Albatross (Monty Python sketch)

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"Albatross" is a well known sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus. It is particularly known for its opening lines: "Albatross!! Albatross!! Albatross!!" and the question: "What flavour is it?"

The sketch first appeared on British television on 11 January 1970 in the 13th episode of the first series: "Intermissions" . It features John Cleese and Terry Jones. Despite its short running time (40 seconds) it has proven to be quite memorable for Python fans and was frequently performed during the team's live shows.

The sketch[edit]

John Cleese plays a girl selling snacks in a film theater. Instead of the regular movie snacks she is selling a dead albatross. A man (Terry Jones) approaches her and asks for two choc ices. The girl aggressively makes clear she only sells an albatross and continues shouting. The customer then asks what flavour the animal has, whereupon she shouts back it has no flavour, since it is a "bloody sea bird". She continues shouting and trying to draw attention to her merchandise, while the potential customer keeps asking questions about the product, like "Do you get wafers with it?". Finally the man buys two albatrosses for nine pence. The salesgirl then shouts she is selling a "gannet on a stick."

Later during the episode the sketch is referenced again, when Jones' character is seen sitting in his theatre seat with the albatross, shouting the line "Albatross", followed by several other characters in the episode for seemingly no particular reason at all.

Other appearances[edit]

The sketch was frequently performed live. It can also be seen in the film Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982), where Cleese uses stronger language than in the original TV broadcast ("Of course you don't get fuckin' wafers with it!") and actually insults the customer by calling him a "cunt." Eventually their dialogue is interrupted by the Colonel (Graham Chapman), who stops the sketch because of the "filthy" language. He tells Jones he is needed onstage for the next skit, then points to Cleese: "And you get off! You aren't even a proper woman!" To which Cleese replies, "Don't you oppress me, mate!" In the Monty Python Live (Mostly) stage show Jones's character walks away from Cleese's character and into a pub where he encounters Eric Idle's character and the sketch segues into Nudge, Nudge.

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