Dead Bishop

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To be distinguished from The Bishop (Monty Python).

The Dead Bishop sketch, also known as the Church Police, Salvation Fuzz or Bishop on the Landing, is a comedic sketch appearing in Episode 29 of Monty Python's Flying Circus, "The Money Programme". It was also performed in Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl and featured on the record Matching Tie and Handkerchief.

Plot[edit]

The sketch begins with a couple (Eric Idle and Terry Jones) turning off a radio show (in the audio version, a panel is asked "what would they do if they were Hitler?" and after the answers the woman turns off the radio saying "liberal rubbish!") and deciding to eat a dead unjugged rabbitfish, which is followed by a slice of strawberry tart ("without so much rat in it") for dessert. Their son (Graham Chapman) enters and informs them that they have a dead bishop on the landing. After a bit of discussion as to why dead bishops keep appearing on the landing, they call for the Church Police (led by Michael Palin), who arrive exactly two seconds later and beseech God to "tell us who croaked Leicester". To the accompaniment of a church organ, a large finger laboriously descends and points at the husband, who admits, "All right, it's a fair cop, but society is to blame". All exit, singing the hymn, "Jerusalem" ("All Things Bright and Beautiful" in Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl and Matching Tie and Handkerchief).

The "Dead Bishop" sketch was infamous among the Pythons for being the one sketch they could not get through live without laughing. Indeed, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and John Cleese can all clearly be seen barely containing their laughter when performing the sketch in the film Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982). This was not helped by the fact that, halfway through the sketch, Terry Jones' (who is playing a woman) wig falls off, spawning howls of laughter from the audience and chuckles from the actors.

The version in Hollywood Bowl is more like the version that appears on Matching Tie and Handkerchief than the original Flying Circus version, with many changed or added lines, and the change of the closing hymn.

See also[edit]