The Hungarian Phrasebook Sketch

(Set: A tobacconist's shop.)

(Text on screen: In 1970, the British Empire lay in ruins, and foreign nationalists frequented the streets - many of them Hungarians (not the streets - the foreign nationals). Anyway, many of these Hungarians went into tobacconist's shops to buy cigarettes....)

A Hungarian tourist (John Cleese) approaches the clerk (Terry Jones). The tourist is reading haltingly from a phrase book.

Hungarian: I will not buy this record, it is scratched.

Clerk: Sorry?

Hungarian: I will not buy this record, it is scratched.

Clerk: Uh, no, no, no. This is a tobacconist's.

Hungarian: Ah! I will not buy this tobacconist's, it is scratched.

Clerk: No, no, no, no. Tobacco... um... cigarettes (holds up a pack).

Hungarian: Ya! See-gar-ets! Ya! Uh... My hovercraft is full of eels.

Clerk: What?

Hungarian: My hovercraft (pantomimes puffing a cigarette)... is full of eels (pretends to strike a match).

Clerk: Ahh, matches!

Hungarian: Ya! Ya! Ya! Ya! Do you waaaaant... do you waaaaaant... to come back to my place, bouncy bouncy?

Clerk: Here, I don't think you're using that thing right.

Hungarian: You great poof.

Clerk: That'll be six and six, please.

Hungarian: If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me? I... I am no longer infected.

Clerk: Uh, may I, uh... (takes phrase book, flips through it)... Costs six and six... ah, here we are. 'Yandelvayasna grldenwi stravenka' (Hungarian punches the clerk.)

(Meanwhile, a policeman (Graham Chapman) on a quiet street cups his ear as if hearing a cry of distress. He sprints for many blocks and finally enters the tobacconist's.)

Cop: What's going on here then?

Hungarian: Ah. You have beautiful thighs.

Cop: (looks down at himself) WHAT?!?

Clerk: He hit me!

Hungarian: Drop your panties, Sir William, I cannot wait 'til lunchtime. (points at clerk)

Cop: RIGHT!!! (drags Hungarian away by the arm)

Hungarian: (indignantly) My nipples explode with delight!

(scene switches to a courtroom. Characters are all in powdered wigs and judicial robes, except publisher and cop.)

Bailiff (Eric Idle): Call Alexander Yalt!

(voices sing out 'Call Alexander Yalt' several times)

Judge (Terry Jones): Oh, shut up!

Bailiff: (to publisher) You are Alexander Yalt?

Publisher (Michael Palin): (in a sing-songy voice) Oh, I am.

Bailiff: Skip the impersonations. You are Alexander Yalt?

Publisher: I am.

Bailiff: You are hereby charged that on the 28th day of May, 1970, you did willfully, unlawfully, and with malice of forethought, publish an alleged English-Hungarian phrase book with intent to cause a breach of the peace. How do you plead?

Publisher: Not guilty.

Bailiff: You live at 46 Horton Terrace?

Publisher: I do live at 46 Horton terrace.

Bailiff: You are the director of a publishing company?

Publisher: I am the director of a publishing company.

Bailiff: Your company publishes phrase books?

Publisher: My company does publish phrase books.

Bailiff: You did say 46 Horton Terrace, did you?

Publisher: Yes.

Bailiff: (strikes a gong) Ah! Got him!

   (lawyer and cop applaud, laugh)

Judge: Get on with it, get on with it.

Bailiff: Yes M'Lud. On the 28th day of May, you published this phrase book?

Publisher: I did.

Bailiff: I quote an example. The Hungarian phrase meaning "Can you direct me to the station?" is translated by the English phrase, "Please fondle my bum."

Publisher: I wish to plead incompetence.

Cop: (stands) Please may I ask for an adjournment, m'lord?

Judge: An adjournment? Certainly not!

   (the cop sits down again, emitting perhaps the longest and loudest release of bodily gas in the history of the universe.)

Judge: Why on earth didn't you say WHY you wanted an adjournment?

Cop: I didn't know an acceptable legal phrase, m'lord.

   (cut to stock footage of old women applauding)

Judge: (banging + swinging gavel) If there's any more stock film of women applauding, I shall clear the court.

Continue to the next sketch... The Communist Quiz (World Forum)