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Crackpot Religions Ltd. is a sketch that appears in "How Not to Be Seen," the twenty-fourth episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Synopsis[]

Arthur Crackpot (Eric Idle) sits behind a desk labelled crackpot Religions Ltd. Arthur Crackpot- President & God (Ltd.). He turns to the camera and says “This is an example of the sort of abuse we get all the time from ignorant people." Crackpot explains how he inherited the religion from his father, an ex-used-car salesman and part-time window box.

Crackpot talks about how his is the only religion to come with free gifts including: a tea trolley with every new enrollment as well as a three-piece lounge suite, a luxury caravan, a weekend for two with Peter Bonetti and the entire Norwich City council. The Nude Organist (Terry Gilliam) plays two triumphant chords on the organ.

Having said they have a much more modern approach to religion, it cuts to a man slotting a coin into a donation box labelled 'For the rich'. The coin tumbles down pipes which leads straight down to an ashtray on Crackpot's desk.

The scene cuts to a priest (John Cleese), with the mannerisms of a game-show host and a pepperpot, Mrs Collins (Michael Palin) standing in front of a hymn board. The priest excitedly reminds the audience that Mrs. Collins has her eyes on the coffee machine prize and can win it if she picks the correct hymn. The priest goes to the board, reminding the audience she chose Hymn 437. He picks up and slides out the card and looks on the back of it. He announces she's won the star prize of the entire Norwich City council and Mrs Collins looks on in disappointment, saying she's got one already. The priest proceeds to throttle her and the camera quickly turns back to Crackpot, who explains the types of people who are welcome to the religion, mostly rich people and people who aren't lower class ("I can't touch it, there's no return on it. you see.") . An interviewer on his side (Carol Cleveland) asks if he has any trouble converting people, and Crackpot replies they have ways of making people join.

A picture of The Bishop of Dulwich (Graham Chapman) appears onscreen, with Crackpot explaining how he does a lot of converting. An Australian outbacker Bruce Beer (Cleese) posing with a can of Fosters has converted 92 people. Another voiceover (Cleese) talks about Sarah, another converting bishop, whose photo as a pin-up model in a bikini by the beach is in the newspaper.

The scene then cuts to a number of vox pops of different people advertising their own crackpot religions:

  • A Gumby addressed as Archbishop Gumby (Palin) tells the camera he believes in peace and bashing two bricks together, doing so.
  • John Lennon (Idle) explains to the camera how he's starting a war for peace.
  • Ken Shabby (Palin), addressed as Archbishop Shabby, coughs badly and turns to the camera, saying he's raising polecats for peace.
  • Arthur Nudge (Idle) addressed as Archbishop Nudge asks "peace? I like a piece" and starts nudge nudge-ing sketchily.
  • A bespectacled bishop (Cleese) of Naughty Religion says they're the first church to cater for naughty people.
  • A shifty-looking bishop (Palin) of the No Questions Asked Religion says they are the first religion to help people to help themselves.
  • A bishop with curly orange hair and an axe in his head (Terry Jones) of The Lunatic Religion, or the Church of the Divine Loony, preaches about the power of prayer to turn the head purple, laughing madly.
  • The bishop of The Most Popular Religion Ltd. (Chapman) tells the audience how he wants to disassociate his religion with the other offensive ones.
  • An animated vicar of Cartoon Religions Ltd. (Gilliam) says how the church believes first and foremost in you, before smiling widely and the top of his head popping off, revealing a devil inside. The vicar puts his head back on and continues, but the devil comes back. Eventually, he nails his head back on.
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