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Why Frenchie From Our Flag Means Death Looks So Familiar

If awkward comedy makes you laugh out loud, then HBO Max has a new show that's right up your alley. But instead of the cringe humor happening at a paper company ("The Office"), with a clan of vampires ("What We Do in the Shadows"), or in small government ("Parks and Recreation"), on this show, it's happening with pirates. It's called "Our Flag Means Death," and although Season 1 has a small but respectable body count, it's not quite as deadly or bloody as the title implies. It does, however, feature a compelling ensemble cast, including such hilarious talents as Leslie Jones, Samson Kayo, Taika Waititi, and Vico Ortiz, among so many others.

One actor whose comedy chops stand out among the rest is Joel Fry, who plays Frenchie on the show. Frenchie is a distinctly non-French poet, minstrel, and tortured artist — and also the primary beneficiary of an 18th-century Ponzi scheme. But you've probably seen him somewhere else before. If you feel like Fry's face looks familiar but you can't quite place him, you're in luck. We'll take a trip down memory lane and remind you about some of the most impressive roles from his work in the past few years.

Most people probably recognize him from Game of Thrones

Oh, "Game of Thrones" — a show that was 90% flawless, but will go down in infamy for that disastrous final 10%. It started out as a woefully underfunded underdog during its first couple of seasons, but once its popularity took off, HBO spared no expense on epic CGI dragons, mind-blowing battle scenes, and some major plot-altering explosions. All of this was happening in between political espionage, sex, brilliantly choreographed fight scenes, sex, magical assassinations, and more sex. The show has a little bit of something for everybody.

Joel Fry appeared in eight episodes that spanned Seasons 4 and 5 (via IMDb). He played Hizdahr zo Loraq, one of the Great Masters (read: slave masters) of Meereen. He is a foil to Daenerys, pretending to broker peace between her and his fellow slavers — who still plot against her in secret to try to take their city and their way of life back from her rule. At one point, she even agrees to his marriage proposal for strictly political reasons. But at the end of Season 5, Episode 9, "The Dance of Dragons," she rides into the sunset on Drogon's back, never to see him again. Although it's heavily implied in the books that he hired an assassin to kill her that day, in the show, he is unceremoniously stabbed to death by the Sons of the Harpy, the opposition group who works in the interests of the former slave owners of Meereen.

He brought history to life on Drunk History: UK

It's not often that an American TV show becomes so successful that our tea-drinking friends across the pond copy us — usually, it's the other way around. But Comedy Central struck comedic gold when "Drunk History" hit the scene back in 2013. The U.K. version debuted a couple of years later in 2015, and it did fairly well on its own. It still has a 6.7/10 on IMDb, even though it has half as many seasons on the books as its U.S. counterpart. Joel Fry has made his own memorable cameos in no less than three different episodes so far.

His first appearance was in the Season 1 episode "King Henry VIII/Queen Victoria & Prince Albert/The Black Death," followed later by two more episodes in Season 3: "Billy the Kid/Elizabeth I" and "Beatrix Potter/Great Train Robbery." The interesting thing about "Drunk History" is that the stories are told by some person of notoriety (a comedian, TV personality, actor, etc.) who is inebriated beyond belief, ensuring that the retelling of history is as flawed as it is hilarious. The dramatizations of their tales are then filmed with real, sober actors whose voices are dubbed over with the drunk storyteller's words. It's important for the actors in question to be effectively expressive using everything but their own voices — and Fry executes his parts well.

He contributed to some major copyright issues in Yesterday

What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and nobody in the world had ever heard of your favorite band or their songs? Well, if you're anything like protagonist Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) in "Yesterday," you write all the music down and pass it off as your own. Then you get the fame, the fortune, and the girl — or so most would think. But as it turns out, once the world is his, Malik discovers that it's not what he wants after all.

The fame and the fortune are too much for the woman he loves, Ellie (Lily James). When he's forced to choose between love and a successful music career, love wins. His good friend Rocky (played by Joel Fry) helps him through the ups and downs as he struggles with what to do. In the end, Jack chooses love over fame, confessing his "plagiarism" of a band that never actually existed, and he asks Rocky to upload all of his music for free on the internet so that he can get out of his record contract and marry Ellie.

That's obviously not how it works in the real world, though. Thanks to DMCA regulations, if Rocky had done that in reality, he'd be in jail for a very long time. So it's a good thing for his character that movie writers get to take certain liberties with their craft.

He was a loyal and caring friend in Cruella

Disney did a bang-up job with "Cruella," the modern-day reimagining of the evil nemesis from their 1961 animated film "101 Dalmatians." Instead of portraying Cruella (Emma Stone) as a fur coat fiend, though, her origin story starts when an evil Baroness (Emma Thompson) sics her dogs on Estella's — aka young Cruella's — mother (Emily Beecham), causing her to fall to her death from the top of a high cliff. Traumatized by the incident, Estella blames herself, even though it isn't her fault. She then floats aimlessly through life before a chance to get back at the Baroness calls her to action.

In the film, Joel Fry plays Estella's best friend, a street urchin named Jasper. Jasper is the best kind of friend a person could ask for — someone who isn't afraid to have an uncomfortable conversation with you where they call you out on your bad actions to help you become a better person. Naturally, the cruel part of Cruella's mind is resistant to this, leading to the inevitable strife that storylines need to avoid lagging. But once Cruella finds out that the Baroness is actually her biological mother, she breaks Jasper and their friend Horace out of prison so that they can fake Estella's death and rob the evil Baroness of her fortune, which legally belongs to Cruella by birth. 

Jasper's roguish-yet-sweet nature was the perfect prologue to Fry's role as the similarly loyal Frenchie in "Our Flag Means Death," but fans will have to wonder a while longer whether we'll see him play the part again — there are currently no confirmed plans for Season 2.