Monty Python’s Communist quiz

I hadn’t seen this before, but it came up during a bout of YouTube surfing. I didn’t think I’d missed any Monty Python sketches, but this one is nearly as good as the “summarize Proust” contest.

Poor Karl! He doesn’t know his football. . . .

39 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Two of my favorites

    I think what’s remarkable about MP is that it SHOULDNT be funny but somehow it’s hilarious

  2. JezGrove
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I don’t remember seeing the sketch before, but I’m 99% sure it was a track on my scratchy old copy of the “Monty Python Live at Drury Lane” LP. Now I’m going to have to drag it out and have a listen to see what other gems I’d forgotten all about.

  3. GBJames
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Very unwoke!

  4. merilee
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    How had I ever missed the summarizing “Prowst” one??? Hilarious!

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted February 3, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      “Sacre Bleu!” said Pepé Le Pew. “How could you?!” BTW, how’s the Prowst reading going?

      • merilee
        Posted February 3, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Oh I will have to use Pepe le pew in my French swearing! Since you asked, I’m at 16% of the way through part one of the second Prowst book. I won’t try to summarize it in song.

  5. Charles Jones
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never seen the sketch either, but it was definitely on the Drury Lane CD. I always laughed when Marx ended the skit with his little accented “Oh shit”.

  6. merilee
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Always a hideous lounge suite to be won.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted February 3, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Now a few years ago, I was at a friend’s, and she was watching re-runs of “The Joker’s Wild” from the early 80s. My god, the prizes were just hideous!

      • merilee
        Posted February 3, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        Never seen that show but glad that furniture manufacturers are getting ready rid of they are hideous “lounge suites.”

  7. Posted February 3, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I saw this on the television broadcast, though this recording looks to be one they did on stage.

    There is this very interesting interview with Terry Jones on the Monty Python years. Their early television recordings came very close to being just taped over! What a loss that would have been!
    https://www.vulture.com/2020/01/terry-jones-interview-monty-python-comedy-poetry.html

    • James Walker
      Posted February 3, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Yes, in the days before syndication and home video, the BBC had a policy of wiping old recordings. It’s what led to substantial loss of Doctor Who from the mid-1960s.

  8. DrBrydon
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I remember this one from my highschool days. “Coventry have never won the FA cup” has always stuck in my head.

    • TJR
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 4:53 am | Permalink

      Of course that has since been falsified, they won it in 1987.

  9. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Oddly enough, Youboob ‘suggested’ that clip to me too.

    I wouldn’t even want to start to psychonanalyse how their algorithms work, though.

    cr

  10. Jonathan Dore
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    They did a further riff on the idea of communists and football when they did a match of Greek philosophers v. German philosophers. I seem to remember Marx scored the winning goal in that one, so he got his own back.

  11. Posted February 3, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    If I remember correctly, in the original TV sketch, the song answer Mao knew was “Sing Little Birdy”” (sp?), but here in the Hollwood Bowl versionit was changed to “Great Balls of Fire”, presumably because more Americans would know that song.

    I love the idea of Mao being a Jerry Lee Lewis fan.

    And of course, in the TV version, Marx didn’t say “Oh, shit.”

    • Peter Taylor
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      I think it (“Sing little Birdy Sing”) was the answer to “What was the UK’s entry to the 1959 Eurovision Song Contest”, so you’re right, most US viewers would be unlikely to recognise it.

      • Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        That’s right!! Thank you!

        • Peter Taylor
          Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          De rien, Robert.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like Nixon and Henry the K must’ve filled Mao in about the Killer’s back catalog during their ’72 visit to China.

    • merilee
      Posted February 3, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Thought of those two-or three – rockin’ out to Jerry Lee gives me the giggles.

  13. Roger
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    The first thing I remember playing on guitar other than this was the Monty Python “Short Blues” which I had not realized until today was played by none other than Neil Innes! I could have sworn it was from “Live at the Hollywood Bowl” but I see now it must have been from “Live at City Center”. I figured it out on my own from the record, but I though that I had not figure it out because it was so simple. Surely it was harder to play than that because it sounds so cool! Now I realize that people deliberately do clever things with simple-to-play licks.

    • Roger
      Posted February 3, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Sorry about the typos. Apparently I do not like the letter “t” and who the hell needs a past tense anyway? Expunge them both I say.

  14. merilee
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Great Balla of Fire was the very first 45 that I owned, given to me, surprisingly, by my mother. The store must have told her it was the top of the charts.

    • Dominic
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      Goodness gracious!

  15. E.A. Blair
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    The television version of this sketch was in the 12th show of MPFC’s second season. That was the same episode that closed with the better-known Spam sketch. It first was broadcast on 15 December 1970.

  16. Posted February 4, 2020 at 3:20 am | Permalink

    Here in Oz it was seriously suggested (not that long ago) that applicants for citizenship should be asked about Don Bradman’s batting average (it’s 99.94, by the way – just in case you were thinking of moving).

    • TJR
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 4:59 am | Permalink

      Excellent idea. The trickier follow-up would be Steve Smith’s current average.

      • Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Or the nature of Ricky Stuart’s groin injury during the 1989 NRL grand final.

    • Dominic
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      …oh that last innings at the Oval…!

      • Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        If the tears well up convincingly in your eyes during the viewing of that video (I can’t bare to watch it myself!) you’re in Dominic!

      • jedijan
        Posted February 5, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        Surely not out for a duck 🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆

  17. Fred M
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    The Extended Phenotype might well be Dawkins’ best book. No one should have an opinion on TSG without having read TEP.

  18. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    For some reason, this put me in mind of the infamous episode of “University Challenge” where the UMIST team answered all the questions with references to various communist and Trotskyist writer and politicians.
    Some things, it seems, are not on YouTube. The most I could find is a 3 minute clip of the protagonists reminiscing, with a few seconds of footage from the broadcast.

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      David Aaronovitch was a member of that team (University of Manchester, I think, rather than UMIST). He had a second go at the show in 2018 when he was on the University of Manchester team in the Christmas alumni competion. I believe second time around he adopted a more orthodox approach to the quiz!

  19. Vaal
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Wild, I’d just watched that very sketch a few days ago. Love it.

    My favorite Python sketch (along sort of similar lines) is the Philosopher’s Football Match.

    • jedijan
      Posted February 5, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      I could never get enough of the Spanish Inquisition.

  20. GEORGE SEPSO
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I seem to recall another sketch in which Terry Jones plays Trotsky, and it was utterly unhinged—much more manic than The Communist Quiz.


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