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Monty Python: The funniest sketches (part 3)

Nudge Nudge

Nudge Nudge was originally written by Idle as a script for Ronnie Barker that was rejected but it finally saw the light of day in the Flying Circus’ third episode. Performed by its own writer and Jones, the skit witness two strangers in a pub entering into a conversation that one of them finds cryptic and later uncomfortably intrusive. Riffing off British repressiveness as well as our love for complex double entendres, the stretch is all about the hilariously enthusiastic delivery of Idle as a sex-obsessed bachelor.

Nudge Nudge, stuffed with slang references, is an exercise in convoluted sexual innuendo as the relentless barrage of wink-wink of the bachelor, say-no-more proclamations drives the stiff-upper-lipped pub-goer of Jones to distraction. Finally getting the single man to plainly speak and ask Jones’ character if he has slept with a lady, the sketch is one of the few Python routines that end with a clear punchline as the bachelor pauses for a few seconds before asking: “What’s it like?”

Spam

Stupendously daft even by Python standards, Spam combines a greasy spoon of coffee setting, the titular canned meat, Vikings and a British historian into a sketch which shouldn’t work but somehow does. Taking as its cue the ubiquity of spam on the British menu post World War 2, the Pythons concoct a skit lodging in the memory banks. Given how often the word is mentioned, it is not surprising that the modern, the digital meaning of ‘spam’ is indeed derived from this sketch.

Fourth-wall-smashing and self-reflexive, Spam sees two would-be diners lowered by wires into the Green Midget Café – surreally patronized by Vikings – and greeted with a menu dominated by spam. Like a dream, the skit sees the Vikings break into a chorus of “spam, spam, spam, …, spammity spam, wonderful spam” before Palin’s historian first analyses their actions and himself is drawn into the relentless, ear-worm chorus.

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