The Dead Parrot.


A pet shop; Palin is standing behind the counter.


[Enter Cleese}


Cleese. Hello, I wish to register a complaint. Hello, Miss?


Palin. What do you mean, Ďmiss?í


Cleese. Oh, Iím sorry; I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint.


Palin. Sorry, weíre closing for lunch.


Cleese. Never mind that, my lad; I wish to make a complaint about this parrot what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.


Palin. Oh, yes, the Norwegian blue. Whatís wrong with it?


Cleese. Iíle tell you whatís wrong with it: itís dead; thatís whatís wrong with it.


Palin. No, no, itís resting, look.


Cleese. Look my lad, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and Iím looking at one right now.


Palin. No, sir, itís not dead; itís resting.


Cleese. All right, then, if itís resting, then Iíle wake it up. Hello, Polly! Iíve got a nice cuttlefish for you when you wake up, Polly parrot!


Palin. [pushes the cage] There, it moved!


Cleese. No it didnít; that was you pushing the cage!


Palin. I did not!


Cleese. Yes you did! [takes parrot from the cage and shouts into its ear] Hello, Polly! Polly! [bangs parrot on the counter] Polly parrot, wake up! [bangs parrot on the counter again] Polly!

[throws parrot up, so that it falls to the floor in front of the counter] Now thatís what I call a dead parrot.


Palin. No, no, itís stunned.


Cleese. Look, my lad, Iíve had just about enough of this. That parrot is definitely deceased, and when I bought it, not half an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to its being tired and shagged out after a long squawk.


Palin. Well, sir, itís probably just pining for the fjords.


Cleese. Pining for the fjords? What kind of talk is that? Look, why did it fall flat on its back the moment I got it home?


Palin. The Norwegian blue prefers kipping on its back. Itís a lovely bird, beautiful plumage.


Cleese. Look, I took the liberty of examining that parrot, and I discovered that the only reason it had been sitting on its perch in the first place was that it had been nailed there.


Palin. Well, of course it was nailed there, otherwise it would muscle up to those bars and voom!


Cleese. Look, matey, [picks up the parrot off the floor] this parrot wouldnít voom if I put four thousand volts through it. Itís bleediní demised.


Palin. Itís not; itís pining!


Cleese. Itís not pining; itís passed on; this parrot has ceased to be; itís expired and gone to meet its maker; this is a late parrot. Itís a stiff; bereft of life, it rests in peace; if you hadnít nailed it to the perch it would be pushing up the daisies. Itís rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible: this is an ex-parrot.


Palin. Well, I guess Iíd better replace it then.


Cleese. [aside] If you want to get anything done in this country, youíve got to complain till youíre blue in the mouth!


Palin. Sorry, gov, weíre right out of parrots.


Cleese. I see, I see; I get the picture.


Palin. Iíve got a slug.


Cleese. Does it talk?


Palin. Not really, no.


Cleese. Well itís scarcely a replacement then, is it?


Palin. Tell you what, tell you what: if you go to my brotherís pet shop in Bolton, heíll replace your parrot for you. [hands Cleese a business card]


Cleese. Bolton, eh?


Palin. Yeah.


Cleese. All right. [exit]





The pet shop looks exactly the same at the other one. Palin again stands behind the counter, wearing a false moustache.


[Enter Cleese]


Cleese. [picks up a parrot cage just like the one he left in the other pet shop, then drops it] Uh, excuse me, this is Bolton, is it?


Palin. No, no, itís, uh, Ipswich.


Cleese. [aside] Thatís inter-city rail for you! [exit]




Jones sits at the complaints desk.


[Enter Cleese]


Cleese. I wish to make a complaint.


Jones. I donít have to do this, you know.


Cleese. I beg your pardon?


Jones. Iím a qualified brain surgeon. I only do this because I like being me own boss.


Cleese. Excuse me, this is irrelevant, isnít it?


Jones. Oh, yeah. Itís not easy to pad these out to thirty minutes.


Cleese. Well, I wish to make a complaint: I got on the Bolton train, and found myself deposited here in Ipswich.


Jones. No, this is Bolton.


Cleese. The pet shop ownerís brother was lying!


Jones. Well, you canít blame British Rail for that!


Cleese. If this is Bolton, I shall return to the pet shop.




Back at the pet shop.


[Enter Cleese]


Cleese. I understand that this is Bolton.


Palin. Yeah?


Cleese. But you told me it was Ipswich.


Palin. It was a pun.


Cleese. A pun?


Palin. No, no, not a pun. Whatís the other thing, where it reads the same backwards as forwards?


Cleese. A palindrome?


Palin. Yeah.


Cleese. Itís not a palindrome; the palindrome of Bolton would be Notlob. It donít work!


Palin. Look, what do you want?


Cleese. No, Iím sorry; Iím not prepared to pursue my line of inquiry any further, as I think this is getting too silly!


[Enter Chapman]


Chapman. Quite agree, quite agree. Silly, silly, silly. Right, get on with it. Get on with it!