, one of Rome's greatest prostitutes, learns that she's expected to compete with Messalina in a competition to see who can bed the most men when there's no money in it, she's not impressed. Especially when one of the assembled group of Messalina's hangers-on chides her for actually wanting to be paid, rather than raring for the chance to defend her reputation. She retorts with this gem:
    "The difference between you and me, actor, is you're a snob and I'm not. And the difference between this great lady and myself, is that my work is her hobby. My hobby happens to be gardening, for which I don't expect to be paid."
    • What makes this moment even funnier is that Messalina actually wins the competition, leaving Scilla embarrassed and mortified.
  • The way the Praetorian Guard, upon the death of Caligula, realize they can keep their cushy jobs by nominating Claudius as their emperor under threat of immediate death for being a proxy to the assassins of Caligula. The scene alternates between funny and tragic as poor Claudius keeps trying to tell them "No! I wh-wh-want a Republic!" as they force him to serve as Emperor to benefit themselves.
    Sergeant: Now, now, sir, not in front of the Germans...
  • While everyone is desperately searching for the poisoner, it turns out she's been enjoying a meal with the only other notorious poisoner: Livia. And they're exchanging recipes.


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