Dead Parrot Sketch

The cast:

John Cleese
Michael Palin

The sketch:

A customer enters a pet shop.

Mr. Praline: ‘Ello, I wish to register a complaint.

(The owner does not respond.)

Mr. Praline: ‘Ello, Miss?

Owner: What do you mean “miss”?

Mr. Praline: I’m sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a

Owner: We’re closin’ for lunch.

Mr. Praline: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to
complain about this parrot what I purchased not half an
hour ago from this very boutique.

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

Mr. Praline: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my
lad. ‘E’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!

Owner: No, no, ‘e’s uh,…he’s resting.

Mr. Praline: Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I
see one, and I’m looking at one right now.

Owner: No no he’s not dead, squire, he’s restin’!
Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn’it, ay?
Beautiful plumage!

Mr. Praline: The plumage don’t enter into it. It’s
stone dead.

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

Mr. Praline: All right then, if he’s restin’, I’ll wake
him up! (shouting at the cage) ‘Ello, Mister Polly
Parrot! I’ve got a lovely fresh cuttle fish for you if

(owner hits the cage)

Owner: There, he moved!

Mr. Praline: No, he didn’t, that was you hitting the

Owner: I never!!

Mr. Praline: Yes, you did!

Owner: I never, never did anything…

Mr. Praline: (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly)
‘ELLO POLLY!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing!
This is your nine o’clock alarm call!

(Takes parrot out of the cage and thumps its head on
the counter. Throws it up in the air and watches it
plummet to the floor.)

Mr. Praline: Now that’s what I call a dead parrot.

Owner: No, no…..No, ‘e’s stunned!

Mr. Praline: STUNNED?!?

Owner: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin’ up!
Norwegian Blues stun easily, major.

Mr. Praline: Um…now look…now look, mate, I’ve
definitely ‘ad enough of this. That parrot is
definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not ‘alf

an hour
ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was
due to it bein’ tired and shagged out following a
prolonged squawk.

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

Mr. Praline: PININ’ for the FJORDS?!?!?!? What kind of
talk is that?, look, why did he fall flat on his back
the moment I got ‘im home?

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

Mr. Praline: Look, I took the liberty of examining that
parrot when I got it home, and I discovered the only
reason that it had been sitting on its perch in the
first place, was that it had been NAILED there.


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

Mr. Praline: “VOOM”?!? Mate, this bird wouldn’t “voom”
if you put four million volts through it! ‘E’s bleedin’

Owner: No no! ‘E’s pining!

Mr. Praline: ‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This
parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired
and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of
life, ‘e
rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch
‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes
are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the
bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the
curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! THIS


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.

Mr. Praline: I see. I see, I get the picture.

Owner: I got a slug.


Mr. Praline: Pray, does it talk?

Owner: Nnnnot really.


Owner: N-no, I guess not. (gets ashamed, looks at his

Mr. Praline: Well.


Owner: (quietly) D’you…. d’you want to come back to
my place?

Mr. Praline: (looks around) Yeah, all right, sure.

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