Fascism

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Hugh and Stephen are in white tie, drinking brandy, perhaps in a clubby sort of place. Maybe a portrait of Hitler above a mantelpiece.

Hugh Gayle?

Stephen Yes, Leonard?

Hugh How are we going to do it, I wonder?

Stephen Do what?

Hugh How are we going to make Fascism popular in this country? Popular and exciting.

Stephen Oh that. Yes. That's become something of a madness with you, hasn't it?

Hugh I believe it has become something of a madness with me.

Stephen And yet, if anyone were to ask me, I would never say you were a mad person.

Hugh I believe I pay you well enough for that service?

Stephen Indeed yes. I didn't mean ...

Hugh Perhaps it's that little touch of madness that keeps us all sane.

Stephen Yes. I doubt it.

Hugh But how are we to do it? How are we to make Fascism exciting and important?

Stephen We must reach out to the young people.

Hugh You think?

Stephen Certainly. After all, the young people are the cornerstone of our society. The young people are the future.

Hugh Yes. Or at least they will be.

Stephen No. They are.

Hugh Are they?

Stephen Yes. They will be the present, but they are the future.

Hugh Well well. So how can we make fascism live among the young people?

Stephen We could advertise.

Hugh Gayle, my dear old mucker, what are thinking of? Advertise?

Stephen I am thinking, Leonard, that we must use today's tools for today's job.

Hugh Go on.

Stephen If we are to be successful.

Hugh Yes.

Stephen In our venture.

Hugh Yes?

Stephen That's it, I'm afraid.

Hugh I see. And what are today's tool, in your opinion?

Stephen Oh there are so many tools around today. Look at advertising. Pop music. Films. Magazines. Everywhere images of sexuality and coolness.

Hugh Coolness.

Stephen Coolness. Hipness. Laid backness. Not being a pratness.

Hugh And so we must make fascism ...

Stephen Cool.

Hugh Cool.

Stephen First, we must invent a fashion in clothing.

Hugh Mmm. There must be leather.

Stephen Leather, yes.

Hugh And lace.

Stephen Leather and lace, yes.

Hugh With cotton facings.

Stephen Excellent. Already you see, we have a look.

Hugh And where shall we find them, these young people?

Stephen Wherever blood and money and sexy talk flow freely, there will you find the young.

Hugh And what will we say? How will we persuade them to surrender their ice-skating and their jazz music and turn to Fascism?

Stephen Mm. Leonard, I wonder if you're not a little out of touch.

Hugh Gayle, please. You are my lieutenant. My side-plate.

Stephen Indeed.

Hugh Tell me what I must say.

Stephen You must say to the young people - Oh young people. You who are young and thrusting and urgent, there is a beat, a sound, a look that's new, that's you, that's positively yes!

Hugh They'll laugh at me.

Stephen At first ... and ultimately, yes. But in the middle, they'll listen.

Hugh Hmm. Alright. Boys and girls, dig what I am about to say. Fascism is cool. Fascism is leather and lace with cotton facings.

Stephen Good.

Hugh Throw away those transistor radios. Come on out from those steamy parlours where the coffee is cheap and the love is free. Join us in our movement.

Stephen And while their bodies jerk and jig to the music of those words, we must somehow introduce the subject of segregating races and abolishing elections.

Hugh We could give away sachets of face-cream in our magazines.

Stephen And for the women?

Hugh Gayle. There is no place for women in our thousand year order.

Stephen But Leonard, women do have certain useful functions.

Hugh Such as?

Stephen News reading.

Hugh Why do you always insist on calling it that?

Stephen It excites me.

Hugh Now on the subject of racial purity, perhaps a national advertising campaign?

Stephen Excellent.

Hugh I will present it.

Stephen Oh but you can't.

Hugh And why not pray?

Stephen Because God doesn't exist.

Hugh No, I mean - and why not ... (Pause) pray?

Stephen Because God does not ... (Pause) exist.

Hugh Never mind. Why can't I front this national advertising campaign?

Stephen Because your grandmother was a quarter Italian. I shall present the commercials.

Hugh You? You, whose godfather is Jewish?

Stephen At least my sister didn't marry a Welshman.

Hugh Better marry a Welshman than eat Greek yoghurt.

Stephen Rather Greek yoghurt than Cornish ice-cream.

Hugh Stop, stop! Don't you see? They are turning us against each other. We shall present the commercials together.

Stephen Yes. Together.

Hugh Our slogan shall be - "Good old Fascism. As true today as it's always been."

Stephen But Leonard, my dear old acquaintance, surely this is a new Fascism?

Hugh Alright. "New Ph balanced Fascism, a whole new world of natural goodness, right there in the cup."

Stephen Cup?

Hugh Why not?

Stephen What about - "Maureen Lipman with some letters from you about new Fascism".

Hugh Would she do it?

Stephen I don't see why not.

Hugh I have it. "If you thought Fascism was just goose- steps and funny hats, then take a look at what we've been doing. Available in matchpots too."

Stephen Das Sieg wird unser sein, as they say in Germany.

Hugh Do you hate anyone enough to give them your last pot-noodle?

Stephen Fascism. Half the fat, all the taste. That's the Fascist promise.

Hugh From Lenor.

Stephen It's Ideal.

Hugh I wish I was young.

Stephen Me too.

Vox Pop

Hugh It's just well laid out, you see. If you can imagine that the four star pumps are lined up there, and they've got the diesel and two star pumps opposite ... well you see I much prefer that.

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