Which two Monty Python comedians performed the infamous 'Dead Parrot' Sketch?
The 'Dead Parrot Sketch', alternatively and originally known as the 'Pet Shop Sketch' is a sketch from 'Monty Python's Flying Circus', a British surreal sketch comedy series. This infamous sketch was a satire on poor customer service, initially performed in the show's first series, in the eighth episode (December 1969).
The sketch portrays a conflict between disgruntled customer Mr Praline (played by Cleese) and a shopkeeper (Michael Palin), who argue whether or not a recently purchased "Norwegian Blue" parrot is dead.
The sketch was inspired by a 'Car Salesman' sketch that Palin and Chapman had done in 'How to Irritate People'. In it, Palin played a car salesman who repeatedly refused to admit that there was anything wrong with his customer's car, even as it fell apart in front of him. That sketch was based on an actual incident between Palin and a car salesman.
Palin said that this salesman "had an excuse for everything". In early drafts of what would become the 'Dead Parrot Sketch', the frustrated customer was trying to return a faulty toaster to a shop. Chapman realised that it needed to be "madder", and came up with the parrot idea.
Over the years, Cleese and Palin have done many versions of the 'Dead Parrot Sketch' for various television shows, record albums, and live performances. 'Dead Parrot' was voted the top alternative comedy sketch in a 'Radio Times' poll.