Henry 5
Posted: 05 September 2017 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I recently saw Stephen Colbert interviewing Kenneth Branagh and Ken referred to Henry the Fifth which Steve immediately called Henry Five. If this was a joke no one laughed. Is it American theatrical slang? It may even be British theatrical slang I am unaware of. I rarely watch Colbert beyond the merciless Trump attacks unless the guests look interesting but he does sound a bit of a luvvie - I have twice heard him tell guests he studied ‘’improv’’, a luvvie term also used in the UK. I can’t imagine any Americans call Queen Elizabeth Elizabeth Two. (If you watch the French film Amelie, they call the dead Princess Diana Lady Dee (their pronunciation of the written British nickmame Di) so you never know.)

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Posted: 05 September 2017 11:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I think it was meant to be an ironic joke, perhaps playing on Trump’s past reference to “Corinthians two”. 

I had to look up luvvie.  I did not realize the term “improv” was special to any group.  I’ve heard it used by lots of people in show business.

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Posted: 06 September 2017 05:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yeah, there’s nothing special about “improv”; it’s perfectly normal usage (among those who talk about improv, of course).  And no, Henry Five is not normal usage; I agree with donkeyhotay about the possibility of a Trump reference, though it seems a bit of a stretch.

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Posted: 06 September 2017 09:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks, that is a relief. The exchange was too fast for Stephen to be referencing Trump who anyway said ‘’two Corinthians’’ (met in a bar) not ‘’Corinthians two’’ or the correct ‘’Second Corinthians’’. I sometimes wonder how many American politicians really are Christian and not engaged in a cynical vote-winning ruse.

I used to say improvisation till I took up am-dram where all the cool kids now say ‘’extemp’’. Improv does seem to be limited in usage to luvvies and comedians. I’ve never heard musicians use it even free jazz ones who never stop doing it.

[ Edited: 06 September 2017 09:04 AM by venomousbede ]
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Posted: 06 September 2017 09:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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But it’s not part of music jargon, it’s part of improv comedy jargon.  What exactly is your objection to it?  And who are these “luvvies” you claim use it?

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Posted: 26 October 2017 02:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I’ve been rereading Anthony Burgess’s 1974 comic novel The Clockwork Testament based on the time he spent in New York as a visiting professor and his having to defend the film version of A Clockwork Orange (which he didn’t much like but freedom of artistic expression and all that) on the telly and in print, etc. It has the following from a lecture the protagonist gives:

‘What she means is,’ said the redthatched beerswollen Irish student, ‘that the movie was on last night. The Late Late Date-with-the-Great Show. What Bette Davis called it was Richard Two’.

Burgess and Colbert are clearly familiar with the formulation so I’m guessing you have never moved in luvvie circles, LH, and assumed, because you’ve never come across it, that it doesn’t exist. You have to look for citations rather than rely on anecdotal lack-of-evidence The frustrating thing is it’s impossible to look up online because google auto-corrects Henry Five, Richard Three etc to V and III! Is there any way round this? It must be attested to elsewhere.

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Posted: 26 October 2017 04:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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It’s not very likely that people wrote it that way, even if that’s what they said.

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Posted: 26 October 2017 05:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Burgess and Colbert are clearly familiar with the formulation so I’m guessing you have never moved in luvvie circles, LH, and assumed, because you’ve never come across it, that it doesn’t exist.

I didn’t say it doesn’t exist, I said it wasn’t normal usage, which it’s not.  And I still have no idea what you mean by “luvvie,” which is not in use on this side of the Atlantic.

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Posted: 26 October 2017 05:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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OED says:

luvvie, n.

Brit. colloq. (humorous or mildly derogatory).
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An actor or actress, esp. one who is considered particularly effusive or affected; (hence) anyone actively involved with entertainment or the arts.

venomousbede - 26 October 2017 02:32 AM

The frustrating thing is it’s impossible to look up online because google auto-corrects Henry Five

No one writes “Henry Five” to designate this play, only “Henry V”, so there’s no point in trying to google it. This is a matter of how one says the name of this play aloud. It is commonly said as “Henry the fifth” and having seen this interview it seems to me that Kenneth reacts with some awkwardness to Stephen saying “Henry Five”.

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Posted: 27 October 2017 05:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Well, if venomousbede means that I’ve never moved in circles actively involved with entertainment or the arts, he’s quite wrong.

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Posted: 27 October 2017 07:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Colbert could have used it for any of the reasons posted here, or he could have done it “just because”. In other words, he might have said it just because he could. Crazy things pop out of that guy’s brain.

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Posted: 27 October 2017 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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When I read Henry 5 I thought of Bush 43 and found nothing curious about this usage on a talk show.

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Posted: 27 October 2017 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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When I read Henry 5 I thought of Bush 43 and found nothing curious about this usage on a talk show.

The 41/43 usage, though, is restricted to the Bushes. Obama wasn’t “44.” Some of the more left-leaning persuasion refer to “45” because they don’t want to name him, but I don’t think that’s a general usage.

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