- Lifeboat sketch
Monty Python's Lifeboat sketch appeared on Monty Python's Flying Circusin 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 Navyis a haven for cannibalism. It is well known that we now have the problem relatively under control, and that it is the RAFwho 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 winesauce with shallots, mushrooms and garlic."
The letter is followed by a highly cannibalistic
Terry Gilliamcartoon, a brief plea for decency from Terry Jonesin 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Possible historical references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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