Society

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

A sitting room. A doorbell rings. A woman gets up and answers the door to Stephen and Hugh. Most of the way through Hugh is repeating everything Stephen says, a fraction of a second later.

Stephen Morning.

Hugh Morning.

Stephen We're from the Westminster Society ...

Hugh Society ...

Stephen We wondered if we could come in and talk to you about our aims, and the possibility of you joining us.

Hugh ... joining us, possibly, who knows?

Woman Well ...

Stephen Thank you ...

Hugh So much.

Stephen I'm Mr Willis. And this is Mr Barraclough.

Hugh Barraclough.

Stephen No relation, in case you're wondering.

Woman Sorry?

Stephen We're not related to each other, in case you thought we were.

Woman Well why should you be?

Hugh Well we shouldn't, that's what I'm saying. We shouldn't be related and we're not. Hence the totally different names.

Woman So, what can I do for you?

Stephen As I say, my colleague and I are thinking of founding this society ...

Hugh Society ...

Stephen Would you be interested in joining us?

Hugh ... perhaps joining us?

Woman And what is this society for?

Stephen It's ...

Hugh Well ... They look at each other.

Stephen Well obviously this is one of the things we need to look at ...

Hugh Look at it very carefully indeed ...

Stephen And I think you've already shown that you would be a very useful member ...

Hugh Useful member of the society.

Woman But you said you had some aims.

Stephen I don't think we did.

Hugh ... did say that, we may have done ...

Woman But when I answered the door, you said could you come in and talk about the aims of your society. They look uncomfortable.

Stephen Well that's a matter of opinion ...

Hugh Subjective opinion, really ...

Woman Well all right, but what is the point of this society? I mean you've got to have a point, otherwise ... there's no point.

Stephen Hmm. That's a good point.

Hugh Well made.

Woman I mean are you going to collect postage stamps?

Stephen Yes.

Hugh Definitely. Collect postage stamps.

Woman Or are you going to practise Highland dancing?

Stephen Yes. Stamps and Highland dancing are very high on the society's agenda.

Hugh Hardly anything higher on the agenda than those two.

Woman Or talk about Roman ruins in Shropshire?

Stephen Definitely that.

Hugh That's even higher on the agenda. That's right up at the top.

Woman But you don't know?

Stephen Know what?

Hugh Know what, precisely?

Woman You don't know for certain what the society is going to be for?

Stephen Well, we have made one or two notes ...

Hugh Just one or two ...

Woman Yes?

Stephen But unfortunately, not to do with the society.

Hugh On a completely separate matter.

Stephen However, to answer your question in the spirit in which is was asked ...

Hugh In that very selfsame spirit ...

Stephen My view is that the society should be run in the interest of its members.

Hugh Brilliant. That's my view too. Members.

Stephen But you see, until we have some members, we don't really have any interests.

Hugh You might say that our hands are tied ...

Stephen So. Will you help us?

Woman Can I make a suggestion?

Stephen Of course. Suggestions.

Hugh Eureka. Suggestions.

Stephen Tuesdays and Thursdays could be suggestion evenings.

Woman No, can I make a suggestion now. And that is that you come back when you've decided what this society is supposed to be for. I can't stand here talking all day.

Stephen Now there's an idea.

Hugh Definitely an idea there.

Stephen A society for people who can't stand here talking all day.

Hugh All day and all night.

Stephen I think that would be a very popular society ...

Hugh Flock to join that society ...

Stephen When you think of all the people who knock on your door.

Hugh Knock on your bell ...

Stephen Jehovah's witnesses ...

Hugh Witnesses to the Jehovah's incident ...

Stephen Charity collectors ... estate agents ... small boys wanting their ball back ...

Hugh The ball which accidentally went over the fence back ...

Stephen Could we interest you in joining that society?

Woman I'm going to shut the door now.

Stephen Excellent.

Woman What?

Stephen Shutting the door indicates a definite interest in joining a society for people who can't stand here talking all day ...

Hugh Total commitment to the society. She slams the door. Cut to a shot of them outside the door.

Stephen Well that's one member for our society, then ...

Hugh One member for definite member ...

Stephen Shall we try next door?

Hugh Next door, why not?

Vox Pop

Stephen He just picked me up and slapped me. Really hard. I cried and cried, but he wouldn't take any notice. Then he put a plastic tag round my wrist, cut my umbilical cord and put me in a cot. It was awful.

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