The Parrot Sketch: English humour at its silliest         Monty Python

Monty Python's Parrot Sketch is utterly ludicrous and silly beyond belief.  Maybe that is why it has become Monty Python's best known sketch. This sketch has achieved cult status, while to a non-English audience it may seem rather “weird”. Let’s hope the humour of this sketch is not lost on you! The English pride themselves a lot on their “sense of humour”, a quality that – in their eyes (= the eyes of the English) the Germans (= Un-Krauts) sadly lack. So you should at least pretend you find the following sketch funny.

THE SCENE: A customer(C)-enters a pet shop to complain to the shopkeeper(S).

 C: I wish to register a complaint (1).  (clears his throat) Hello? Miss?

S: What do you mean, "miss"? (The shopkeeper is a man!)

C: Oh, I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint.

S: We're just closing for lunch.

C: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this parrot what (2) I purchased (3) not ‘alf (4) an hour ago from this very (5) boutique.

S: Oh, yes, the Norwegian Blue. What's wrong with it?

C: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. It's dead, that's what's wrong with it.

S: No, no, it's resting - look!

C: Look, my lad, I know a dead parrot when I see one and I'm looking at one right now.

S: No, he's not dead, he's resting.

C: Resting?

S: Yeah, resting. Exceptional bird, the Norwegian Blue. Beautiful plumage (6), innit (4)?

C: The plumage don’t (4) enter into it. It's stone dead!

S: No, it's resting.

C: All right, then: if it's resting I’ll wake it up. Wake up, Polly! Wake up, Polly Parrot. I've got a nice cuttlefish (7) for you if you wake up, Polly. (Hits the cage.)

S: There! He moved!

C: No, he didn't. That was you pushing the cage.

S: I didn’t.

C: Yes, you did. Polly, Polly...... Polly, Polly, Polly. Wake up, Polly! Now, that's what I call a dead parrot!

S: Well, it's stunned (8).

C: What?

S: You stunned (8) it just as it was waking up. Norwegian Blues stun (8) easily.

C: Look, I've had enough of this. The parrot is definitely deceased (9). When I bought it 'alf (4) an hour ago you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to its being tired and shagged out (10) after a long squawk (11).

S: Well, it may be pining for (12) the fiords.

C: Pining for (12) the fiords? What kind of talk is that? Look, why did it fall flat on its back the moment I got it home?

S: Well, the Norwegian Blue prefers kipping (13) on its back. Beautiful plumage (6)! It's pining (12), you know!

C: It's not pining (12), it's passed on (14). This parrot is no more. It's ceased (15) to be. It has expired (16). The parrot has gone to meet its maker (17). This is a late (18) parrot. It's a stiff (19), bereft of (20) life, it rests in peace. If you hadn't nailed it to the perch (21) , it would be pushing up the daisies (22). It's rung down the curtain (23) and joined the choir invisible (24). It is an ex-parrot!

S: Well, I'd better replace (25) it, then.

C: If you want to get anything done in this country you got to complain till you're blue in the mouth (26).

S: Er ... I’ve just looked. We don't have any more parrots.

C: I see, I see, I get the picture.

S: I've got a slug (27).

C: Does it talk?

S: Well, not really.

C: Well, it's scarcely a replacement (25) then, is it?

S: Listen, I tell you what: if you go to my brother's pet shop in Bolton, he'll replace the parrot for you.

C: Bolton, eh? Very well.


C: This is Bolton, is it?

Pet Shop Man's Brother (PSMB): No, it's Ipswich.

C: That's Inter-City Rail for you!


C: I wish to complain, British Railways person!

BR man: I don't have to do this job, you know.

C: I beg your pardon?

BR man: Well, I'm a qualified brain surgeon (28). I only do this job because I like being me (4) own boss. 

C: Excuse me, this is irrelevant, isn't it?

BR man: Oh, yeah, it's not easy to pad these records out (29) to thirty minutes, you know.

C: Well, I want to complain. I got on the Bolton train and found myself deposited (30) here in Ipswich.

BR man: No, this is Bolton.

C: The pet shop man's brother was lying!

BR man: Welt, you can't blame (31) British Rail for that.

C: As this is Bolton, I shall return to the pet shop.


C: I understand this is Bolton.

PSMB: Yeah.

C: You told me it was Ipswich.

PSMB: It was a pun (32).

C: A pun?

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

C: A palindrome (33)?

PSMB: Yeah!

C: It's not a palindrome! The palindrome of Bolton would be “Notlob”! It don't (4) work!

PSMB: Well, what do you want?

C: I'm not prepared to pursue  (34) my line of inquiry (35) at the moment, as I think this is getting too silly.                                     


1) complaint: Beschwerde; to complain/to lodge/to register a complaint: sich beschweren/beklagen

2) "what": substandard speech! The correct form would, of course, be "which"/"that" (see also #4)

3) to purchase = to buy: kaufen;  noun: purchase: der Kauf

4) ’alf = half (Cockney speech); it don’t = it doesn’t    innit= isn’t it: substandard speech!  me = my

5) very: genau;  this very boutique = genause diese Boutique

6) plumage: Gefieder (cf.  "Plumeau" = Federbett)

7) cuttlefish: Tintenfisch

8) to stun: betäuben , benommen machen; stunning: wuchtig, betäubend; auch: phantastisch, atemberaubend

9) deceased: verstorben; the deceased: der Verstorbene   (from  LATIN  "decedere" = to go away")

10) to be shagged out (GB slang) = völlig erschöpft sein = about the same as "to be fagged out"

11) squawk (noun)/to squawk: Schrei, Kreischen/schreien, kreischen  [ONOMATOPOEIA/Lautmalerei:"animal noises"]

12) to pine for: sich verzehren nach, sich sehnen nach, vor Kummer vergehen

13) to kip (GB slang) = pennen, schlafen

14) to pass on: hinscheiden

15) to cease: aufhören (cf.  "deceased" above #9)

16) to expire: seinen Geist aufgeben; auch: ungültig werden, ablaufen ("Pass")

17) to meet one’s maker: „seinem Schöpfer gegenübertreten”

18) late = [hier] verstorben    (e.g. "the late Mr Miller left 50 000 pounds to his wife/widow")

19) stiff (noun, slang): Leiche

20) bereft of: "beraubt einer Sache" = ohne etwas, bar einer Sache

21) perch: [hier] Stange; auch: Ast, Hochsitz

22) to be pushing up the daisies (infml, joc): sich die Radieschen von unten anschauen (="to be six feet under")

23) to ring down the curtain: den Vorhang niedergehen lassen

24)  the choir invisible (word order!): [etwa] Chor der himmlischen Heerscharen

25) to replace: ersetzen; noun: replacement: Ersatz

26) till you’re blue in the mouth/or: blue in the face (infml):  bis zum "Gehtnichtmehr"

27) slug: Nacktschnecke (the other type is a "snail")

28) surgeon: Chirurg

29) to pad sth. out: etwas ausstopfen, polstern; hier: strecken,“aufmotzen“

30) to deposit: absetzen, hinlegen, deponieren     noun: Flaschenpfand, Kaution, Einlage etc.

31) to blame (sb./sth. ) for: jmd. /etw. die Schuld für etwas geben      BUT: (sich) blamieren: to make a fool of oneself

32) pun = a play on words: Wortspiel   [QUESTION: "Is life worth living?" ANSWER: 'It depends on the liver."]

33) palindrome: Palindrom [ENGLISH: Able was I ere I saw Elba. (Napoleon on Elba!)  DEUTSCH: Ein Neger mit Gazelle zagt im Regen nie.]

34) to pursue (an aim etc.): ein Ziel verfolgen     BUT: to persecute a minority; to prosecute a criminal: "verfolgen"

35) (to pursue) a line of inquiry: in eine bestimmte Richtung ermitteln”

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