The talk show host having an air of subtle arrogance, a smug smile on his face, interviewing his guest without enough background research and a habit of cutting the guests sentences abruptly jumping to another question…These were some of the sexy features introduced to the genre of talk shows by the legendary Larry King. His show Larry King Live started in 1985 and ran till 2010 on CNN.

Larry King
Photo by Angela George

Four years after Larry King Live was a big sensation on US television, across the Atlantic on BBC emerged two young comedians, freshly out of Cambridge, who mainly entertained the audience by making fun of popular culture, politicians and media. In episode 2 of the very first season of A Bit of Fry and Laurie, which premiered in 1989, they did a sketch which can only be assumed to be a spoof of Larry King.

a bit of fry and laurie poster

The sketch featured an obnoxious host and a gullible guest, the host doesn’t know anything about the guests’s work, he keeps asking stupid questions and just when the guest somehow gets around answering them he interrupts with more stupid questions, and then the guest suddenly loses temper and starts blabbering. Turns out he forgot his lines. The host then gets upset, turns towards the producer / director and says, “Oh cmon, we go live in 10 minutes, he is supposed to know this stuff, get the script, quick.”

Through a sketch hilarious as hell, Fry and Laurie told us that spontaneous chat show hosts and emotional outbursts from the guests which make ‘good television’ and ‘cutting edge dangerous broadcast journalism‘ are actually scripted.

Twenty four years later one of those two young men, Hugh Laurie, appeared in front of Larry King to talk about his life after House, his second jazz and blue album, Didn’t It Rain among other things. The tables had turned, Larry King is now the obnoxious host and Hugh is the gullible polite guest. The legend is true to his reputation, he hasn’t changed one bit. Hugh is visibly ruffled every now and then as Larry changes subjects, asks abrupt questions.

Some things in life really works in mysterious ways.

A side note: I have pretty much finished watching everything by Mr Laurie available on YouTube  and Torrent, read everything he ever wrote or spoke anywhere and heard every song he sang. I am in love with the man, and I think I can now die happy. I don’t need to find another man to love. Over the next few days, I would be featuring some of my favorite sketches from Fry and Laurie, a review of Jeeves and Wooster. I won’t try to even talk about House, because that would be a 10 volume anthology no body wants to read. I have earlier done a book review of Hugh’s book The Gun Seller. And then I would write a few lines about his music. If you are a fan of Hugh Laurie, you might wanna subscribe to my blog.