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Spam is a sketch that appears in "Spam," the twenty-fifth episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Concept[]

In the sketch, two customers are trying to order a breakfast from a menu that includes the processed meat product in almost every dish. It features Terry Jones as The Waitress, Eric Idle as Mr Bun and Graham Chapman as Mrs Bun. The televised skit also featured John Cleese as The Hungarian, but this part was left out of audio recordings of the sketch.

Synopsis[]

The Hungarian man enters the cafe

Mr. and Mrs. Bun float down into a café (oddly inhabited by Vikings) and ask what's on the menu. The waitress (Terry Jones) lists off the items:

  • Egg and bacon
  • Egg, sausage and bacon
  • Egg and spam
  • Egg, bacon and spam
  • Egg, bacon, sausage and spam
  • Spam, bacon, sausage and spam
  • Spam, egg, spam, spam, bacon and spam
  • Spam, spam, spam, egg and spam
  • Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, spam and spam
  • Lobster thermidor aux crevettes with a mornay sauce garnished with truffle paté, brandy and a fried egg on top and spam

Mrs. Bun (Graham Chapman) asks if there's anything without spam in it. The waitress and Mr. Bun (Eric Idle) start giving her options for dishes with little spam in them. However, she doesn't want any spam, so she requests a spam dish without the spam. The waitress retches at the thought. The vikings (The Fred Tomlinson Singers) start singing about spam until the waitress silences them. The waitress explains that Bun can't have the spam dish without spam as it wouldn't be a spam dish without. Mr. Bun tells his wife to not make a fuss as he'll just have her spam as he's having spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, spam and spam. The waitress says that the baked beans are off so the husband asks if she can replace it with spam. The Vikings start singing again so the waitress silences them.

A Hungarian gentlemen (John Cleese) walks into the restaurant and tries to request a dish off the menu but only ends up complimenting the waitress' breasts and explaining how his lower intestine is full of the dish he is trying to request, due to his faulty phrasebook. He is then hit by the waitress' spoon and bundled off by a police constable.

We then see A Historian (Michael Palin), in a studio, explaining how another great Viking victory was at the Green Midget Café in Bromley. He tries to explain their tactics but ends up chanting "spam". The studio set then is hoisted up, to reveal the café, again, as the historian runs off to join the Vikings' singing. Mr. and Mrs. Bun float out of the café as the screen fades to black.

The credits then roll with the crew members' names having the word "spam" and/or breakfast items inserted into them.

We then cut to Karl Marx (Jones) and Che Guevara (Terry Gilliam) in bed. Karl switches off the light, ending the episode.

Information[]

It premiered on December 15, 1970 as the final sketch of the 25th episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, and the following end credits were changed so every member of the crew has either Spam or some other food item from the menu added to their names. Despite its shortness, the sketch became immensely popular. The word "Spam" is uttered at least 132 times.

This sketch has also been featured in several Monty Python videos including Parrot Sketch Not Included - 20 Years of Monty Python.

Spam was one of the few meats excluded from the British food rationing that began in World War II and continued for a number of years after the war, and the British grew heartily tired of it, hence the sketch.

The menu[]

  • Egg and bacon
  • Egg, sausage and bacon
  • Egg and spam
  • Egg, bacon and spam
  • Egg, bacon, sausage and spam
  • Spam, bacon, sausage and spam
  • Spam, egg, spam, spam, bacon and spam
  • Spam, spam, spam, egg, and spam
  • Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, spam and spam
  • Lobster thermidor aux crevettes with a Mornay sauce garnished with truffle pâté, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam
  • Spam, sausage, spam, spam, spam, bacon, spam, tomato and spam (this is only in the LP version's menu, but the TV version features the Hungarian trying to order it)

Cultural references[]

  • The phenomenon, some years later, of marketers drowning out discourse by flooding Usenet newsgroups and individuals' email with junk mail advertising messages was named spamming, recounting the repetitive and unwanted presence of Spam in the sketch.
  • The Hormel company, the makers of the meat product Spam (food), while never quite happy with the use of the word spam for junk email, have always seemed supportive of Monty Python and their skit. Hormel issued a special tin of Spam for the Broadway premiere of Eric Idle's hit musical Spamalot. Also, the sketch is part of the company's Spam museum in Austin, MN, United States and is performed every day by local actors. The sketch has also been mentioned in Spam's on-can advertisements for the product's 70th anniversary in 2007, though the date of the Python sketch mentioned is incorrect (1971 when it should be 1970).
  • In 2007 the Hormel company decided that such publicity was part of their corporate image, possibly for the better, and sponsored a game where their product is strongly associated with the Monty Python [1] even featuring a product with "Stinky French Garlic" as part of the promotion of SPAMalot, a musical based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • Comedy rap act Sudden Death incorporated the Monty Python Spam chant (albeit sung by the band, not sampled from the skit) into the chorus of their song Spam, though the song is about the junk-e-mail spam and not the lunchmeat Spam.
  • The DVD release of the series contains a deliberate subtitling error. When the Hungarian tries to order food, his words are "My lower intestine is full of Spam, Egg, Spam, Bacon, Spam, Tomatoes, Spam." Yet the subtitles read "Your intestine is full of Sperm." This is a continuation of the "Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook" sketch, earlier in the episode. The subtitles are a continuation to an argument some Python fans have waged over whether the Hungarian is saying "Spam" (which would be logical) or "Sperm" (which is what it sounds like, and would tie in better with the Hungarian phrasebook's wording).
  • The Python programming language prefers to use spam and eggs as metasyntactic variables, instead of the traditional foo and bar.
  • Spam is mentioned in the Camelot scene of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where the Knights of the Round Table sing that they "eat ham and jam and Spam a lot". Spam-a-lot also became the name of the Monty Python musical based on the film, to both reference the "Spam a lot" lyric in the original film and Monty Python's SPAM affiliation.

References[]

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