Posts Tagged ‘A Bit of Fry and Laurie’

As you probably know the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio are officially underway. My family watched the opening ceremonies Friday night and I have to say I found the event a let down compared to the 2012 London spectacle. I mean Gisele Buchchen strutting across the stadium for what seemed like an eternity…or Her Majesty and James Bond parachuting into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium. It’s like they say, the Brits do pomp and pageantry extremely well.

A performer playing the role of Britain's Queen Elizabeth parachutes from a helicopter during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium July 27, 2012. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch (BRITAIN - Tags: OLYMPICS SPORT)

image credit REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch


After all the samba dancing and selfie-sticks, the athletes are presumably back to focusing on their respective competitions. Years of training will come down to seconds in the pool or on the track; the scrutiny of judges regarding mechanics and style; or on which team has the better day on the court or pitch.

It occurs to me that, as in most things in life, British comedy offers important lessons that can apply to many aspects of human endeavor. Vital truths lie beyond the laughs and these can benefit anyone striving to excel in sport.

For example, A Bit of Fry and Laurie demonstrate how important it is to start your training with an experienced and reputable coach.


One of the major roadblocks to athletic excellence is fear as Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) so adeptly illustrates.


The late, great Victoria Wood (it still hurts my heart to say that) bears witness to the absolute necessity for an athlete to have a dedicated and reliable support system.


In this sketch Big Train‘s Simon Pegg and Kevin Eldon showcase how working tirelessly to get the little things right can pay big dividends in the end.


And finally, don’t despair if your athletic passion isn’t even on the list of sports recognized by the IOC yet. The cast of Not the Nine O’ Clock News encourages you to always keep in fighting form in anticipation of the day when you get to the opportunity to achieve your Olympic dream.


Best of luck (and laughter) to all the athletes competing in Rio!



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Smithy and England's team for Comic Relief Image credit BBC

Smithy and England’s team for Comic Relief
Image credit BBC

Seeing as all this World Cup fervor is going on, I wrote this post for WETA’s Telly Visions blog.  It’s written from the point of view of an American who watches a lot of telly but very little football. Click on the link below to read my poorly informed insights.


The Comic Side of World Cup Soccer | Telly Visions.

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While searching Google for another image recently,  I saw this photo.

The North The South


Two questions immediately sprung to mind. First, is this a proper road sign? And if so, is the general direction you’re headed the only piece of information needed to travel the famous M1?  If so I see very little need to use a GPS (or sat nav), on the motorway anyhow.

I realize the English are very north-south oriented since it’s commonplace to hear people say “up and down the country” whereas in the US we think of our expanse more in terms of east to west.  Unfortunately for us, many Americans still can’t help but be reminded of our Civil War whenever North and South is discussed.

This is not to be confused with...

This is not to be confused with…
















What’s also interesting about this sign is how the arrows direct you not north, but to The North. From my TV viewing I’ve definitely gotten the idea that Northerners and Southerners see one as distinctly different people; however, until researching this post I did not realize there is actually a North-South divide. Here’s a Southerner’s take on the North…


Of course we need to give the Northerners an opportunity to reply:


Obviously these types of divisions and stereotypes are bound to lead to a bit of competitiveness and one upmanship:


Taking out a moment to be serious, the divide is apparently a very hot social and political topic in Britain. Where you live has a great effect on your health and life expectancy, income, house prices and employment prospects:


North-South Unemployment Divide according to the

North-South Unemployment Divide


I don’t claim to be a social scientist so I’m clearly not in any position to offer solutions.  We’re not any better off in the States really. I don’t believe the gap has closed between the one percent-ers and the rest of us. All I can suggest is to have some more laughs at the expense of one another’s differences.

For example, here’s of a posh Southerner describing what he’s learned in his time at university amongst the Mancunians:


And here’s a delightful Geordie nanny plopped down in the middle of a house full of privileged xenophobes.


For most their hometowns and regions are a source of pride and the criticisms I’ve presented here are just good natured  teasing. However, when a British government think tank called the Policy Exchange proposed this solution to relieve the disparity between the north and south several years ago…

Daily Mail 2008

Daily Mail 2008

It would surely make me wonder if my country wouldn’t be better off in the hands of the comedians.

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