Oprah Winfrey

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Stephen addresses the camera in his normal clobber.

Stephen Hello, I'm Oprah Winfrey. Today we're looking at self-esteem, what is it, do we have enough, where can we get more if we need it? With me is Louella Della Twee, author of I Think I'm Great: Why Don't You? Cut wider to include Hugh, lolling in a chair in extravagant garb. Louella, first of all, have you got self-esteem?

Hugh No. I don't have it. Don't ask me why.

Stephen Oh. Alright.

Hugh God knows I should have it.

Stephen Really?

Hugh I'm an intelligent, beautiful, warm, loving, funny, sexy, rich, almighty heap of a woman. The only thing I don't have is self- esteem.

Stephen That's a bugger, isn't it? Now your book contains several uses of the word "me".

Hugh I would agree with that.

Stephen If ...?

Hugh If what?

Stephen You would agree with that if ...?

Hugh If I had enough self-esteem.

Stephen I see. No, what I was going to say was the first chapter contains nothing but the word "me". You have written the word "me" 3,416 times.

Hugh Seventeen.

Stephen Is it?

Hugh The chapter is called "me".

Stephen So it is. Now, can I ask you this question. Why?

Hugh Why me?

Stephen Precisely.

Hugh I don't love myself any more. I used to love myself when I was a kid, but then I stopped. I stopped talking to myself, seeing myself for what I really am. I took myself for granted.

Stephen Let's have a pointless round of applause there. Applause. So what did you do?

Hugh I confronted myself. I waited till I got home one day, and I said to myself, what are you doing?

Stephen How unbearably tense. And how did you answer yourself?

Hugh I shifted around, started blaming all kinds of things, then eventually I had to admit to myself that yes, I was sleeping with someone else.

Stephen Had you suspected this?

Hugh I knew. I knew all along. I just didn't want to face it. It was the deceit. But then I realised that the only person I was really deceiving was myself.

Stephen I don't think I've ever been more emotionally knotted-up than I am at this moment. Yes, madam? Phyllida stands up in the audience.

Phyllida I just wanted to ask Louella where she gets her strength from?

Stephen Louella, lady wants to know where the mascara arse you get your strength from?

Hugh Can I answer that with a question?

Stephen Can she?

Phyllida I'd like that.

Stephen She'd like that.

Hugh I want you to do something for me. I want you to stand in front of a mirror, take your clothes off, every shred ... Laughter from the audience. Hey, no. I'm serious, why not? You're you. I want you to stand naked in front of that mirror and I want you to say "I like me just the way I am. I like my fat hips, and my lisp and my whining aggression. I love the fact that I'm neurotic. I'm happy that I demand the world's respect without having to earn it. I'm me, I'm special, I'm kinda crazy about me just the way I am." Would you do that for me?

Wild applause from the audience. Another woman gets up.

Woman Can I ask Louella something with a question? I have high self- esteem. It's ruining my life. I'm the only person I know with high self-esteem. It's terrible. I feel like I'm missing out.

Hugh Honey, you've just got to learn to lower your self-esteem. Try and make up some story about being maybe abused as a child. Pretend your husband doesn't appreciate how artistic and special and interesting you are. It'll come.

Applause.

Stephen We've got a vomit break right now. Don't go away.

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