Mr Creosote

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Mr Creosote (Terry Jones), with the maître d' (John Cleese, right) and second waiter (Eric Idle, left)

Mr Creosote is a grotesque fictional character who appears in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. Creosote is a monstrously obese restaurant patron, who is served a vast amount of food whilst vomiting repeatedly. After being persuaded to eat an after-dinner mint, he explodes in a very graphic way. The sketch is the first part of the segment "Part VI: The Autumn Years" .

The character is played by Terry Jones, who directed the film.[1]

Synopsis[edit]

In the sketch, Mr Creosote dines at a French restaurant. The entrance of this morbidly obese middle-aged man is accompanied by ominous music and is followed by a short dialogue with the maître d', played by John Cleese:

  • Maître d': "Ah, good afternoon, sir; and how are we today?"
  • Mr Creosote: "Better."
  • Maître d': "Better?"
  • Mr Creosote: "Better get a bucket, I'm gonna throw up."

Creosote is then led to his table, and once seated starts projectile-vomiting, failing to hit the bucket he had requested a moment before. The floor quickly becomes covered in vomit, and so do the cleaning woman and the maître d's trousers. Creosote listens patiently while highlights of the evening's menu are recited to him; after vomiting on the menu held open in front of him by the maître d', he orders all of the dishes listed by the maitre d'. As a result, he is served moules marinières, pâté de foie gras, beluga caviar, eggs benedict, a leek tart, frogs' legs amandine and quail's eggs with puréed mushrooms all mixed in a bucket with the quail eggs on top and a double helping of pâté. The appetizers are followed by the main course of jugged hare, with a sauce of truffles, bacon, Grand Marnier, anchovies and cream. For apéritifs, Mr Creosote has six bottles of Château Latour 1945, a Methuselah (Double Jeroboam/6 litres) of champagne, and half a dozen crates of brown ale – considerably less than his usual fare.

  • Maitre D: Bon, and the usual brown ales…?
  • Mr Creosote: Yeah… No wait a minute… I think I can only manage six crates today.

He finishes the feast, and several other courses, vomiting profusely all over himself, his table, and the restaurant's staff throughout his meal, causing other diners to lose their appetite (in some cases, even throwing up themselves). Finally, after being persuaded by the smooth maître d' to eat a single "wafer-thin mint", he explodes: covering the restaurant and diners with innards and partially digested food – even starting a "vomit-wave" among the other diners, who leave in disgust.

When the explosion clears, Creosote is still alive, but his chest cavity is now blasted open, revealing his spread ribs and still-beating heart. As he looks around, seemingly confused by what has just happened, the maître d' calmly walks up to him and presents, "the cheque, monsieur."

Production[edit]

In the documentary The Meaning of Making 'The Meaning of Life (2003), John Cleese said that the sketch, originally written by Jones and Michael Palin, was initially rejected. Cleese said the sketch suffered from a flawed construction and rewrote it with Graham Chapman. At the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival – Tribute to Monty Python it was claimed Cleese was taken with the unflappable maître d' character. Jones thought Creosote should be played by fellow Python Terry Gilliam, before Gilliam persuaded Jones to play the role instead.[2]

The vomitus was portrayed using large amounts of condensed minestrone soup. This made a considerable mess of the location — cited as the Seymour leisure centre in Paddington — during the week of shooting.[3]

Reception[edit]

When asked about his own proclivity toward gruesome film violence, director Quentin Tarantino has stated that the only time he was disturbed by a graphic or gruesome sequence in a film was this scene.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Hind (20 May 2012), "Lunch with Terry Jones", The Observer 
  2. ^ "The Yorkshire Post video interview: Python Terry Jones". The Yorkshire Post. 3 April 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  3. ^ Chris Michael (30 September 2013), "How we made Monty Python's The Meaning of Life", The Guardian 
  4. ^ "Quentin Tarantino on Kill Bill Vol. 2". Channel 4. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Carroll, Noël (2006). "What Mr. Creosote Knows About Laughter". In Hardcastle, Gary L. and Reisch, George A. Monty Python and Philosophy: Nudge Nudge, Think Think!. Open Court Publishing. pp. 25–36. ISBN 0-8126-9593-3. 

External links[edit]