Season Two of A Bit of Fry & Laurie opens with Stephen Fry dressed in a green velvet smoking jacket, dancercizing as he impersonates a quantity surveyor. You don’t need to know what a quantity surveyor is to appreciate Fry and Laurie’s humor; it’s clearly another great chapter in British absurdity. They specialize in dizzying linguistic games: to protest censorship, they made up their own vicious swearwords (like “pimhole” and “pumpslider”). Deranged flights of self-absorbed literary criticism occur regularly. They satirize conservatism and commercialism (the second episode of this season was sponsored by a carpet manufacturer, whose product was worked into every sketch), but political commentary never takes priority over silliness. Castigating former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher swiftly turns to an angry song about jars that have lost their lids, which leads to an elegy to the recently deceased Hugh Laurie, who then takes part in his own eulogy. Familiar elements from the first season–artificial facial hair, non-sequitur quotes from people on the street, and the inexplicable doings of secret agent Tony Mercheson and his affable superior, Control–return in good form. Whether scolding their audience for laughing at alcoholism and genital fungus, demonstrating the right and wrong ways to greet trick-or-treaters, or impersonating Michael Jackson, Fry and Laurie proceed with earnest gravity and gracious smiles. Fans of their later careers in movies and American television (Laurie has achieved major stardom with House) owe it to themselves to check out Fry and Laurie’s delightful comedy. –Bret Fetzer
Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie. Want good advice? Don’t venture far from a restroom facility as Fry and Laurie bring on a second round of their bladder-busting sketch comedy in extraordinarily funny form! Includes all 6 second-season episodes on 2 DVDs. 1990/color/3 hrs/NR.