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A totally irrelevant list of (somewhat) obscure Monty Python sketches I like

by Nick Zaino, posted Oct 16th 2009 1:31PM
John Cleese of Monty Python, Live at the Hollywood BowlGiven the level of Python geekery out there, I'm not sure any Monty Python sketch is truly obscure. But there are plenty of gems past the more celebrated Fish-Slapping, Dead Parrot, and Argument Clinic sketches you see most often.

Since the Python reunion was broadcast yesterday, IFC starts "Monty Python Midnights" tonight with The Holy Grail, and starts airing the six-part documentary Monty Python: Almost the Truth: The Lawyer's Cut on Sunday, I thought it would be a good time to toss my own bit of nostalgia on the building heap this week.

I'm sure any list could be nitpicked to death with so much to choose from, but these are a few of my favorite less talked about Python sketches, starting with one from the troupe's great concert film, Live at the Hollywood Bowl.

The Pope and Michelangelo
I've seen a couple of versions of this, and actually was more familiar with the Secret Policemen's version for a while. Priceless premise. Favorite quote: "It works, mate! It looks great. The fate one balances the two skinny ones."

History of the Joke

A great sketch for comedy nerds from the Secret Policemen's Balls DVD collection. Python dissecting slapstick. Favorite quote: This is mostly physical, but Graham Chapman's running narrative is wonderful - "And finally, 'The Foul Part.'"

Colin "Bomber" Harris

It was a toss-up between the original sketch from the show and this version from Hollywood Bowl. But the live version actually captures Chapman's facial expressions and physicality better than the original, plus we get Michael Palin's updated intro. Favorite quote: "There it is, Colin's most famous hold, the one-leg over shoulder Gerry Ford, and Colin's in real trouble."

The Architect Sketch

This might be the most iffy as far as obscurity is concerned, but it's the one I get the most blank looks for referencing, so I feel motivated to include it. Favorite quote: "I see, I hadn't correctly divined your attitude toward your tenants."

Vocational Guidance Counsellor

An extremely quotable sketch, one that has been a reference in my family for years. Favorite quote: "You don't think it might be better if you worked your way towards lion taming, say, via banking."

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October 16 2009 at 6:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think this is the one you are looking for.


October 16 2009 at 4:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And also: "No one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

October 16 2009 at 4:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"The Larch..... the Larch....."

For some reason that always cracked me up bigtime in my high school days.

October 16 2009 at 4:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

here's an obscure one for you, I haven't even seen it listed, and don't remember the title of the actual sketch it was in.

Two magistrates, disrobing after their day's cases , discussing trivialities, reveal their transvestite clothing after doffing their wigs. I have seen it twice over the years , that's how rare that one was, but both times I was laughing for hours after. The seriousness of their work , combined with their disregard for convention hidden beneath till they signed off for the day just tickled me.

October 16 2009 at 3:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wulfn1's comment


I believe that was on Live at the Hollywood Bowl, as well. I'll check it again. The last line of that one is pretty great, too. "You can put it in the hands of the lawyers, but it will never stand up in court." That was Idle and Palin.

October 16 2009 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks for this. I kind of forgot how odd and funny TV could be.

Mine: Mr. Neutron -- so powerful he could destroy galaxies with his wrists

October 16 2009 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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