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Fish License

The cast:

PRALINE
John Cleese
CLERK
Michael Palin
SINGER
Eric Idle

The sketch:

Praline: (whistles a bit, then) Hello. I would like to buy a fish license, please.

Postal clerk: A what?

Praline: A license for my pet fish, Eric.

Clerk: How did you know my name was Eric?

Praline: No, no, no! My fish's name is Eric. Eric fish. He's an halibut.

Clerk: What?

Praline: He is an halibut.

Clerk: You've got a pet halibut?

Praline: Yes, I chose him out of thousands. I didn't like the others, they were all too flat.

Clerk: You must be a loony.

Praline: I am not a loony. Why should I be tarred with the epithet 'loony' merely because I have a pet halibut? I've heard tell that Sir Gerald Nabarro has a pet prawn called Simon - you wouldn't call him a loony! Furthermore Dawn Pathorpe, the lady showjumper, had a clam called Stafford, after the late chancellor. Alan Bullock has two pikes, both called Chris, and Marcel Proust had an 'addock! So if you're calling the author of 'A la recherche de temps perdu' a loony, I shall have to ask you to step outside!

Clerk: All right, all right, all right. A license?

Praline: Yes!

Clerk: For a fish.

Praline: Yes!

Clerk: You *are* a loony.

Praline: Look, it's a bleeding pet, isn't it? I've got a license for me pet dog Eric, I've got a license for me pet cat Eric.

Clerk: You don't need a license for your cat.

Praline: I bleedin' well do and I've got one! Can't be caught out there!

Clerk: There is no such thing as a bloody Cat license.

Praline: Yes there is.

Clerk: No there isn't.

Praline: Is!

Clerk: Isn't!

Praline: Is!

Clerk: Isn't!

Praline: Is!

Clerk: Isn't!

Praline: Is!

Clerk: Isn't!

Praline: Is!

Clerk: Isn't!

Praline: Is!

Clerk: Isn't!

Praline: What's that then?

Clerk: This is a dog license with the word 'dog' crossed out and 'cat' written in in crayon.

Praline: Man didn't have the right form.

Clerk: What man?

Praline: The man from the cat detector van.

Clerk: The loony detector van, you mean.

Praline: Look, it's people like you what cause unrest.

Clerk: What cat detector van?

Praline: The cat detector van from the Ministry of Housinge.

Clerk: Housinge?

Praline: It was spelt like that on the van. I'm very observant. I never seen so many bleedin' aerials. The man said their equipment could pinpoint a purr at four hundred yards, and Eric being such a happy cat was a piece of cake.

Clerk: How much did you pay for this?

Praline: Sixty quid and eight for the fruit-bat.

Clerk: What fruit-bat?

Praline: Eric the fruit-bat.

Clerk: Are all your pets called Eric?

Praline: There's nothing so odd about that. Kemel Attaturk had an entire menagerie called Abdul.

Clerk: No he didn't.

Praline: Did!

Clerk: Didn't!

Praline: Did, did, did, did, did and did!

Clerk: Oh all right.

Praline: Spoken like a gentleman, sir. Now, are you going to give me a fish license?

Clerk: I promise you that there is no such thing. You don't need one.

NB: The TV Version continues.....the album version continues below

Praline: Then I would like a statement to that effect signed by the Lord Mayor.

(Fanfare of trumpets. Mayor gorgeously dressed with dignitaries enters flanked by trumpeters.)

Clerk: You're in luck.

(In long shot now. The Mayor, who is nine foot high, and dignitaries approach a startled Praline. Organ music below a reverent voice over)

********** TV Version finishes - continuation of album version **********

Praline: In that case give me a bee license.

Clerk: A license for your pet bee.

Praline: Correct.

Clerk: Called Eric? Eric the bee?

Praline: No.

Clerk: No?

Praline: No, Eric the half bee. He had an accident.

Clerk: You're off your chump.

Praline: Look, if you intend by that utilization of an obscure colloquialism to imply that my sanity is not up to scratch, or even to deny the semi-existence of my little chum Eric the half bee, I shall have to ask you to listen to this. Take it away, Eric the orchestra-leader.

Singer: A one... two-- A one... two... three... four...

Praline (sings): Half a bee, philosophically,
Must, ipso facto, half not be.
But half the bee has got to be
Vis a vis, its entity. D'you see?
But can a bee be said to be
Or not to be an entire bee
When half the bee is not a bee
Due to some ancient injury?

Singing...

Chorus: La dee dee, one two three,
Eric the half a bee.
A B C D E F G,
Eric the half a bee.

Praline: Is this wretched demi-bee,
Half-asleep upon my knee,
Some freak from a menagerie?
No! It's Eric the half a bee!

Chorus: Fiddle de dum, Fiddle de dee,
Eric the half a bee.
Ho ho ho, tee hee hee,
Eric the half a bee.

Praline: I love this hive, employee-ee,
Bisected accidentally,
One summer afternoon by me,
I love him carnally.

Chorus: He loves him carnally,
Semi-carnally.

Praline: The end.

Clerk: Cyril Connelly?

Praline: No; semi-carnally!

Clerk: Oh.

Chorus: Cyril Connelly. (whistling)

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