Creator Armando Iannucci’s Favorite Avenue 5 Line Is One That Hugh Laurie Improvised

It would be hard for me to pick a favorite line, but Iannucci certainly has one. It’s from season 2, episode 3. The crew has been visiting with the people they believe are scientists on a space station to get help with their eel tank when one of them realizes that this is, in fact, a prison ship. These people have done some very, very bad things, some of them involving beagles. (It’s best not to ask.) Iannucci explains that he likes to give the cast a chance to try new things and that he likes to be surprised by the improv. He says of his favorite moment: 

“For me, the funniest line is in episode 3 when Billie [Lenora Crichlow] says, ‘Of course, it’s a terrible idea, brackets, is it thought?’ And Ryan says something like, ‘Yes, it is, brackets, f*** yes!’ That was just Hugh, on the day. That wasn’t in the script, but it’s a golden light in the episode.”

It happens at the 22:55 mark if you want to check it out. The beauty of the show is that you can’t tell what is improvised and what isn’t. Every moment feels unscripted, but the story couldn’t possibly be. I mean, you can’t improv the idea of a cannibal with 36 thumbs in his basement joining a spaceship cooking show, but every line feels like it’s happening in the moment more than any other show I can think of. 

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