How to Irritate People by John Cleese and Graham Chapman, who also star in the show
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
This is another wonderful work from the hilarious John Cleese and Graham Chapman.
Alas, the latter had a problem with alcohol and in the period around the filming of The Life of Brian he went through two large bottles of gin every day.
The program was about one and a half hours long and included extremely funny sketches, in a restaurant, car repair shop and more.
In the part where John Cleese plays the father to the character portrayed by Graham Chapman, he does everything to annoy.
Father wants to watch television, his favorite program, only the son and daughter-in-law are already captivated by what they see on TV.
The way to reach his goal is for father to render the situation impossible and make the others leave the room.
And of course he accomplishes that brilliantly.
The Car salesman
This one is one of my favorites, especially since it happens, if not in the outrageous form presented in the film, but in a more moderate manner to have this experience in real life.
Professionals of various kinds abuse their customers and they get away with a lot, if not like the infamous mechanic portrayed by Michael Palin.
Examples that comes to my mind refer to bus drivers on public transportation- since I use them when I do not take the bike downtown- for reasons of snow or heavy rain- I have to suffer along with other passengers as these guys hit the brakes like they have nobody on their damn vehicle and then they abuse the horn all the time…
The customer played by Graham Chapman brings a car to the shop, only to be refused by the cunning salesman portrayed by Michael Palin
The salesman tries every trick in the book and is well qualified to become a politician for he always dodges a question or a fault in the car.
He pretends he has to go to lunch, but the customer needs to call and it will be all right, after all, they never had a problem with this model- yeah, right!
The customer insists that he tried to call but he was ignored repeatedly and the car has so many serious problems…
From the brakes that he invites the salesman to check by pushing while he uses them to no effect to almost anything else…
- Tell you what! You bring it in and we’ll have a look! That’s what Palin’s character keeps saying throughout
- But I did bring it in! comes the reply and the vehicle is evidently there, in the shop
While Palin’s personage ventures to check things, everything starts falling apart, from inside to the big parts:
First it is the brakes- we see that they are useless, in spite of the effort to deny, play down or ignore made by the salesman.
Then there are absurd explanations and suggestions like give it time and finally, when all doors and front fall off:
- Tell you what! You bring it in and we’ll have a look!
The Indian Restaurant
This is another fabulous gem, wherein we have Graham Chapman, Connie Booth and Michael Palin in superb form
Michael Palin plays this eccentric waiter who is such a perfectionist that whenever there is a small thing that is wrong he starts kicking himself.
Literally, he uses one foot to hit the other and then starts banging his head against the wall and kicking himself all at the same time, because there was dust on a chair and he could not lick it off, again, literally, or a spoon is missing.
Graham Chapman is sensational in his limited, minimalist response to all the kerfuffle and the sobriety with which he takes all this in.
Michael Palin demonstrated that humility can be funny and self-criticism can be taken to an overwhelming extreme.
A peak experience and a zenith of comedy.