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Summarize Proust Competition is a sketch that appears in "The All-England Summarize Proust Competition," the thirty-first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.


The nude organist (Terry Jones) plays a fanfare, followed by the announcer (John Cleese), the "It's" man (Michael Palin) and the opening titles.

An announcer (Eric Idle) welcomes the audience to the All-England Summarize Proust Competition, where each contestant must give a summary of Proust's A La Recherche du Temps Perdu in 15 seconds, once in a swimsuit and once in evening dress. The judges are Alec and Eric Bedser, ex-Surrey cricketers, Stewart Surridge, ex-captain of Surrey, Omar Sharif, Laurie Fishlock, ex-Surrey opening batsman, Peter May, the former Surrey and England Captain, and Yehudi Menuhin, the world-famous violinist and the President of the Surrey Cricket Club.

The host, Arthur Mee (Jones) enters flamboyantly and greets the audience. He reveals the Proustometer, a chart to show how far a contestant gets in summarising A La Recherche du Temps Perdu.

The first finalist is Mr Harry Bagot from Luton (Graham Chapman) and manages to explain the themes of the work before explaining a grand total of 1 volume of the story. The announcer praises his posture though. Mee quickly interviews Bagot, who says his favourite hobbies are strangling animals, golf and masturbating. The next finalist is Mr Ronald Rutherford from Leicester (Palin), who forgets his lines, stalling and stammering. He manages to explain three volumes.

The final finalists are the Bolton Choral Society from Bingley (The Fred Tomlinson Singers) who begin a well-rehearsed contrapuntal choral singing "Proust in his first book wrote about wrote about", being stopped by the timer before being able to summarise the first volume.

Mee decided to award the prize to "the girl with the biggest tits" and she (Julie Desmond) bounces on stage with the other contestants congratulating her as the credits roll over the screen.


  • In Monty Python Live at Aspen, the group explains 'masturbating' was censored, so when Bagot says his hobbies are "strangling animals, golf and-", there was a pause followed by roaring laughter from the audience.