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Have you heard Hugh?

Will Gompertz | 09:30 UK time, Monday, 9 May 2011

 Hugh Laurie's been getting a lot of attention. He's turned from a man with a limp who can put on a decent American accent, to a man with a guitar who can put on a decent American accent. The difference is that Hugh Laurie is pretending to be a doctor in House, whereas on his album Let Them Talk he is playing himself.


Are his efforts worthy of the wall-to-wall press coverage he has enjoyed? It has been extensive. Spread before him have been the country's most popular radio and TV shows on which to plug his product, plus articles galore and some nice gigs. This is the sort of promotional tour normally reserved for established acts with a batch of platinum-selling albums on their CV. So how come Hugh got so lucky? I mean nice chap and all that; but isn't he just another middle-aged bloke with a musical hobby?

Let's face it, the world has probably not woken up to find a new musical genius in its midst. He is good, but there are better. Some, like him, are new acts, but they will receive one percent of the media coverage afforded to the ex-Cambridge Footlight. But then Hugh is in Susan Boyle territory.

That is someone who can sing, but whose back story is even better. Susan Boyle's is well known. She was cast as the odd-ball spinster who could hold a note but was trapped within her circumstances. But then a handsome Prince with a t-shirt and high-waisted trousers came along and kissed poor Susan and turned her into a pot of gold.

If anything Hugh Laurie's story is even better. He morphed from that comic buffoon Bertie Wooster on ITV, into one of the most highly regarded (and paid) straight actors in America. A Brit who's shown the friend we most want to impress that we can mix it with in their league. What's more he's cracked America by pretending to be American (just like Dominic West, another old-Etonian actor, did in The Wire). Nice one Hugh, we never doubted you.

And just to prove it we will give you as much media coverage as you like for your side projects.


  • Comment number 1.

    Why is he so popular, you ask?? Well, he has (shows) no 'british ego'. He just showcases his talent, and is deservedly respected for this, unlike most others who crossover, get an agent to market them for more than they are ever worth.
    Hugh Laurie is a gentleman with class, talent, & humility. He deserves' and has earned his popularity by being a genuine professional

  • Comment number 2.

    So I see you're not actually going to try to answer the question in the title?

    Just a bit of superior sneering.

  • Comment number 3.

    He is great in house but buying his newly realesed CD is a step too far:)

  • Comment number 4.

    Ouch - what a mean little article!
    "So how come Hugh got so lucky? I mean nice chap and all that; but isn't he just another middle-aged bloke with a musical hobby?"
    Erm, well he's a talented comic, talented actor, talented writer and talented musician. The success of House has given him a showcase for his extensive musical skills. So yes, he just got lucky because he could mimic an accent and do a decent fake limp.

  • Comment number 5.

    It's a good question: Why is Hugh Laurie so popular? Good enough to provide both title and content of this article... Well, Will, give us clue?

  • Comment number 6.

    Congratulations on giving Hugh Laurie more media coverage.

  • Comment number 7.

    Never mind Hugh trying to be American...what a throughly "British" article, bursting with poorly concealed envy and malice.

    Look at the guy's CV...comedy writer and actor (straight and comic) going back 30 yers, talented musician and generally nice guy. Add into that the lesser known fact that he also ticks the sporting boxes with a rowing Blue and you have a remarkably talented all-rounder. Let's have more Hughs and fewer mean-spirited third division BBC hacks!

  • Comment number 8.

    What an awful article! Rather than answering your title question you come across as someone who resents his success.

    To compare him to Susan Boyle is ridiculous.

    Hugh Laurie is a thoroughly gifted actor and is proving to be an equally gifted musician.

    The reason he gets so much coverage is because he is a popular all over the worl.

    I am sure there are many people out there like me who are huge Hugh Laurie fans and welcome listening to a talented musician as opposed to the manufactured dross we are subjected to daily.

  • Comment number 9.

    don't really see Hugh as a male Susan Boyle, more annoyingly multitalented comedian, actor, novellist (The Gun Seller) , musician, OBE, who also represented Britain at the Junior World Rowing Championships. joint winner of the first Perrier Comedy Award. As an actor the largely forgotten Alfresco, followed by Fry & Laurie, Blackadder, Jeeves & Wooster, numerous film roles - comic & straight, then House.
    but I do have more hair than him.

  • Comment number 10.

    The man is talented, no doubt.
    But the popularity he has achieved is solely down to the role of Greg House. If he had been cast in another, less regarded show, he'd not be in the exalted position he's in now.

  • Comment number 11.

    Sounds like jealousy to me

  • Comment number 12.

    He's not "a man with a limp who can put on a decent American accent", he's a man who can put on a decent limp and a decent accent. Limp being a decent description of your blog entry Will, with the accent on sour.

  • Comment number 13.

    Dear BBC,
    I can only invent a term to describe this article which is "Ajaciopunctualism" i.e. completely beside the point.
    To the subject of "Why is Hugh Laurie so popular" two reasons are given: his back story and that he cracked America by pretending to be American.
    However, this esteemed journalist gives no real facts about M. Laurie apart from his first show, as Bertie Wooster, and his latest as Dr. House. The comparaison to Susan Boyle "trapped within her circumstances" appears rather far-fetched and no effort is made to explain in what way M. Laurie's success is any different from most other actors: he started out small and ended up big.
    And one could dispute whether the inferred premice, that to be "popular" one must be popular in America, is founded.
    I could continue in this vein for quite some time so I will just add a question to the BBC Art's Editor: Why did you write this article when you brought nothing new (a new fact or insight) and failed to answer your own question?
    Kind Regards

  • Comment number 14.

    What a mean little article Mr Gompertz. Witless sarcasm. And what considerable abilities have you shared with the world to deserve the comfortable little berth you have at the BBC?
    Hugh Laurie has displayed great talent over the years as a comic and latterly straight actor. Perhaps not high brow enough for you, Mr Gompertz, but good enough to prosper handsomely on both sides of the Atlantic. What he has accomplished in the acting field surely entitles him to be given the chance to air his musical talent. If he proves to be unremarkable, he will not succeed.
    And if you find the publicity he is getting so objectionable, why join in?

  • Comment number 15.

    His US accent is excellent. When the series first started - co-workers thought he was an american actor (I knew he was English and had seen him in other things). As the character grew up around the world on Marine bases - he would not have a regional US accent.

    And he is not just limping and using an american accent - he is speaking medical jargon at the same time.

  • Comment number 16.

    In my view, Laurie earns every dollar he makes on House, MD. He's in virtually every scene. Combine this with mastering all of the medical jargon in an American accent and you have one very hard working actor.

  • Comment number 17.

    I see the title of this article has since been changed but the content remains as cynical and snide as before, and Hugh Laurie has more hair than you.

  • Comment number 18.

    My, what a poorly researched, mean spirited article!

    "He morphed from that comic buffoon Bertie Wooster on ITV, into one of the most highly regarded (and paid) straight actors in America" - Yep, that's all he's ever done.

  • Comment number 19.

    I like the music, his playing, and the songs themselves. I'm just not convinced of their authenticity, when sung by Hugh Laurie. Whilst he sings well enough, his tone doesn't quite suit the music, and as a result detracts from the whole.

    It's fair to say his celebrity from other activities has given him a leg-up musically, which his "blues" performances don't really warrant. He's clearly being booked to plug his CD and tour on the back of House, and not due to the music.

  • Comment number 20.

    Agreed with post #8. This is a pointless hatchet job of an article which seems to be remarkably bitter and remarkably jealous.

  • Comment number 21.

    Oh dear! This snippy little article seems to have backfired on the author rather badly. All contributors seem to agree that Hugh Laurie is an all-round talented guy and it's very hard to find anything to dislike about him. There's an awful lot of "moderating-out" going on to save the author's blushes!

    Hugh Laurie has been in the business for 30 years and has built an enviable reputation based on his talent. Susan Boyle (with no disrespect intended) is someone who can sing who came second in a talent contest two years ago. To compare the two of them is just a little bit too insulting to be entirely coincidental.

    Never was it more true that critics are failed artists, and bitterly resentful into the bargain.

  • Comment number 22.

    I saw him "performing" on TV... and supposedly his album has broke records for advanced sales... but, really?

    Is it just me who thinks "Errmm, that was dire!"?

    Have the discerning public stopped being discerning and instead fall over themselves to eat up the next bit of hype?!

    Being an actor, even a good one, does not make someone a mainstream musician worthy of praise. Yet, many spectators and commentators from the media have failed to actually question the validity of this musical project...

    Before we all go "Wow, Hugh can sing! Isn't that amazing!" perhaps someone should ask the obvious question, "But is it any good?"

    ...because the answer is no, it's quite bland actually.

  • Comment number 23.

    And no wonder he's getting a lot of attention. Why? Well, IMHO, because he is well known and well liked all over the world. I am quite sure he wouldn't get this much attention had he been an unkown musician trying to make it. (Sad but true)

    Lucky for him he doesn't have to. Now he can do something he truly enjoys and has apparently always wanted to do. He knows he's lucky to be in this position and from what I've seen humble and grateful for it.

    So. Why not take that chance? To be honest he'd be stupid to not try it. And I for one thinks he does it very well. He's very good at that piano. He may not have the strongest of voices out there but it's definitely good enough. Just watching him play is contageous and you feel his love for the music.

    Hugh Laurie Rocks!

  • Comment number 24.

    What a silly article. Hugh Laurie is one of the few genuinely talented all-round entertainers there are. Asking questions you don't go on to answer is just ridiculous.
    The comparison to Miss Boyle is also ridiculous. Hugh L has been working towards this for a long time, as talanted as our Susan is, a talent show doesn't begin to comapre with the amount of work Hugh L has put into the business.
    Take this article back home and re-write for the morning please.

  • Comment number 25.

    "The man is talented, no doubt.
    But the popularity he has achieved is solely down to the role of Greg House. If he had been cast in another, less regarded show, he'd not be in the exalted position he's in now".

    Obviously the reason the show is so well regarded is because of Hugh Laurie and not inspite of. When the show started it was not exalted and it is his performance (as well as the writing and co-stars)which has made it so. I seem to think that all of the shows he has been in have been critically successful,( i accept if they were flops i might not have heard of them) surely no coincidence

  • Comment number 26.

    Dear Editor,
    Whilst I do understand why my previous comment was moderated (it expounded in exuberant terms on the flaws of the article), I can 't help but giggle about the subsequent changes to the title that make most of the comments look out of sync...

  • Comment number 27.

    I think Will Gompertz is jealous of Hugh's success. I am not a huge fan of Hugh but i wish him well. Will knows that working for the BBC, he will never earn a fifth of what Hugh earns so he stews away in anger and jealousy.

  • Comment number 28.

    Because we're very weird about anyone trying to get out of the "box" that the media has put them in. In the UK he was labelled as a comic. In the US he's been able to become a straight actor. Now he's branching out into music. Good for him. He wants to do it; he has the opportunity. Why shouldn't he?

    Oh, and why is it NEVER mentioned in the UK press that he actually started playing in the States as a member of BAND FROM TV - a group consisting entirely of well known tv actors who have raised millions of dollars for charity? (Hugh's is Save the Children).

    All the UK media know how to do is sneer (either that, or build someone up only to knock them down). No wonder he had to go to the US to get the kind of success he's now enjoying.

  • Comment number 29.

    . . . how come so many comments are awaiting moderation? This miserable little article is hardly likely to attract an avalanche of racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise obnoxious contributions that we would expect to be moderated. Perhaps the article has rebounded on the writer and they are trying to save his blushes. . .

  • Comment number 30.

    I would request a response from Mr Gompertz (and the volume of comments above should warrant one) as to why he has decided to launch such a thinly-veiled sarcastic attack on Hugh, who has shown nothing but talent and humility during any of his appearances to promote his new album. Surely it is reasonable that he should be able to use his success to promote his other works? If an established act released a new album, they would have an advantage over other artists - even if their work was not as good.
    Hugh is one of our most successful exports, and a man of many talents. He, like Dominic West and others, is flying the flag for the UK on US television. Plus - comparing Hugh to Susan Boyle? That's a ridiculous comparison, as everyone above has agreed. Hugh's success has been founded upon his versatile talents and had work, and if his hard work pays off by giving him a platform with which to launch a music album - then whatever is wrong with that?
    Shame on you Mr Gompertz, I expected better from the BBC arts editor.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm struggling to understand the point of this article.

  • Comment number 32.

    While I agree the world may not have woken up to a musical genius in Hugh Laurie, there are in fact few people in the recording industry who could make that claim as well. Plus, Hugh Laurie would be the first to agree with you. I think he has made it pretty clear that he's doing this because he can, and frankly, who wouldn't?

    Why is Hugh so popular? Because he's entertaining. From Blackadder to A Bit of Fry & Laurie to Jeeves & Wooster and Sense & Sensibility and now House, Hugh Laurie has made me laugh until my stomach hurts, grin stupidly, and, yes, even cry because of how well he develops his characters and how much I emotionally connect to those creations. There are few actors who know how to genuinely entertain, Laurie is one who does. He is eminently watchable.

    As a long time fan of his, I love this media exposure. Even with the popularity of House the man so rarely gets interviewed. It's great to see him out and about. It's also great to hear something about the man from the English media other than how miserable he is supposed to be. He sure hasn't looked miserable throughout his various concerts and interviews. Instead he has shown and shared his obvious passion for the music that he is covering.

    What he is doing may not be for everyone, so be it. But, for those who have grown up with Laurie, it's wonderful to see this side of him.

  • Comment number 33.

    I sorry, but that was the worst essay-type article I have ever read. You have given it a title (ie.: to what extent is Hugh Laurie deserving of the attention he is getting for his music), trailed off on some opinionated comment (decent accent? Are you an American to state that it was 'decent' or otherwise), used the space to take a poke at some other personality, compare him with a reality TV discovery rather than someone who has been working steadily in all facets of entertainment for over 30 years, and failed in the end to answer your own question! I have learned anything fromthis article.

  • Comment number 34.

    And just how much do the BBC pay you to peddle trash like this? Can I have part of my licence fee back please?
    This is the sort of trash I would expect in a tabloid rag, not the BBC.

  • Comment number 35.

    I love Hugh Laurie! The Susan Boyle comparison is indeed ridiculous – Hugh has been in the business for 30 years and has worked hard for his success. His talent for music isn’t a new thing at all and he has always been talented at piano, guitar and singing. Honestly, I won’t be buying his album as it’s not my sort of music, but I wish him all the best with his latest project.

    The reason Hugh has been so successful is he is a talented comic and straight actor, talented musician, and an all-round-nice-guy: really, what’s not to like?

  • Comment number 36.

    Hugh Laurie is, and always has been, a damn fine actor ..... think Jeeves and Wooster, but also Blackadder and much more, and (@10. ManicMailmanhe) Laurie made House what it is rather than him being lucky to land the prize role.

    As for his portrayal of House as a 'straight actor' - please, get real! ...... House has been one of the funniest US shows for many a year.

    Sadly, the current series has shown that his acting, and that of many of the wonderful cast, has outlived the ability of the script writers.

    Series Seven (and now over 150 episodes) has been a mixed bag of part pantomime and a lot of badly written slapstick ..... so well done, Hugh, cash in on your popularity with a bit of singing, whatever it is you love to sing, while you can.

    Will I be buying the Cd - again, No, get real!

  • Comment number 37.

    hugh is definetly good in 'house' if you like that sort of show but he certainly isnt a talented musician , even he has said that many times . He deserves his fame for his acting but definetly not his music. People calling him a talented musician are mistaking fame and popularity with talent. Very good actor and a very average musician.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    Have to say the comments are far more entertaining than the article which seems to be pointless to begin with.
    So will you answer you own question Mr. Gompertz?

  • Comment number 40.

    I have visted the BBC website serval times a day for several years and can honestly say that this is the worst article i have ever read here.

    Awful Journalism.

  • Comment number 41.

    Will who???

  • Comment number 42.

    Ok, so, I have to say I was not aware of Hugh's attempts to get into the music scene, so, thanks to this article I am going to actively seek his music out, and see what he has to offer! Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  • Comment number 43.

    My original post was moderated out for unexplained reasons...perhaps other than the fact the author realised belatedly that he had written an absolute stinker! So it's worth repeating that in addition to his acting, musical and writing talents, Hugh also has a rowing Blue from Cambridge. A sportsman (sharp, contemptuous intake of breath)...could it be that this is indeed the final straw for the owlish, bespectacled "arts" critic.

    I wouldn't personally buy his CD as he doesn't really play my kind of thing, but for those who don't rate him as a musician, check out the bit in an old episode of Jeeves & Wooster when he sits down at the piano to "try out some this wizard new music" and rattles off the Honky Tonk Train Blues...that's tricky playing. Sure he's no Art Tatum but he is a better musician than many "professionals" and most would give their eye-teeth to be able to have such easy talent!

    It reminds you a bit of that press conference bust-up a few years ago when some journo started making snide comments about Andy Roddick, the tennis player and his recent drop in form. Roddick tried to be polite but the journo persisted. In the end he simply said "I know what you're trying say but actually I'm still the No.2 Tennis player in the world...I don't expect you're even the best journalist on your paper!".....Love it!!!!

  • Comment number 44.

    This is great!
    usually I don't read the comments as they are often sterile debates between people with opposite extreme views.
    But this is really entertaining.
    Lets hope the author was trying to be witty rather than nasty, but failed.
    it goes almost without saying that I agree with all of the comments before mine

  • Comment number 45.

    Is this the most comments you've had? Allow me to add one more. Hugh Laurie? Never heard of him...

  • Comment number 46.

    Wow. Envious much?
    Sad to see it's Hugh's country-men who question his success. Well, he'll just have to do with the rest of the world's admiration.

  • Comment number 47.

    Well, I think all wrong-thinking people are right. And all the preceding comments about how great Hugh is. When I first saw House I was very surprised to see Hugh on American TV. Then I was surprised at how perfect his American accent was. Then I was amazed at how believable he made his character become.

    So what if he's not the world's greatest singer? The land that gave us Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful is griping about the quality of Hugh Laurie's singing? Across the pond here we have Tom Waits, Kris Kristofferson and others who can get their point across in a unique way but to call them great singers requires profound deafness.

    Why not enjoy and admire his talents and successes? He makes British people look good, look talented, look hard-working and desirable to know. Isn't that a good thing?

  • Comment number 48.

    Well Hugh L is very talented, this is the best medical drama in the USA since ER ( the early years of ER that is). My dream episode of 'House' would be House diagnosing and mystery plaguing a character played by Stephen Fry and at the end of the story they have a Wooster/Jeeves moment. Would love to see them together again.

  • Comment number 49.

    I can only agree with most comments on here. Unfortunately, Hugh Laurie is one of those annoying people who appear quite good at anything they set their mind to, and I say that as someone who has never watched House. I remember (the great!) Stephen Fry saying that he often felt talentless in comparrison.

    I can also add that I haven't heard much of Hugh Laurie's blues output, but I am a big fan of his piano playing (dating back to A Bit of Fry and Laurie, if not before) and he has a real appreciation of jazz piano; and if you were to search for "Mystery" on youtube you would not be disappointed - in terms of humour or indeed musically.

    I do believe he was on the losing side in the boat race, however, a fact for which Mr Gompertz may be eternally grateful.

  • Comment number 50.

    Well spotted 'Pete' .''he started out small and ended up big''.Another British pastime ingrained in our culture.Build them up to knock them down.

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    Spiteful and mean spirited article.

  • Comment number 53.

    "..who's shown the friend we most want to impress". I assume you are referring to the ubiquitous Stephen Fry. It may well be your wish to impress that particular lump of lard, but do not assume the rest of us wish to follow suit.
    A dreadful article that says more about the writer than the subject.

  • Comment number 54.

    I have long been of the opinion that performers in the world of popular music are grossly overpaid and over-celebrated in relation to their artistic skills. Let's add this Laurie chappie to the long list of those scrabbling for the adulation and cash.

  • Comment number 55.

    Ungracious and spiteful. Did you really mean to come across as a petty, jealous little boy enviously sniping on the more talented and successful of your "peers"?

  • Comment number 56.

    Still waiting to read the answer to the question that attracted me to this article: "How did Hugh Laurie become one of the best paid actors in the US?"

    While I'm waiting, a question for you, Will: "How did Will Gompertz become the BBC's arts editor when his idea of writing articles is to have a compelling headline and then content that took 2 minutes to write and didn't actually address the headline?"

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    A lot of people have a job and serve a useful purpose. I would include Hugh Laurie in that category, he works, and it would seem he works hard, to entertain. What useful purpose do you serve Mr Gompertz, if any?

  • Comment number 59.

    I agree with a lot of other people here. What an AWFUL article. The author (and I don't even feel he has justified a menion of his name) AND the BBC should be ashamed of publishing this trifle!
    Why has hugh become so successful? Let me tell you why; because he is a very talented, very humble man. Sure, there may have been comedy actors better than he was when that was his focus, but he could sing and play the piano. Sure, there may be better serious actors out there who are American, to play an American doctor, but he can add a lot of comedy and sure there may be better soul singers out there but we are not just buying into the 'soul' but into Hugh himself.
    I saw him live in Manchester at the weekend and his voice was amazing (much better live than on CD) and he was entertaining, funny, humble. Where else can you get all of that within 1 package?

  • Comment number 60.

    Question: Why is Will Gompertz being paid license fee payers money to write such rubbish?.....Answers on a postcard please!!

  • Comment number 61.

    Why? Why? Why? Why does Hugh Laurie have to be subjected to this?

    "the AMERICANS just like Laurie because he pretends to be American" ???? Wow. Such ignorance.

    I really wish Hugh and his family ( maybe not his kids as they at the age to go out and discover the world) Stepehen Fry and many other intelligent creative humans would move here where you are accepted 100% You can play snooker, criket, soccer, buy british bikes (n even vintage) and many shops sell food that is ONLY imported from England.
    I am of english heritage, I still love my country, but I moved to the United states long ago to try my hand. After being conditioned that Americans are rude and crass and don't understand irony or wit, I was stunned to find that not only are Americans brilliant (not all, but are all Brits brilliant) creative, compassionate, understand irony quite well, and are very hard workers.

    I was accepted as as one of their own without it give a second thought. I was given responsibilities, trusted with them in fact, and if I screwed up, I was dealt with compassion until I got it right.

    Americans work HARD. They are NOT mindless idiots, even in small towns if you look past the "lesser than" you'll find wonderful eclectic people.

    Hugh does NOT deserve to be questioned for being successful. He's a sell out??? How petty.

    I understand Hugh and his family grew up in England, but I wish they would move here to the US and enjoy it. I think Hugh might like New Orleans. I hope he got out into the Garden district with opulent homes. It is a wonderflu and magical place. From french quarter which imho just smells like it should, and the feeling in New Orleans can't help but make me happy, the smells, the people, the historic places, it's just a lovely place.

    California has lovely sun most of the year, good for keeping your mood up.

    Anyway, I am rambling. I fully understand being attached to where you were born, in a VERY profound way. I think I would move back to my home to be buried, but in the meantime I think there is NOTHNING WRONG with being successful AND enjoying your life.

  • Comment number 62.

    One more comment, more "Americans" than you would ever be imagined grew up watching Jeeves and Wooster, Black Adder, A "bit" of fry and Laurie, etc etc.

    So please don't think we "just" discovered we enjoyed he, and Stepehen Fry, Ben Elton, Rowan Atkinson etc. We also loved are you being served among others.

  • Comment number 63.

    How about Hugh Laurie is so popular because he's talented, funny, good looking, incredibly sexy, has a voice that sends shivers down your (my) spine and doesn't take himself too serious. He started learning the piano when he was six years old, he plays the drums, guitar, bass, saxophone, he sings and composes. Enough reasons for you Mr. Gompertz?

  • Comment number 64.

    Oh for heaven's sake! Hugh Laurie is popular because he deserves to be popular - Full Stop. Hard work and massive talent equals success. Are you fed up with reading these comments yet, Mr. Gompertz?

  • Comment number 65.

    This isn't journalism, this is jealousy end of!

  • Comment number 66.

    I love Hugh Laurie, and his new album is brilliant!

    I have a question though; who on earth is Will Gompertz and why are the BBC paying him to write this bile?

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    I'm going to jump in to support Mr Gompertz on this one. Having read the comments supporting this average English actor, whose singing is about as interesting as Val Doonican's, I am left wondering why his level of artistic achievement is so fervently defended.
    I suspect that those who find Laurie's singing so wonderful are incapable of listening to any music that isn't more demanding than 'pop'.

    This is a blog about the arts, and when any Tom Dick or Harry comedian who has made himself a bit of a name turns to the world of music I am reminded of Des O'Connor. Is this art? Sadly, to a lot of people, it seems to be so. It really is appalling.
    L A Odicean

  • Comment number 69.

    Pretty pathetic and talentless, factless writing. This carticle is actually nothing to do with Hugh Laurie, it's about 101 writing drivel.

  • Comment number 70.

    #68. L A Odicean wrote:

    'I suspect that those who find Laurie's singing so wonderful are incapable of listening to any music that isn't more demanding than "pop".'

    As an Oxbridge music graduate, a bullish Schönberg aficionado, and an all-round élitist, I'm going to suggest that you've missed the point.

    I haven't listened to Hugh Laurie's singing, but even if it were only so-so, his piano playing (which I have heard) is rather competent. Certainly, though, a quick scan of his CV puts paid to your suggestion that he's only an 'average English actor'.

    Comments here rarely defend Laurie's 'artistic achievement', but reference his 30-odd years' sustained commitment in the entertainment industry, and his much-spoken-of professionalism. Given this, Gompertz's opinion is at least inaccurate, and to many readers is comes across as petty jealousy.

    This is all the more galling given that the arts editor himself has achieved such an esteemed position on little obvious merit, or indeed even commitment to his field.

    L A Odicean continued: 'This is a blog about the arts ... Is this art?'

    And this hits a nail on the head. In the present example, Gompertz might have chosen to champion the work of a little-known but hard-working and promising artist of some kind. Instead, he took a snipe at someone whose career in entertainment will be completely unscathed by the potshot. Frankly, that's not something I want my licence-fee to fund.

  • Comment number 71.

    This just proves everything I believe about the so called "art experts", that they are conceited and full of jealousy for anyone with talent.

    Hugh Laurie is a national treasure who has worked extremely hard in the industry for 30+ years to hone his talent to become the star that he is today, and deservedly so. I for one love House and find it especially funny that most Americans are shocked to find out Mr. Laurie is British!

    For once can we not celebrate the talents of a successful British artist instead of writing snide and spiteful reports about them.

    Oh, and I notice that Mr Gompertz doesn't even have the integrity to answer his critics on this page.

  • Comment number 72.

    The point of the article is to demonstrate the media's disproportionate focus on the artistic achievements of celebrities at the expense of more talented but less known artists. So this blog is certainly about the arts.

    As Playwright1749 #70 points out, (and he/she should know), Laurie's piano playing is merely competent. His blues singing is a pastiche IMO. His acting is his forte.

    There are enough highly talented artists out there - unrecognized and unreported by the media, without Laurie grabbing all the attention... though who can blame him? It's not really his fault. But it really is appalling.

    L A Odicean

  • Comment number 73.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 74.

    I think you are a little belittling. He is a fine actor. As you say yourself, he is a very versatile actor who reliably delivers a performance. I agree about the music but he is the pinup of many fans now who will lap up this personal touch. I think, instead of criticising, we should wish him well.

  • Comment number 75.

    Reading the article I was surprised and disappointed at how ill-informed and 'tabloid' this article sounded for a BBC comment piece.

    Mr Gompertz, if you knew anything about Hugh Laurie's career prior to House you'd know that his abilities as an actor and musician are fairly well known.

    I read the BBC website because it usually bothers to research it's opinion pieces (or at least use reason and insight to justify its position). If want to read these nasty pieces of under-researched hatchet-jobs I'd read a newspaper.

    'Hugh is in Susan Boyle territory...'. Maybe you're right. I mean apart from being a Cambridge rowing blue, president of Cambridge Footlights and having a 30 year Film/TV career he's just like Susan Boyle.

  • Comment number 76.

    To #72 L A Odicean: This thread is in danger of veering away from what was actually said in the article, to what possibly should have been said on the subject.

    No-one is disputing that H Laurie's musical venture is receiving such wide publicity due to his non-musical achievements, it's hardly an uncommon phenomena. But Hugh Laurie isn't hogging 'all' the attention and to find the situation 'appalling' is placing far too much importance on the matter, in my view.

    The negative reaction is due to the author's mean-spirited tone as he sought to portray all of Laurie's success as undeserved - particularly his acting. The original title was 'Why is Hugh Laurie so popular?' Most of the subsequent posts have been trying to answer that question for the author.

  • Comment number 77.

    Mr Gompertz gets very well paid by the BBC courtesy of money provided by the licence payer. Is he worth it? What purpose does he serve? What useful function does he perform in return for that money?
    Hugh Laurie earns a truly enormous sum; a sum that begs the question whether anybody whatever their achievements in whatever field deserves such a sum; however I would submit that despite the vastness of that sum, he does more, displays more talent, entertains more to further warrant his earnings than Mr Gompertz manages.

  • Comment number 78.

    I guess we can add coward to your list of qualities, Gompertz, since you have failed to reply to our comments. I for one, challenge you to show some actual back bone and reply to us.

    I'm going to sound like a broken record but I agree with the 70+ comments supporting Hugh Laurie. The man is the definition of talent. He hasn't got where he is easily and he deserves very much to be there. If you had done your research, you would have known how successful, and rightly so, he is. Hugh's success paves the way for so many British actors and actresses in American TV - maybe Tim Roth wouldn't have earned the lead role on 'Lie to Me' if it hadn't been for Hugh.

    I would like to point out that I was lucky enough to see Hugh Laurie live last Saturday in Manchester and it was a night I cannot forget. It was fantastic and so was he. I was already aware of his wonderful musical talent beforehand due to his comical performances and demonstrations on House but the experience live was on a different level. To top off his musical, comedic and acting talent - he's incredibly humble.

    This article was pointless and what I would expect from The Sun, not the BBC. Do they hire anyone these days? Because I'm looking for a job after university and I feel as if I am more then able to fill your shoes.

  • Comment number 79.

    Why? Because he's very, very good! As are Damian Lewis and Gina McKee, to name two from a recent Forsyte incarnation. Don't know how you Brits do it.
    Doug, USA

  • Comment number 80.

    @Gumpertz: Seriously!!! you are wasting our hard earned, tv license fee payers money with drivel like this?!!! So please bestow us with your multi-talents that we can compare you to Hugh and Boyle!

  • Comment number 81.

    @L A Odicean & Gumpertz: you both have a very distorted view of what the term or word "arts" mean! So an actor/actress is not an artist? Just because that they turn their attention to another love of the arts - music that they are now no longer artists, but just wannabe's?

    You show the same research level as that of Gumpertz (and yes i do know that i spelled his name with a 'u'), Hugh has been a musician for sometime so its not been a passing fad unlike so many of these Pop Idols that think that they can sing because they scored 100 on a karaoke machine, Hugh for one has soul.

  • Comment number 82.

    I doubt you are used to this level of response to your blogs Mr Gompertz; especially such a level of antipathy. Why do you not refute those claims that you lack courage and make a comment to back up your position regarding Mr Laurie? One point I would like an answer to: why if you are so convinced Hugh Laurie does not deserve attention be paid to his musical efforts, do you draw such efficient attention to them yourself?

  • Comment number 83.

    It's so appropriate that the moderated comments end with the two words "HOUSE RULES".

  • Comment number 84.

    Jelousy content = 10/10
    Article content = 0/10
    The only comment extra i can think of.... it seems such a shame that such a talented person that Hugh Laurie undoubtedly is feels the need to change himself into an American... sure the acting talent to give the americans the impression that he is an American is faultless but singing like an american wasn't really necessary!!
    Be proud of where you come from Hugh!!

  • Comment number 85.

    Wow -the author of this article should be asked to stay behind tonight and spend some time reflecting on his article. Lines would not go amiss either; "I will not write such petty and vindictive things again" a thousand times?

    Grow up Mr sound like a whiny child. What a poorly written article, almost completely devoid of any relevant facts, and shamefully bitter in its tone. Sounds like you have a personal dislike for Hugh Laurie and are using your position to vent your feelings instead of writing an objective and interesting article.

    How did this pass the editor's desk? I have unfortunately seen a trend towards poor reporting on the BBC website recently...I know you guys lost some funding, but come on! Are articles like this really acceptable to you?

  • Comment number 86.

    Hugh Laurie = awesome.

  • Comment number 87.

    Is Hugh's album a vanity project? Yes. He would be the first to admit it. Does it deserve this vindictive and poorly written bile? In my opinion, no.

    People are still waiting for your response, Mr Gompertz.


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