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Stephen Fry on Twitter, Trump, & the right to privacy

Larry King NowApr 25 '16

In a candid, wide-ranging interview, writer and comedian Stephen Fry tackles everything from the U.S. presidential race to his ongoing battle with bipolar disorder, and reveals how he feels about being called a “national treasure” by his home country. Plus, the beloved Brit on why he quit Twitter.


*Posted Online on Ora.TV on April 25th 2016:

“It’s very embarrassing. You have to put it to the back of your mind because if you allow yourself to believe it of course, then you would become monstrously vain, and if you allow yourself to think why people might think that well…”— Stephen Fry on how he feels being called a ‘national treasure’

“I have always loved America deeply and rather obsessively. I think because my father was a physicist in the 1950s and was offered a job at Princeton, to go and develop what would become semiconductors and microprocessors. He thought very hard about it and my mother was pregnant with me at the time. This was the late ‘50s. He decided to stay in Britain and when my mother told me this, I was about ten and I projected this figure - this ‘Steve’ - who was kind of American. He was me but American and grew up wearing jeans and driving a car by the time he was sixteen, chewing gum and going to drive-in movies. A whole different world! I always grew up in a traditional - I wouldn't say ‘Downton Abbey’- but a country-fied life in England, so I had this obsession of this other me that would have been. Would I have thought differently or felt differently?” — Stephen Fry on how his love for America got started

“I got started at university writing comedy with my friend Hugh Laurie. We were at Cambridge together, you probably know him, and with Emma Thompson who you also know. We were all at Cambridge together in the same year and we did a show and then were released into the world of television comedy. Hugh and I did a bit called ‘A little bit of Fry and Laurie’ and another series called ‘Blackadder’ and ‘Jeeves and Wooster.’ So in that way we became sort of writers and I wrote a musical, ‘Me and My Girl,’ which sort of established my fortune on Broadway. So yes, I did movies and TV and sort of move around mediums.” — Stephen Fry on the beginnings of his writing career and how it involved his two friends, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson

“It’s really impossible to say anything about this presidential race that hasn’t been said before. Never has more ink been spilled - or digital ink been spilled - on the nature of a presidential race in my living memory. It seems astonishing, these schisms that are like Grand Canyons that have opened up between left and right in America, which is very distressing because my experience of America is very polite and kindly and well disposed. Yet if you were to believe the noise of this Grand Canyon wrenching open the whole of American society, you would believe that everybody is enemies now and it’s going to get very dark, whatever happens.” — Stephen Fry on the 2016 presidential race

“I am-- well the word we use now is bipolar. I take Lithium everyday. It seems [to work] and just occasionally, I will tip over into mania. People mainly focus on the depression as it is the most life threatening and most difficult to handle. Mania is the other side. It’s called bipolar because there are two poles and it was called manic depression because it was manic and depression. We concentrate on the depression because of the gloom and it often leads to suicide. The mania part is a kind of grandiosity and energy- optimism. It’s the exact opposite. Where depression is dark and you don’t want to talk to people and don’t want to connect and you just want to be alone and you want silence. Mania, you want to talk to everybody. You believe in yourself and you believe in your future. Depression- you don’t believe there is a future.”— Stephen Fry on living with bipolar disorder

“I love doing movies. I really do. The extraordinary thing about them is when you’re making them, you’ve no idea if it’s going to be the next big hit or whether it’s going to be a disaster. I have been in plenty of things that have made no move then I did one called ‘V for Vendetta,’ for example, which every year seems to become more and more cultish, you know? This ‘Anonymous’ movement with the Guy Fawkes mask- it’s really interesting. I get more and more mail about that than anything.” — Stephen Fry on the unpredictable success of making movies like that of his film ‘V for Vendetta’

“I quit Twitter, yes. I just got bored by the bad voices just repeating and repeating. People say, ‘Well more people like you than dislike you,’ and I say this: ‘Suppose there’s a swimming pool and somebody poops in the corner. There is now a tiny bit of poop in the corner of the pool. There is no use saying 99% of the pool is fresh water. You’re not going to go diving in.’ That is what it is to me. Twitter has become pooped.” — Stephen Fry on the toxicity of Twitter and why it prompted him to leave

“I think [the right to privacy] trumps almost everything. I can understand if your family had been hurt by someone who hasn’t been found and there is the possibility that they can be found and traced by breaking into a phone. I can understand why you would want that. I think Tim Cook and Apple do understand that but it’s not an easy thing to say. A lot of things aren't easy. You’re balancing and it’s very difficult. In this case, I really do think that the right to privacy is crucial and these things that we all have in our pocket - that we fondle and stroke and we look at and laugh and we swap information - we reveal ourselves and we become ourselves through them. The idea that they can be opened by anyone is deeply disturbing.” — Stephen Fry on the right to privacy and his view on Apple