Stephen Fry (Jeeves) and Hugh Laurie (Wooster) and the art of the telegram
It’s P.G. Wodehouse’s, one of the greatest British humorists of the 20th century, birthday today! Born in 1881, Plum (as his friends and family called him) would be a formidable 127 years old today.
Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse wrote for over seventy years of his life, was employed as a Hollywood screenwriter, and saw his parents six months total between the ages or three and 18. During WWII, Wodehouse was captured by Nazis. He produced a radio show as a prisoner and under Nazi guidance, feeling he would be rewarded for keeping a “stiff upper lip,” but instead he was labeled a traitor (MI5 later found him to be not guilty).
By far, Wodehouse’s most famous work are his Jeeves and Wooster series, based on the misadventures of a scatterbrained socialite, Bertie Wooster, and his extremely knowledgeable valet, Jeeves. The timing between the two characters, both in the books and in the show, is brilliant. It’s funny without trying too hard, and delightfully British without being too dry.
The links portion of Plum’s Wikipedia page point to a number of Wodehouse societies as well as free audio books of his work. For a more original take, there are some great Wodehouse crafts from a Wodehouse swap on Craftster a couple years back.
I must admit I have not read any Wodehouse since high school, but I do try and watch Jeeves and Wooster when I can. Luckily for me, I have a beautimous friend, Rachael, who, as well as frequently being my au fait Jeeves, came up with some “impractical Bertie ideas” to celebrate his creator:
- Pinch a police constable’s helmet.
- Answer all phone calls with “What-ho!” instead of hello.
- Take a break in the afternoon to pretend you’re British and have tea and scones (or a muffin, or a cupcake, etc), seeing as how Bertie seems to get himself into a lot of trouble during mealtime.
- Give people nicknames like “Barmy Fungy Phipps” and “Bingo Little” and “Gussie Fink-Nottle.”
- Have a Drones Club party where you do nothing at all (or do very ridiculous things) but look very stylish while doing it.
- Inform people that while you are not disgruntled, you are far from being gruntled.
Add your own homage to Plum in the comments!