Hugh Laurie was a member of the Cambridge Footlights troupe whose revue won the Perrier Award at the 1981 Edinburgh Festival. Other members of this troupe included Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson and Ben Elton. He subsequently teamed up with Fry for a series of sketches on Channel 4's Saturday Live (later Friday Night Live) show (hosted by Ben Elton), including the wonderful Hedge Sketch.
Laurie appeared in the final episode of Blackadder II, as the German villain who kidnaps Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson) and Lord Melchett (Stephen Fry). He took a central role in Blackadder the Third, as the idiotic Prince Regent ("As thick as a whale omelette"), to whom Blackadder was a butler. He semi-reprised this role in Blackadder Goes Forth as the upper crust, nice-but-dim Lieutenant George, serving under career soldier Captain Blackadder.
His role as Bertie Wooster in Jeeves and Wooster added another rich idiot to his CV, but the subtle differences he brought to these three similar roles are a mark of his genius as a comic actor. Most of the sketches in A Bit of Fry and Laurie were distinguished by ingenious premises and Fry's wordplay, but in them Laurie developed more comic characters of genius, such as Alan the spy:
Tailor: Zip or button fly, sir?
Control: Zip or button? Zip or button? What do you think, Alan?
Alan: I'm a velcro man myself.
Control: Velcro? Isn't that a bit noisy?
Alan: Noisy but fast. By the time they've heard your flies, it's a lifetime too late.
More recently, Laurie has appeared in a number of films, including 101 Dalmations, Peter's Friends and Sense and Sensibility. He is soon to star in Ben Elton's movie, Maybe Baby. He has written one novel, a spy romp called The Gun Seller.
Stephen Fry has said that although he is often described himself as a Renaissance Man, Hugh is "the real thing" in the sense that he is a man of many parts: actor, comedian, author, musician, athlete etc.