The Norwegian Blue…

I was thinking yesterday of the best comedy sketch ever written…there are a lot to choose from, old and new. And one has to respect the fact that not all humour is humorous to all people. Think of the Germans for example… their only joke involves a dog that has got no nose…

Anyhow, I thought I would pith this one out there… it’s dated, obscurer, and not the finest bit of acting by either Cleese nor Palin, but the Dead Parrot Sketch has to be up there among them? No?

Even the most stony faced automaton has to find the offering that the Parrot in question is merely ‘pining for the fjords‘  whilst lying on its back (they prefer kipping on their back…) a work of comic genius. Its just pure silly comedy. Nothing clever, nothing fancy. Just sheer stupidity.

If you have never seen it… shame on you. Here it is:

The sketch has become a bit of a household comedy touchstone up and down Britain; indeed in an interview John Cleese said that when he and Palin were performing the sketch on Drury Lane, Palin made him laugh by saying, when asked if his slug could talk, “It mutters a bit” instead of “Not really.” When Cleese eventually stopped laughing, he couldn’t remember where they were in the sketch. He turned to the audience and asked them what the next line was, and people shouted it at him, causing him to wonder, “What is the point of this?” It was even used by Mrs Thatcher in a speech in the late 1980’s.

Unbeknownst to the Pythons at the time they wrote the sketch, there are in fact two species of parrot that live in the alpine regions of South Island in New Zealand – an area known as “Fiordland” for the many fjords it contains. Wikipedia and the website Birds of New Zealand (Don’t Google it directly…) inform is that these parrots are the kea and the kakapo, and entirely coincidentally, a gathering or group of Kea is called a “circus.” Obviously. Beautiful plumage…

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