The Merchant Banker or ďThe Charity SketchĒ
B: Merchant banker (nameless), John Cleese C: Customer (Mr Ford), Terry Jones
B. Come in! Ah, Mr Ford isnít it?
C: Thatís right.
B: How do you do? Iím a merchant banker.
C: How do you do, Mr ÖÖ.?
B: Er ÖI forget my name for the moment, but I am a merchant banker.
C: Oh. I wondered whether you would like to contribute to the orphanís home? (rattles the tin)
B: Well, I donít want to show my hand too early, but actually here at Slater Nazi we are quite keen to
get into orphans, you know, developing market and all that Ö what sort of sum did you have in mind?
C: Well Ö er Ö youíre a rich man Ö
B: Yes, I am. Yes. Yes, very, very rich. Quite phenomenally wealthy. I do own the most startling quantities of cash.
Yes, quite right Ö youíre rather a smart young lad arenít you. We could do with somebody like you to feed the
pantomime horse. Very smart.
C: Thank you, sir.
B: Now, you were saying. Iím very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very rich.
C: So er, how about a pound.
B: A pound. Yes, I see. Now, this loan would be secured by the Ö
C: Itís not a loan, sir.
C: Itís not a loan.
C: You get one of these, sir. (hands him a sticker or a badge)
B: (examines it doubtfully) Itís a bit small for a share certificate, isnít it? Look, I think Iíd better
run this over to our legal department. If you could possibly pop back on Friday.
C: Well, do you have to do that, couldnít you just give me the pound?
B: Yes, but you see I donít know what it is for.
C: Itís for the orphans.
B: Y e s. (waiting for a more convincing answer)
C: Itís a gift.
B: A what? (completely puzzled)
C: A gift. (shakes his collecting tin to drive home the point)
B: Oh, a gift! (his face brightens)
B: A tax dodge.
C: No, no, no, no!
B: No? Well, Iím awfully sorry I donít understand. Can you just explain exactly what you want?
C: I want you to give me a pound, and then I go away and give it to the orphans.
B: Y e s. (waiting, as above, and absolutely puzzled)
C: Well, thatís it.
B: (shaking his head in utter disbelief) No, no, no, I donít follow this at all, I mean, I donít want to
seem stupid, but it looks to me as if I was a pound down on the whole deal.
C: Well, you are.
B: I am! Well, what is my incentive to give you the pound?
C: Well, the incentive is − to make the orphans happy.
B: Happy? Ö You quite sure youíve got this right?
C: Yes, lots of people give me money.
B: What, just like that?
B: They must be sick! I donít suppose you could give me a list of their names and addresses, could you?
C: No, I just go up to them in the street and ask.
B: Good lord! Thatís the most exciting new idea Iíve heard in years! Itís so simple itís brilliant. Well,
if that idea of yours isnít worth a pound Iíd like to know what it is (grabs the collecting tin)
C: Oh, thank you, sir.
B: The only trouble is, you gave me the idea before Iíd given you the pound and thatís not good business.
C: Isnít it?
C: No, Iím afraid it isnít. So, um, off you go. (he pulls a lever opening a trapdoor under Fordís feet
and Ford falls through with a yelp) Nice to do business with you.
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