Sunday, January 30, 2011

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie: Tracey Takes On

Hugh Laurie really likes him some sketch comedy. One would think that after appearances in the Footlights Revue, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, and Look at the State We're In!, he would have gotten a little burnt out. But I guess the prospect of working with Tracey Ullman was too much to pass up, as he appears in two sketches from the first season of Tracey Takes On.

In both sketches, he plays a character named Timmy. Timmy is a member of Parliament, and British comedy being what it is he is of course a fumbling idiot lowlife who thinks that he's sophisticated but is really just a scandal waiting to happen. This first sketch, called "Death," just plays on that theme by having the newspapers pick up on an embarrassing tradition that he takes part in with other members of Parliament. It's entertaining enough, but nothing new.

The next sketch, though, is memorable for me not particularly for Hugh Laurie, but for Tracey Ullman's dead on impersonation of Her Royal Highness, Princess Margaret (yes, I'm well aware that this is supposed to be about Hugh Laurie, but Hugh Laurie doesn't really do anything worth talking about here so humor me). To be honest, I had no idea who Princess Margaret was until I watched this bit, so I did a bit of reading on Wikipedia to get some of the basics.

As it turns out, Princess Margaret's life was something out of a soap opera. She tried to marry Peter Townsend (not the guitarist from The Who) in 1953, but was forbidden to do so by the Church of England as he had been divorced. She wound up marrying a photographer named Antony Armstrong-Jones, who she cheated on more than once. One such affair was with a man 17 years younger than her, making her a cougar in the public eye well before being a cougar was cool.

Apart from the drama and the scandal, another aspect of Princess Margaret's life that seems to have defined her, especially later in life, is that Her Royal Highness could be a world-class bitch. This is the angle that Ullman takes in her representation of Margaret, as every line in the following clip seems to be meant to hurt someone's feelings.

Now, never having met Her Royal Highness, I can't really say if that's how she truly was, but judging by the following clips of some of her interviews, but match up Ullman's impression with clips of Princess Margaret's interviews in the following clip, and tell me that she's not pretty well dead on.

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