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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Monty Python Recycled Ancient Jokes

It turns out that the Dead Parrot sketch, one of the most well-known sketches from the British comedy troupe Monty Python, is at least 1,600 years old:
A classic scholar has proved the point, by unearthing a Greek version of the world-famous piece that is some 1,600 years old.

A comedy duo called Hierocles and Philagrius told the original version, only rather than a parrot they used a slave.

It concerns a man who complains to his friend that he was sold a slave who dies in his service.

His companion replies: "When he was with me, he never did any such thing!"

The joke was discovered in a collection of 265 jokes called Philogelos: The Laugh Addict, which dates from the fourth century AD.

Hierocles had gone to meet his maker, and Philagrius had certainly ceased to be, long before John Cleese and Michael Palin reinvented the yarn in 1969.
"Philagrius"? More like "Pilagiarus"!

1 comment:

Chris Wilde said...

I think stuff goes into public domain after 75 years, so Palin and Cleese were probably pretty safe from prosecution.

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