Join 3,413 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


A cunning plan
September 15, 2007 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Rowan Atkinson Multiple link YouTube post Some of Atkinson's greatest hits over the years: Amazing Jesus, Welcome to Hell, Conservative Conference, Smut, With Friends Like These, Fatal Beatings, a day in the life of the invisible man, Beekeeping (w/ John Cleese), Blackadder explains how the first Wold War started, Blackadder explains the Russian Revolution, Blackadder on a secret mission and a serious interview with Michael Parkinson.

A little British comedy for you on a Saturday morning. Inspired by yesterday's FPP by St. Urbain's Horseman
posted by psmealey (66 comments total) 68 users marked this as a favorite

 
[this is good]
posted by PugAchev at 8:03 AM on September 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I might as well say it. Oh comedy god of one's childhood, why did you have to become Mr Bean?
posted by Mocata at 8:05 AM on September 15, 2007


Wow, thanks for posting these. I actually had never heard of him before the first Mr. Bean movie, and subsequently avoided anything with his name attached to it. I gave "Conservative Conference" a watch just now (thinking, "what in the world would Bean even do at a political conference,") -- hilarious!
posted by voltairemodern at 8:08 AM on September 15, 2007


I read an interview recently where he said that very few things actually make him laugh. Kind of ironic, I guess.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:08 AM on September 15, 2007


I heard that a few years back he revived the Blackadder character on some occasion at the express request of the Queen. Sorta Shakespearean, what?
posted by RavinDave at 8:13 AM on September 15, 2007


House!

Except younger and British.
posted by Bonzai at 8:19 AM on September 15, 2007


he was awesome in that Bond film, and thanks for NOT posting a Mr. Bean link. His voice is his best asset. that he's best known for his mute work still confounds me.
posted by Busithoth at 8:23 AM on September 15, 2007


Mocata writes "why did you have to become Mr Bean?"

Cause slapstick and goofball money make ?
posted by elpapacito at 8:25 AM on September 15, 2007


Wow, thanks for posting these. I actually had never heard of him before the first Mr. Bean movie, and subsequently avoided anything with his name attached to it. I gave "Conservative Conference" a watch just now (thinking, "what in the world would Bean even do at a political conference,") -- hilarious!

Yes, exactly, me too. On a friend's insistence, I just watched the Blackadder series and was really happy with it.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 8:32 AM on September 15, 2007


Something is useless in YouTube's rating system -- lately it seems videos end up, or at least cap out at, four stars.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 8:35 AM on September 15, 2007


I have the entire Blackadder DVD set. Love'em, especially when Hugh Laurie (Dr House) and Stephen Fry are there, and that redhead who does Queen Elizabeth.

The Mr Bean TV shows were cute, till you've seen them 14 times. The first movie - not so much. Haven't seen the second Bean movie.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:37 AM on September 15, 2007


Rowan Atkinson rules, and Balck Adder III was one of the best series on television ever. He needs to do a Black Adder V set in the Bush Administration White House.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:38 AM on September 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Yes, I'd like to see Black Adder explain the Iraq war.
posted by MtDewd at 8:50 AM on September 15, 2007


I am always confused when I see Hugh Laurie and he's not speaking with an American accent. This is what I get for being young, American, and watching House all the time.
posted by dismas at 8:54 AM on September 15, 2007


Pastabagel writes "He needs to do a Black Adder V set in the Bush Administration White House"

What ? Are you telling me that that stuff is FOR REAL ?!
posted by elpapacito at 8:54 AM on September 15, 2007


Count me in with the crowd who wrote this guy off after being exposed to Mr. Bean. He's quite good!
posted by danb at 8:57 AM on September 15, 2007


I always rather liked Sir Marcus Browning MP... not least because it was long rumoured to based on my local Tory MP as kid.

And I always thought he did his best stuff in Not The Nine O'clock News especially the rants to the audience, Zak the Alien, and even walking down the road was hilarious.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:59 AM on September 15, 2007


I've just been perusing the Wikipedia pages of Atkinson, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. My knowledge of British Universities probably isn't what it should be, but it's all Eton, Oxford, and Cambridge for the three of them. No wonder their comedy seems a bit "smarter".
posted by Pastabagel at 9:05 AM on September 15, 2007


House!

Except younger and British.
posted by Bonzai at 3:19 PM on September 15 [+] [!] No other comments.


Heheh.
posted by dash_slot- at 9:05 AM on September 15, 2007


Quotable quotes:
Blackadder: Baldrick, have you no idea what irony is?
Baldrick: Yes, it's like goldy and bronzy only it's made out of iron.
...
George [Hugh Laurie]: My head... oh, my head... feels like the time I was initiated into the Silly Buggers Society at Cambridge. I misheard the rules and tried to push a whole aubergine up my earhole.
...
Melchett: If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.
More at the BBC's random Blackadder Quote Generator.
posted by cenoxo at 9:08 AM on September 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fry & Laurie had a great series, too. I especially liked how they interacted in Jeeves and Wooster
posted by KokuRyu at 9:12 AM on September 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Brilliant!
posted by Doohickie at 9:35 AM on September 15, 2007


A cucumber raita, an onion raita, a paperback raita... I'm presuming that's a joke.
posted by forallmankind at 9:45 AM on September 15, 2007


My knowledge of British Universities probably isn't what it should be, but it's all Eton, Oxford, and Cambridge for the three of them. No wonder their comedy seems a bit "smarter".

Well, Eton's not a university, for a start, it's a dizzyingly boy's public school, perhaps the most famous because that's where the nobs and royals generally go. But yes, an overwhelming proportion of prominent British satirical writers and performers were oxbridge. One suspects that it's due in part to the fact that so was everyone running the BBC, and indeed the country. But being funny helps.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:55 AM on September 15, 2007


(er, "dizzyingly prestigious" is what I meant to type there. Must have become dizzy at the mere thought of all that prestige.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:56 AM on September 15, 2007


Atkinson is so good. I would have loved to see him in the role of Clouseau in the Pink Panther remake rather than Steve Martin. He's one of the few actors working today that I think would be capable of trying to fill Sellers shoes.
posted by quin at 10:02 AM on September 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


well, HURRAH! Nice way to spend a Saturday morning. Thanks!
posted by scody at 10:31 AM on September 15, 2007


It's strange finding out that there are people who don't know about Blackadder. I'm very jealous that you're discovering it for the first time.

I shall return interfrastically.
posted by greycap at 11:24 AM on September 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


This cracked me up when I was a kid (warning: dated, will not make sense to the youngsters in the audience).
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:48 AM on September 15, 2007


Has he played Sarkozy yet?
posted by Partial Law at 12:04 PM on September 15, 2007


Wow, what's with all the Bean hate? Yeah the movie's so-so, but the original show was brilliant. It's the original show that's the real Mr. Bean you know, not the movie. One can easily ignore the movie.
posted by JHarris at 12:16 PM on September 15, 2007


The Bean movies suck ass. The original was pretty funny. But Blackadder rules them all. Never tire of watching them!
posted by brautigan at 12:47 PM on September 15, 2007


And Blackadder II was the funniest. Here's the first episode. (Pt 1/4 the rest are in the sidebar).

Bob. Hehehe.
posted by brautigan at 12:54 PM on September 15, 2007


Wow, what's with all the Bean hate?

Every episode of Mr. Bean is an episode of BlackAdder N that didn't happen. That's enough reason to hate it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:05 PM on September 15, 2007 [6 favorites]


ROU_Xenophobe writes "Every episode of Mr. Bean is an episode of BlackAdder N that didn't happen"

Blame the audience, not the actor !
posted by elpapacito at 1:35 PM on September 15, 2007


Has he played Sarkozy yet?

One might think so...

I've just been perusing the Wikipedia pages of Atkinson, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. My knowledge of British Universities probably isn't what it should be, but it's all Eton, Oxford, and Cambridge for the three of them.

Fry & Laurie (like Emma Thompson, most of Monty Python, and Douglas Adams, among others) were members of the Cambridge Footlights.

Atkinson, on the other hand, is an Oxford man and, even more oddly, an electrical engineer (MSc).
posted by Skeptic at 1:36 PM on September 15, 2007


Xeno's nailed it. On the other hand, I do wish Rowan the success that role has brought him. But it does pale in comparison. Smart comedy is a fucking rarity.
posted by Busithoth at 2:09 PM on September 15, 2007


Does anyone else remember a special he did in either the late 80s or early 90s on either HBO or Showtime called The Rules Of Comedy or something like that? It was a series of comedy bits based on surefire comedic techniques like 'sudden appearances and disappearances'. I can't find anything about it online.
posted by empath at 2:19 PM on September 15, 2007


I rewatched most of the Blackadders last year and was reminded how much of the humor is fart-and-insult stuff. Not as intelligent as I remembered it, but still better than most things out there.

The end of the last series, especially, has to be about the best end of a series ever.
posted by jiawen at 2:23 PM on September 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


May I be very shallow and note that Atkinson was at his hottest in Blackadder II? I think it was the beard.
posted by maudlin at 2:25 PM on September 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I actually I think it may have been a BBC show called Funny Business, which I can't find any videos of.
posted by empath at 2:30 PM on September 15, 2007


Good Lord, that's the end of Blackadder? Talk about soul-crushing.
posted by hototogisu at 2:38 PM on September 15, 2007


Thanks, jiawen, I remember that well, but didn't think to post it here. Nice addition.
posted by psmealey at 2:42 PM on September 15, 2007


May I be very shallow and note that Atkinson was at his hottest in Blackadder II? I think it was the beard.

If thinking Rowan Atkinson was hot in Blackadder II is wrong, I don't want to be right.
posted by Lucinda at 3:10 PM on September 15, 2007


Nice post , I enjoy the non-Bean Atkinson very much.
posted by nola at 3:30 PM on September 15, 2007


I think it was the beard.

You know it was the codpiece.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:03 PM on September 15, 2007


wow, i've hated mr. bean so much over the years that i was about to post my farewell in meta as soon as i saw atkinson's name on here. but after reading a couple comments i figured i should suck it up and try one of the links. i only watched one so far, the conservative conference one and was pretty surprised. he's really good and has great timing. i'll stop at any of the mr. bean crap (thanks for not adding that), but look forward to checking out the rest, thanks.
posted by andywolf at 4:17 PM on September 15, 2007


RavinDave: The Millennium Dome, a year 2000 celebration in London that went spectacularly over budget, had a short Blackadder film that had Atkinson as Blackadder going back through the previous 1,000 years.

Artful Codger: The redhead who played Queenie was Miranda Richardson, a very talented actor in her own right. Around the time that Blackadder II was on, I went to see her in a grim play called Etta Jenks at the Royal Court Theatre. Really very, very different. Not least because she got her kit off, which, as I was then 16, rather stuck in the memory.
posted by athenian at 4:24 PM on September 15, 2007


I don't recall the rules of comedy special, but it made me think of Pink Tights and Plenty of Props, yet another classic pants-wetter.

Fun fact: "Queenie" is in the Harry Potter movies as Rita Skeeter.

p.s Oh hell yes, the beard.
posted by Billegible at 4:28 PM on September 15, 2007


psmealey: Thank you thank you thank you. I happen to think Blackadder is one of the very high points of British humor, and I'm looking forward to checking out all these links.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:51 PM on September 15, 2007


greycap: "It's strange finding out that there are people who don't know about Blackadder. I'm very jealous that you're discovering it for the first time.
....


Try to look at it sort of like Christmas is to an adult; it isn't quite the wonderous magic you remembered as a child, but you can take a new kind of joy in the festivities by seeing it light up the eyes of the youngsters.

I had a grand old time introducing my sister-in-law to Blackadder after she had told me about her favorite new show, House MD, a few years back. She'd never seen Hugh Laurie in anything before, and had no idea he was British. Even better, I knew she was deeply unimpressed by Mr. Bean - having only seen the rather weak movie at the insistence of my nephews. She actually seemed shocked to see that Rowan Atkinson could talk... heh.

It is the joy of being Santa Claus rather than the gift getter.
posted by John Smallberries at 5:13 PM on September 15, 2007


Gosh reading all the comments has made me feel a bit old. I guess in Australia we grow up watching British comedy so it's very well known.
posted by gomichild at 5:16 PM on September 15, 2007


The video that several of these clips can be found on just came out on DVD for the first time. I remember seeing this video and then dragging my girlfriend to the movies to the first Bean movie, which had just come out.

I'm not saying that is why we split up, but it was a traumatic evening that we never really got over. I don't think she ever trusted my movie judgment again.
posted by papercake at 6:22 PM on September 15, 2007


Gosh reading all the comments has made me feel a bit old. I guess in Australia we grow up watching British comedy so it's very well known.
posted by gomichild at 8:16 PM on September 15


I saw them twenty years ago on public television in the US.

And I never saw the ending of the last episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, it was very touching. Godspeed, Blackadder, you magnificent bastard.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:32 PM on September 15, 2007


I saw them twenty years ago on public television in the US.

Same here. But I did catch that last WWI episode, back then, and I thought it was a stunning way to end the series. I was really impressed with that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:00 PM on September 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Good Lord, that's the end of Blackadder? Talk about soul-crushing.
posted by hototogisu at 2:38 PM on September 15 [+] [!]


Thanks, jiawen, I remember that well, but didn't think to post it here. Nice addition.
posted by psmealey at 2:42 PM on September 15 [+] [!]


I think you were trying to make the post light and funny, so the end of the series isn't necessarily the best way to cap that off. (Though it is the best way to cap off Blackadder.)
posted by jiawen at 11:11 PM on September 15, 2007


I like both Mr. Bean and Blackadder. Saw the pilot (not part of the "real" series) actually at the all-night TV viewing the last night of DragonCon this year. Very awesome. I can't help but think that one of the reasons Blackadder is so fondly remembered is that they've not make a huge number of episodes, and so didn't get to the point where they ran out of ideas.

Yes, the last episode of the WWI Blackadder series is awesome. The thing is, for the uninitiated, every Blackadder series ends with most, if not all, of the cast dying. Usually they make it into a joke point, but the WWI Blackadder did not, and it was far more awesome because of it.

It's also interesting to trace the development of the character of Blackadder through the series(es). In the first he was a largely bumbling figure (though, oddly enough, is actually a capable swordsman in the pilot--that aspect was removed when the show went into production). In succeeding series he becomes less bumbling, more adroit, still a coward but more sardonic and put-upon. The WWI Blackadder is the character at his best: fairly capable and truly sympathetic in a Catch-22, Yossarian kind of way, with a slower burn.
posted by JHarris at 1:30 AM on September 16, 2007


I grew up on Not the Nine O'Clock News and this post brought back wonderful memories, thanks! What's that skit with Rowan and Cleese from, anyone know?
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:59 AM on September 16, 2007


Here's a good bit of Blackadder for anyone (like me) who wants to catch up.
posted by carsonb at 12:04 PM on September 16, 2007


What's that skit with Rowan and Cleese from

The Secret Policeman's Other Ball
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:05 PM on September 16, 2007


Father, what is the church's attitude towards fellatio?
posted by psmith at 3:26 PM on September 16, 2007


No, no sir. It is the shami kebab that looks like a cow pat.
posted by asok at 4:15 PM on September 16, 2007


Be it noted that Atkinson actually co-wrote only the first season of Blackadder. The tone is notably different from all that followed. (Having Peter Cook in the first two episodes didn't hurt at all either.) Not better or worse, just different.

I understand the Bean hatred, don't much like the character myself, but I accept that as my taste rather than his talent. (Come to think of it, I didn't like Johnny English or Keeping Mum a whole lot either.) That said Fact remains that this man is one amazing physical comedian (silent drums routine, e.g.), and that he can combine it with verbal in equal measure, and talk intelligently (a lot of comedians cannot) on the subject of comedy - well, I think he's about best all rounder alive today.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:53 PM on September 16, 2007


Don't miss Rowan Atkinson as The Doctor (as in Who) from Comic Relief. And the rest of the cast is not unimpressive as well.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:13 PM on September 16, 2007


My knowledge of British Universities probably isn't what it should be, but it's all Eton, Oxford, and Cambridge for the three of them. No wonder their comedy seems a bit "smarter".

Captain Blackadder: And then the final, irrefutable proof. Remember, you mentioned a clever boyfriend...
Nurse Mary: Yes.
Captain Blackadder: I then leapt on the opportunity to test you. I asked if he'd been to one of the great universities, Oxford, Cambridge, or Hull.
Nurse Mary: Well?
Captain Blackadder: You failed to spot that only two of those are great Universities.
Nurse Mary: Swine!
General Melchett: That's right! Oxford's a complete dump!
posted by ninebelow at 3:51 AM on September 17, 2007


Rowan Atkinson as The Doctor (as in Who) from Comic Relief

That sketch, The Curse Of Fatal Death, was written by Steven Moffat who went on to write (IMO) all the best episodes of the new Who series.

On topic, Rowan Atkinson is sublime-- next to Blackadder, I especially love him as the complete prick of a comedian in The Tall Guy.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:30 PM on September 17, 2007


« Older "Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream is an...  |  The New York Times has publish... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments