Democrats Bring 'Dead Parrot Sketch' To Life

About 4 years back, I spent a lot of time studying the art of improv. I took classes with Second City and studied the works of Viola Spolin and Del Close. In improv you play "games." You get a situation and you do whatever you can to keep the situation going with your improv partners. One comedy sketch that is considered the Holy Grail(!) is Monte Python's Dead Parrot Sketch. If you've never seen it, it involves John Cleese going into a pet shop to complain that the parrot he just bought there has died. The shopkeeper, Michael Palin, does whatever he can to convince Cleese that the big is not dead even though he clearly is. Cleese and Palin play this game, going to extremes to prove their point, but the important aspect of the skit is that Cleese is obviously right and Palin's absurdity lends to the comedic situation. Here's just a bit:

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, he's, 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 you show...

(owner hits the cage)

Owner: There, he moved!

Mr. Praline: No, he didn't, that was you hitting the cage!

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.


So what's this have to do with the political situation of today? I've been watching (more like reading) the news carefully all week. What I keep seeing over and over again is the Dead Parrot Sketch.

Let's start with Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat and a Catholic, who recently told us how the Church is conflicted on the subject of abortion and that it's been going on for 50 years, the "doctors" at the Vatican aren't sure, but St. Augustine thought life began at 3 months, etc. Several Bishops told her that this is incorrect and the Church has forbid abortion of any kind for nearly 2,000 years. No matter says Speaker Pelosi, she stands by her statement.

No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.


Now we look at MSNBC President Phil Griffin who says that despite spats between anchors, Keith Olbermann calling Democrats appearing on Fox News "Tokyo Rose" and telling Joe Scarborough to "get a shovel," the news network has no ideology.

"Look, when Keith anchors, he plays it straight down the line," Griffin said. "This is our team. They've served us well. We love 'em, and we're going to be at the Republican convention, and it's going to be great. And I don't have any hesitation."


Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!


Madness.