Hugh Laurie, whose full name is James Hugh Calum Laurie, was born in Oxford, England.
Laurie was raised in a strict Presbyterian family. He has since confirmed repeatedly that he is an atheist. The following quote might have clues as to why he rejected religion and god:
I don’t believe in God, but I have this idea that if there were a God, or destiny of some kind looking down on us, that if he saw you taking anything for granted he’d take it away. So he’ll be like: ‘You think this is going pretty well?’ Then he’ll go and send down some big disaster.
My guess is that his devout upbringing instilled a sense of fear and guilt in Laurie and perhaps the doomsday prose of biblical books like Revelations caused Laurie to think: ‘God sucks, I’m just not going to believe in Him.’ But the guilt stuck. Laurie said:
Yeah, guilt I can do. If I have any expertise at all, it’s in the area of guilt. I have a black belt in it.
Laurie’s best friend, the best man at his wedding, and the godfather of his children is famous British intellectual and atheist, Stephen Fry. Fry’s condemnations of God and religion are much more eloquent and pointed than Laurie’s, and have no doubt been an influence on Laurie.
Laurie’s politics favor the common man, labor, and the left. And he can be quite funny about it. Laurie is somewhat of an accomplished musician. He once sang a televised protest song with the lyrics: “the poor keep getting hungry, and the rich keep getting fat.” The funny part was his solution. He would sing: “All we need to do is…” then mumble something unintelligible. The point being, of course, that he doesn’t know what to do about the world’s problems, but at least he seems to care.
Perhaps Laurie’s most pointed political statement was a commercial he did with Stephen Fry on behalf of the British Labour Party. The video portrayed Britain’s wealthy tax-dodgers and the lawyers who find them tax loopholes as greedy, self-serving malcontents and promised that the Labour Party would close the loopholes.
So, despite being the world’s highest-paid television actor, Laurie is apparently a champion for the regular guy and an enemy of the rich.
Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie Labour Party Political Broadcast 25th November 1993 ↩︎
Guinness Book of World Records: High Laurie is most watched man on television ↩︎