Undead Parrot Sketch

Happy half-century, Monty Python!

by Stuart James

(A customer enters a pet shop.)

Customer (Count Enilarp): ‘Ello, I vish to register ein complaint.

(The owner does not respond.)

Count Enilarp: ‘Ello, Miss?

Owner: What do you mean, “miss”?

Count Enilarp: (pause) I’m sorry, I have ein cold. I vish to make ein complaint!

Owner: We’re closin’ for lunch.

Count Enilarp: Never mind zat, my lad. I vish to complain about zis parrot, vot I purchased not half an hour ago from zis very boutique.

Owner: Oh yes, the, uh, the Norwegian Blue…What’s,uh…What’s wrong with it?

Count Enilarp: I’ll tell you vot’s wrong viz it, my lad. ‘E’s undead, zat’s vot’s wrong viz it!

Owner: No, no, ‘e’s uh,…he’s resting.

Count Enilarp: Look, matey, I know ein undead parrot ven I see vun, und I’m looking at vun right now.

Owner: No no he’s not undead, he’s, he’s restin’! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, innit, eh? Beautiful plumage!

Count Enilarp: The plumage don’t enter into it. It’s undead.

Owner: Nononono, no, no! ‘E’s resting!

Count Enilarp: Um…now look…now look, mate, I’ve definitely ‘ad enough of zis. Zat parrot is definitely undead, und ven I purchased it not ‘alf an hour ago, you assured me zat its total lack of movement vos due to it bein’ tired und shagged out following ein prolonged squawk.

Owner: Well, he’s…he’s, ah…probably pining for the fjords.

Count Enilarp: PININ’ for the FJORDS?!?!?!? Vot kind of talk is zat?, look, vy did he let out ein unearthly screech und fall writhin’ on ’is back ze moment I got ‘im home?

Owner: The Norwegian Blue prefers kippin’ on it’s back! Remarkable bird, id’nit, squire? Lovely plumage!

Count Enilarp: Look, I took ze liberty of examining zat parrot ven I got it home, und I discovered ze only reason zat it had been sitting on its perch in ze first place vos zat it had been STAKED zere.


Owner: Well, o’course it was staked there! If I hadn’t staked that bird down, it would have nuzzled up to those bars, bent ’em apart with its beak, and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!

Count Enilarp: YES! Vich is vy you also filled ze cage mit garlic! ‘E’s bleedin’ demised! Und zen, ‘e’s returned! to haunt zis village until he ’as found und punished zose responsible!!

Owner: No no! ‘E’s pining!

Count Enilarp: ‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! Zis parrot is no more! ‘E has ceased to be! Und un-ceased! ‘E’s expired und gone to meet ‘is maker, squawked ’oo’s ein pretty boy zen, und come back! ‘E’s ein zombie! Bereft of life, ‘e stalks in torment! If you hadn’t staked ‘im to ze perch ‘e’d be pushing up ein ving past ze daisies to grab somevun by ze throat! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ’istory, ’is metaphysic processes are present! ‘E’s off ze twig! ‘E’s kicked ze bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, rung down ze curtain und firebombed ze bleedin’ choir invisible!! Now ’e flies, flaming-eyed, mit zer hellhounds!! ZIS IS EIN EX-PARROT MIT EIN GRIEVANCE!!


Owner: Well, I’d better replace it, then. (he takes a quick peek behind the counter) Sorry squire, I’ve had a look ’round the back of the shop, and uh, we’re right out of parrots. Oh! (shouts) Harry, could you —

Harry (off screen): Wrong sketch!

Count Enilarp: I see. I see, I get ze picture.

Owner: (pause) I got a slug.


Count Enilarp: Pray, does it talk?

Owner: Nnnnot really.


Owner: Look, if you go to my brother’s pet shop in Tropeport, he’ll replace the parrot for you.

Count Enilarp: Tropeport, eh? Very well.

(The customer leaves.)

(The customer enters the same pet shop. The owner is putting on a false moustache.)

Count Enilarp: Zis is Tropeport, is it?

Owner: (with a fake moustache) Yes, it’s Tropeport.

(pause. Both look at camera)

Owner: That was a pun.

Count Enilarp: (pause) EIN PUN?!?

Owner: No, no…not a pun…What’s that thing that spells the same backwards as forwards?

Count Enilarp: (Long pause) Ein palindrome…?

Owner: Yeah, that’s it!

Count Enilarp: Oh yes. Tropeport. It’s ein palindrome!

Owner: Well, what do you want?

Count Enilarp: I’m not prepared to pursue my line of inquiry any longer as I zink zis is getting too silly!

(A Colonel walks on to the set.)

Colonel: Quite agree, quite agree, too silly, far too silly… The sketch is over.

Watkins: I want to leave the army please sir, it’s dangerous.

Colonel: Look, you’re not in this sketch. So get out of shot. Right, director! Close up. Zoom in on me. (camera zooms in) That’s better.

Owner: (off screen) It’s only ‘cos you couldn’t think of a punch line.

Colonel: Not true, not true. The whole premise is silly and it’s very badly written. And that man’s hair is too long for him to be in the Army.

Watkins: I’m a werewolf, sir.

Colonel: (takes customer by the arm) Come on, you, you’ve got to go do another sketch now! Come on… (he walks off stage left, followed by the director and cameramen, leaving the owner alone on the set)

Owner: (to the audience) Well! I never wanted to do this in the first place. I wanted to be… a lumberjack! Leaping from tree to tree as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia . . . (he is gradually straightening up with a visionary gleam in his eyes) The giant redwood, the larch, the fir, the mighty Scots pine. (he tears off his jacket, to reveal tartan shirt and lumberjack trousers underneath; as he speaks the lights dim behind him and a choir of Mounties is heard, faintly in the distance) The smell of fresh-cut timber! The crash of mighty trees! (moves to stand in front of back-drop of Canadian mountains and forests) With my best girlie by my side … (a frail adoring blonde, the heroine of many a mountains film, or perhaps the rebel maid, rushes to his side and looks adoringly into his eyes) We’d sing … sing … sing. (The choir is loud by now and music as well.)

Owner: (singing) I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK, I work all night and —

(The Colonel returns in a hurry, still holding the customer by the arm. The music stops suddenly and singing fades in disarray.)

Colonel: A lumberjack, eh? You have an axe, then?

Owner: Er, yes —

Colonel: Good, then come with me at once. We can collect pitchforks and flaming torches on the way up the hill.

Owner: Pitchforks and flaming torches? What for?

Colonel: To besiege the Castle Von Trope, and smoke out the evil monster who lives there. Nobody has ever seen him, but I have decoded this ancient script, and know that his name is —

(music: three dramatic chords)

Colonel: — Count Enilarp!

Count Enilarp: Oh, bugger.

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