Lifeboat sketch


Lifeboat sketch

Monty Python's Lifeboat sketch appeared on Monty Python's Flying Circus in Episode 26. It was also performed on the album, "Another Monty Python Record", retitled "Still No Sign Of Land".

The sketch features five sailors in a lifeboat, and features several resets where the characters mess up their lines and the whole sketch has to be restarted again.

The characters, trapped on a lifeboat, begin bickering about who should be eaten first, on the grounds of who's too lean, not kosher, etc. and ends with the planned menu, "Look. I tell you what. Those who want to can eat Johnson. And you, sir, can have my leg. And we make some stock from the Captain, and then we'll have Johnson cold for supper." They then call in a waitress to take their order.

The skit is followed by the announcer reading a "protest letter" saying, "Dear Sir, I am glad to hear that your studio audience disapproves of the last skit as strongly as I. As a naval officer I abhor the implication that the Royal Navy is a haven for cannibalism. It is well known that we now have the problem relatively under control, and that it is the RAF who now suffer the largest casualties in this area. And what do you think the Argylls ate in Aden. Arabs? Yours etc. Captain B.J. Smethwick in a white wine sauce with shallots, mushrooms and garlic."

The letter is followed by a highly cannibalistic Terry Gilliam cartoon, a brief plea for decency from Terry Jones in a false moustache, and finally the equally offensive Undertakers sketch.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFDgSKbapzY The sketch on YouTube ]

Possible historical references

The facts of this sketch are vaguely similar to, and perhaps refer to, a famous British case about the necessity of murder under threat of starvation (on a lifeboat). "See" Regina v. Dudley and Stephens, 14 Q.B.D. 273 (1884).


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