Grey and Hopeless

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Hugh is sitting at his desk in his office. Stephen, his boss, comes in.

Stephen Ah, Douglas, those reports were supposed to be on my desk yester ... He notices that Hugh is looking signally depressed. ... you all right, Douglas?

Hugh I'm sorry sir, I just ... it's just ...

Stephen Come on, old fellow, spit it out. Whatever it is, it can't be that bad.

Hugh I've got this feeling that my life is grey and hopeless.

Stephen Grey and hopeless? Grey and hopeless? Oh now, come on. What are you talking about?

Hugh I look into the future and what do I see?

Stephen I don't know, what do you see?

Hugh Just the blank rolling of the years, one after another, like grey, hopless waves beating against my brains till the blood runs out of my ears.

Stephen Now come on. You've got a wife and two children, a very pleasant house, three loving goldfish ...

Hugh I know, but what does it mean? We live in a doomed world. Doomed.

Stephen Oh nonsense, what do you mean doomed?

Hugh Nobody likes anybody any more, nobody cares about anybody or anything. People go around hitting and stabbing and stealing and insulting. The countryside's a poisonous mess, the cities are unbreathable, you can get beaten up by a twelve-year-old and ripped off by your neighbour.

Stephen Well, I grant you things aren't ...

Hugh There are no certainties, only battle-lines. No pleasure any more except in getting drunk or high on dangerous drugs that are supplied by maniacs with machine guns.

Stephen Yes, it's a grim old world alright, but surely it's always been ...

Hugh Films and music are crap. Books are crap. The streets are so full you can't walk in a town without being pushed off the pavement, the roads are unusable, the trains are a joke, the politicians are so feeble-minded and gutless you can't even hate them.

Stephen Even sport isn't fun any more, really, is it?

Hugh You smile at someone in the street, you're either knifed in the kidneys or in court for rape.

Stephen Opening a newspaper's like opening a fold of used lavatory paper.

Hugh Turn on the television and you're sprayed in coloured vomit.

Stephen It's frigging useless, isn't it?

Hugh We're done for.

Stephen Shagged. We're bloody shagged. Oh, Jesus.

Hugh Grey and hopeless.

Stephen Grey and hopeless.

Hugh Just a nightmare of cold despair.

Stephen No future, no point, no prospect, no pleasure, nothing. Just grey, hopeless hell.

Hugh Christ.

Stephen Oh Christ Jesus.

Hugh We're dead.

Pause: an incredibly long one. Then they turn to the camera.

Stephen Well, first of all, m'colleague and I would like to welcome you to this brand new spanking series of A Bit Of Fry & Laurie, the show that tries to bring a little jolliness into the darker corners of modern Britain, but doesn't.

Hugh I'd like to add my own individual welcome on a more personal note, seperate and distinct from m'colleague's joint welcome, which I always think is a bit stiff, a bit formal. My welcome is just a bit of an old "Hi". That's all. Just "Hi."

Stephen Jesus. So a choice of welcomes on BBC television. It's either good evening, ladies and gentlemen, or it's ...

Hugh Hi.

Vox Pop

Hugh Well, you see, you take away the Queen, I mean, it's all very well to say, get rid of the Royal Family, but - who the hell are you going to put on the stamps? Hm? Desmond Lynam? Mike Smith? I mean, I'm not going to turn Mike Smith over and give him a licking every time I want to send a letter, am I? People just don't think these things through.

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