Stephen Fry’s Humor Was Lost on Salt Lake City
Comedian, actor and writer Stephen Fry was born in 1957 in London and brought up in Norfolk. He attended Queen’s College Cambridge from 1979, joining the Cambridge Footlights Dramatic Club where he met Hugh Laurie, with whom he forged a highly successful writing partnership. His first play, Latin! or Tobacco and Boys, written for Footlights, won a Fringe First at Edinburgh Festival in 1980. He wrote again for theatre in 1984 when he rewrote Noel Gay’s musical Me and My Girl (1990). This was nominated for a Tony Award in 1987.
He has written for television and screen, and as a newspaper columnist – for the Literary Review, Daily Telegraph and The Listener. Stephen Fry's four novels are The Liar (1991), The Hippopotamus (1994), Making History (1996) and The Stars' Tennis Balls (2000). He has also published a collection of work entitled Paperweight (1992); Moab is My Washpot (1997) - an autobiography; and Rescuing the Spectacled Bear: A Peruvian Journey (2002) – his diary of the making of a documentary on the plight of the spectacled bears of Peru.
His book, Stephen Fry's Incomplete History of Classical Music (2004), written with Tim Lihoreau, is based on his award-winning series on Classic FM and is an irreverent romp through the history of classical music. The Ode Less Travelled - a book about poetry - was published in 2005. His latest book is Stephen Fry in America (Harper Collins 2008).
I remember making an absolute… Well, I wouldn’t say fool of myself. I was expelled from a meeting of Latter Day Saints when I first went to Salt Lake City. I just literally as a tourist I was wandering around and this person in a grey shift came up to me and said, “Would you like to see around?” And I said, “That’s very kind.” And then she started gathering others and then I realized she was a Mormon who was doing a tour and presumably there was a little bit of a recruitment going on because they are very proselytizing sect as you know, the Mormons. Anyway, she gave us a good tour and we saw this tabernacle here and this here and so on and then at one point she said, “I just want to tell you a little about the church of the Latter Day Saints.” And we all politely stood and then she said how in the afterlife all families will be reunited. You’ll be with your families forever, so I put my hand up and said, “What happens if you’ve been good?” And she said, “Could you leave please?” Because everyone started laughing, but I mean what a ridiculous idea. How is that supposed to be attractive that you’re going to be stuck with every aunt and every cousin and every…? Good gracious, every you know alcoholic or slightly deviant uncle. I mean Jesus, it’s just the most awful destiny imaginable and they think that’s a USP. That’s a… Yeah, that’s what our church promises. Good Lord. Well of course, what it does. You don’t have to be that smart to spot is what it does is that church focuses entirely on women the d’un certain âge as the French say, woman of a certain age and who have lost their children because they’ve grown up and have lost their parents because they’ve died and they’re lonely and they’ve still got that family queen bee mother nesting instinct and they’re the ones the Latter Day Saints hone in on and say, “You follow us and we promise you that you’ll be your family all around you again in heaven.” And they think that’s a cool thing. Everyone else would go yuck. Anyway.
Recorded on December 8, 2009
A Mormon tour guide did not appreciate his sly questions.
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