You might have known that technically, the Four Yorkeshiremen isn’t an original Monty Python skit as well as didn’t feature in Flying Circus. However, it has become so synonymous with the troupe which it warrants inclusion. Written by Tim Brooke-Taylor, Cleese, Chapman, and Marty Feldman, first performed on their ITV comedy show in 1967, Four Yorkshiremen is an increasingly absurd parody of one-upmanship, nostalgia, and northern grit.
Featuring script tweaks every time the sketch was performed live by the Pythons and many other performers, the four holidaying, well-dressed Yorkshiremen in question drink a bottle of Chateau de Chasselas and try to best each other with exaggerated yet rose-tinted tales of childhood hardship. With shoeboxes and septic tanks for homes and fathers that would slice them in 2 with bread knives, the four men are united in agreement that “if you tell that to young people, they won’t believe you”.
Popular with philosophy students muse on the benefits of paying for professional debate, the Argument Clinic is an adroit exploration of the consumer culture and English language. Written by Chapman and Cleese, it is a great example of the intense wordplay that characterized the writers’ work at the time. The quick-fire dialogue is beautifully delivered by Cleese and Palin in a verbal jousting contest.
Purchasing a five-minute argument, the character of Palin is caught off guard by the immediacy of the argumentative approach of Cleese’s character, growing ever more frustrated by the latter’s mental gymnastics and verbal. Containing a dictionary definition of the word ‘argument’, the character of Palin attempts in vain to make his opponent admit that ad hominem attacks and contradictions do not make an argument. Storming off, his angry customer is first verbally abused and later hit over the head in two more rooms in which the public can purchase absurd experiences.
From the Ministry of Silly Walks to the Dead Parrot Sketch, here are 10 of the funniest sketches that made the Monty Python team become TV comedy legends.
Dead Parrot Sketch
Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-1974)
The Dead Parrot is the most famous of Python’s countless routines. In 2004, it was voted the best alternative comedy sketch in a poll by the Radio Times. The Dead Parrot appears in the eighth episode of Flying Circus’ first series. The sketch drew inspiration from Palin – an encounter experienced with a salesman who had an excuse for everything. Palin’s pet shop owner becomes the satirical face of the customer service since Cleese’s disgruntled Mr. Praline complains about his deceased Norwegian Blue.
Replete with exceedingly
daft dialogue and fourth-wall-breaking asides with a lengthy outburst from Mr.
Praline on how ‘ex’ the parrot is – the sketch might revolve around an
exaggerated premise; however, the customer’s frustrations are totally relatable.
Just when Mr. Praline says how things are becoming sillier, Graham Chapman’s
Colonel commands “Get on with it” to wrap things up bluntly while marching into
the pet shop and.
The Lumberjack Song reportedly dashed off in a quarter of an hour of a punch-line to the Homicidal Barber. It is one of the most easily identified skits of the troupe. Written by Palin, Fred Tomlinson, Jones, and performed by Palin with backing singing courtesy of some other Pythons with The Fred Tomlinson Singers worn as Canadian mounties, the song might become the bane of lumberjacks because of its unexpectedly confessional lyrics.
Starting as a celebration of a tough, rough, and
manly lifestyle that chops down trees in the great outdoors, the song quickly develops
into something very different when Palin’s lumberjack sings passionately about
pressing flowers and wearing suspenders, a bra, and high-heels. The nonplussed
mounties’ befuddlement is joined by the transvestite lumberjack’s best girlie (by
Connie Booth), who storms off with the image of her butch man shattered