In deep contemplation


One of Monty Python’s best:

To give it a New Zealand political twist – he’s not sleeping, he’s in deep contemplation.

Dead parrot no joke for Defence


UK Ministry of Defence have paid out more than a million pounds in the last three years for damage from low-flying aircraft:

One of the 200 claims was from a parrot owner who got £2,200 in compensation because his pet fell off its perch and died after being startled by an RAF Hercules.

Nearly £300 was paid to two therapy groups disturbed by the roar of fighter planes while £900 was claimed for damage to a child’s trampoline in Lancashire. . .

The parrot death follows a similar incident in which a low-flying plane caused another bird to fall off its perch and break both legs.

Its owner received compensation to cover vet bills including the cost of two splints. . .

Come back Monty Python, reality is overtaking your comedy.


Dead right euphemisms wrong


A discussion on a journalists’ Facebook page bemoaned the use by reporters of euphemisms for death.

The instance which prompted the discussion was the a sentence in which a reporter wrote that someone had passed.

Passed where? one could be excused for asking – passed away, passed on, passed over or was news of the death exaggerated and had the subject of the story just passed by?

Most who commented agreed that, in news stories at least, dead is right and euphemisms are wrong.

Should you  prefer a less direct way of stating a life has ended there are scores of possibilities here.

But no-one does it better than Monty Python:

All Blacks vs Derby Council


Only Monty Python could do this:

Monty Python


Happy birthday Michael Palin – 67 today.

Bafta for Monty Python’s 40th


The Monty Python team is to receive a British Film and Television Arts special award to mark their contribution to film and television at their 40th anniversary reunion event in New York.

The Special Award will be presented at an event co-hosted by BAFTA and IFC (Independent Film Channel) to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the creation of Monty Python. John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin will all be in attendance.

The Academy last honoured the Monty Python team in 1987 when they were presented with the Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema.

In honour of that the Cheese Sketch:

There’s lot more where that came from here.

Ancient Greeks did dead parrot first


The first time I saw the dead parrot skit was during an Otago University capping show in 1975. 

I discovered later it was taken from Monty Python but now it seems the idea behind the skit  was much older than that.

For those who believe the ancient Greeks thought of everything first, proof has been found in a 4th century AD joke book featuring an ancestor of Monty Python’s “Dead Parrot” sketch where a man returns a parrot to a shop, complaining it is dead.

The 1,600-year-old work entitled Philogelos: The Laugh Addict, one of the world’s oldest joke books, features a joke in which a man complains that a slave he has just bought has died, its publisher said on Friday.
“By the gods”, answers the slave’s seller, “when he was with me, he never did any such thing!”
In a British comedy act Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch, first aired in 1969 and regularly voted one of the funniest ever, the pet-shop owner says the parrot, a “Norwegian Blue”, is not dead, just “resting” or “pining for the fjords”.
The English-language book will appeal to those who swear that the old jokes are the best ones. Many of its 265 gags will seem strikingly familiar, suggesting that sex, dimwits, nagging wives and flatulence have raised laughs for centuries.
In many of the jokes, a slow-witted figure known as the “student dunce” is the butt of the jokes. In one, the student dunce goes to the city and a friend asks him to buy two 15-year-old slaves: “No problem,” responds the dunce. “If I don’t find two 15-year-olds, I’ll get one 30-year-old.”
In another, someone asks to borrow the student’s cloak to go down to the country. “I have a cloak to go down to your ankle, but I don’t have one that reaches to the country,” he replies.
The manuscript is attributed to a pair of ancient comedians called Hierocles and Philagrius. Little is known about them except that they were most likely the compilers of the jokes, not the original writers.
The multi-media e-book, which can be purchased online (, features veteran British comedian Jim Bowen, 71, reviving the lines before a 21-century audience.
I can’t bring you the ancient Greeks, but here’s Monty Python:

The ex parrot


The scene: Dunedin’s Regent Theatre.

The event: University of Otago Capping Show.

The date: Definitely May and either 1975, 76 or 77.

The cast: Jon Gadbsy and someone else whose name escapes me.

The skit: Monty Python’s dead parrot.

Tha parrot hasn’t come back to life, but the skit has been revived because as Keeping Stock points out if you substitute Foreign Minister for parrot  and Norway lobster for Norwegian Blue it takes on a whole new meaning.

You can watch it here.

Happy Birthday


It’s the anniversary of the launch of Monty Python’s Flying Circus according to Paul Henry on Breakfast. He must have meant in NZ becasue various websites inclduing Wikipedia say the first episode was recorded on September 7, 1969 and broadcast on October 5. Favourite skits? The dead parrot and argument clinic.

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