Four Yorkshiremen


First Yorkshireman: Aye, very passable, that, very passable bit of risotto.
Second Yorkshireman: Nothing like a good glass of Château de Chasselas, eh, Josiah?
Third Yorkshireman: You’re right there, Obadiah.
Fourth Yorkshireman: Who’d have thought thirty year ago we’d all be sittin’ here drinking Château de Chasselas, eh?
First Yorkshireman: In them days we was glad to have the price of a cup o’ tea.
Second Yorkshireman: A cup o’ cold tea.
Fourth Yorkshireman: Without milk or sugar.
Third Yorkshireman: Or tea.
First Yorkshireman: In a cracked cup, an’ all.
Fourth Yorkshireman: Oh, we never had a cup. We used to have to drink out of a rolled up newspaper.
Second Yorkshireman: The best we could manage was to suck on a piece of damp cloth.

Third Yorkshireman: But you know, we were happy in those days, though we were poor.
First Yorkshireman: Because we were poor. My old Dad used to say to me, “Money doesn’t buy you happiness, son”.
Fourth Yorkshireman: Aye, ‘e was right.
First Yorkshireman: Aye, ‘e was.

Fourth Yorkshireman: I was happier then and I had nothin’. We used to live in this tiny old house with great big holes in the roof.
Second Yorkshireman: House! You were lucky to live in a house! We used to live in one room, all twenty-six of us, no furniture, ‘alf the floor was missing, and we were all ‘uddled together in one corner for fear of falling.
Third Yorkshireman: Eh, you were lucky to have a room! We used to have to live in t’ corridor!
First Yorkshireman: Oh, we used to dream of livin’ in a corridor! Would ha’ been a palace to us. We used to live in an old water tank on a rubbish tip. We got woke up every morning by having a load of rotting fish dumped all over us! House? Huh.
Fourth Yorkshireman: Well, when I say ‘house’ it was only a hole in the ground covered by a sheet of tarpaulin, but it was a house to us.

Second Yorkshireman: We were evicted from our ‘ole in the ground; we ‘ad to go and live in a lake.
Third Yorkshireman: You were lucky to have a lake! There were a hundred and fifty of us living in t’ shoebox in t’ middle o’ road.
First Yorkshireman: Cardboard box?
Third Yorkshireman: Aye.
First Yorkshireman: You were lucky. We lived for three months in a paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six in the morning, clean the paper bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down t’ mill, fourteen hours a day, week-in week-out, for sixpence a week, and when we got home our Dad would thrash us to sleep wi’ his belt.

Second Yorkshireman: Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at six o’clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of ‘ot gravel, work twenty hour day at mill for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!
Third Yorkshireman: Well, of course, we had it tough. We used to ‘ave to get up out of shoebox at twelve o’clock at night and lick road clean wit’ tongue. We had two bits of cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at mill for sixpence every four years, and when we got home our Dad would slice us in two wit’ bread knife.
Fourth Yorkshireman: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.

First Yorkshireman: And you try and tell the young people of today that… they won’t believe you.
All: They won’t!

– Chapman. G., Cleese. J., Idle. E., Jones. T., Palin. M. (1969) At Last the 1948 Show.

The Merchant Banker


City Gent: Miss Godfrey, could you send in Mr Ford please. (to himself) Now where’s that dictionary. ah yes – here we are, inner life… inner life … (a knock on the door) Come in. (Mr Ford: enters, he is collecting for charity with a tin) Ah, Mr Ford: isn’t it?
Mr Ford: That’s right.
City Gent: How do you do. I’m a merchant banker.
Mr Ford: How do you do Mr…
City Gent: Er… I forget my name for the moment but I am a merchant banker.

Mr Ford: Oh. I wondered whether you’d like to contribute to the orphan’s home. (he rattles the tin)
City Gent: Well I don’t 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… what sort of sum did you have in mind?
Mr Ford: Well… er… you’re a rich man.
City Gent: Yes, I am. Yes. Yes, very very rich. Quite phenomenally wealthy. Yes, I do own the most startling quantifies of cash. Yes, quite right… you’re rather a smart young lad aren’t you. We could do with somebody like you to feed the pantomime horse. Very smart.
Mr Ford: Thank you, sir.
City Gent: Now, you were saying. I’m very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very rich.

Mr Ford: So er, how about a pound?
City Gent: A pound. Yes, I see. Now this loan would be secured by the…
Mr Ford: It’s not a loan, sir.
City Gent: What?
Mr Ford: It’s not a loan.
City Gent: Ah.
Mr Ford: You get one of these, sir. (he gives him a flag)
City Gent: It’s a bit small for a share certificate isn’t it? Look, I think I’d better run this over to our legal department. If you could possibly pop back on Friday…

Mr Ford: Well do you have to do that, couldn’t you just give me the pound?
City Gent: Yes, but you see I don’t know what it’s for.
Mr Ford: It’s for the orphans.
City Gent: Yes?
Mr Ford: It’s a gift.
City Gent: A what?
Mr Ford: A gift.
City Gent: Oh a gift!
Mr Ford: Yes.
City Gent: A tax dodge.
Mr Ford: No, no, no, no.
City Gent: No? Well, I’m awfully sorry I don’t understand. Can you just explain exactly what you want.
Mr Ford: Well, I want you to give me a pound, and then I go away and give it to the orphans.
City Gent: Yes?
Mr Ford: Well, that’s it.

City Gent: No, no, no, I don’t follow this at all, I mean, I don’t want to seem stupid but it looks to me as though I’m a pound down on the whole deal.
Mr Ford: Well, yes you are.
City Gent: I am! Well, what is my incentive to give you the pound?
Mr Ford: Well the incentive is – to make the orphans happy.
City Gent: (genuinely puzzled) Happy?… You quite sure you’ve got this right?
Mr Ford: Yes, lots of people give me money.
City Gent: What, just like that?
Mr Ford: Yes.
City Gent: Must be sick. I don’t suppose you could give me a list of their names and addresses could you?
Mr Ford: No, I just go up to them in the street and ask.
City Gent: Good lord! That’s the most exciting new idea I’ve heard in years! It’s so simple it’s brilliant! Well, if that idea of yours isn’t worth a pound I’d like to know what is. (he takes the tin from Ford)
Mr Ford: Oh, thank you, sir.

City Gent: The only trouble is, you gave me the idea before I’d given you the pound. And that’s not good business.
Mr Ford: Isn’t it?
City Gent: No, I’m afraid it isn’t. So, um, off you go. (he pulls a lever opening a trap door under Ford’s feet and Ford falls through with a yelp) Nice to do business with you.

– Chapman. G., Cleese. J., Idle. E., Jones. T., Palin. M. Monty Python’s Flying Circus (Episode 30, Series 3) 1972.

Monty Python and the Bible


[From Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, 1983]
Part II: Growth and Learning. Headmaster (supposedly reading from The Bible).

And spotteth twice they the camels before the third hour. And so the Midianites went forth to Ram Gilead in Kadesh Bilgemath by Shor Ethra Regalion, to the house of Gash-Bil-Betheul-Bazda, he who brought the butter dish to Balshazar and the tent peg to the house of Rashomon, and there slew they the goats, yea, and placed they the bits in little pots. Here endeth the lesson.

[From Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975]
Book of Armaments, Chapter 2, verses 9-21, parodying the King James Bible and the Athanasian Creed.

And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, “O LORD, bless this Thy hand grenade that with it Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thy mercy.” And the LORD did grin and the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats and large chu… [At this point, the friar is urged by Brother Maynard to “skip a bit, brother”] … And the LORD spake, saying, “First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.”