#TBT – How to Irritate People “The Car Salesman”


As everyone seems to be jumping on the ‘Throw-Back Thursday‘ (a.k.a. #TBT) bandwagon these days, I figured why not Tellyspotting! Every week (on Thursdays, of course), I will try to come up with something that will either be a fun reminder of British television of the past or introduce you to something new that you will be able to amaze your friends with on Facebook or the next meet-up in the pub. If you like it, feel free to ‘tweet it, Facebook it, Instagram it or pin it on Pinterest’ with a #TBT hashtag so British telly fans around the globe can share in these forgotten little gems. If you have something you’ve found that you want a deeper dive of information on, please don’t hesitate to drop me a note at [email protected] and we’ll ride this ‘throw-back Thursday’ train as far as it takes us.

The inaugural Thursday throw-back has to do with everyone’s favorite, Monty Python’s Flying Circus….or, actually, a precursor to MPFC. How to Irritate People was a 1968 creation of John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Marty Feldman and Tim Brooke-Taylor following their days together on At Last the 1948 Show. Future Monty Python collaborators Michael Palin and Connie Booth were also featured in a number of different sketches designed to show, as the title suggests, how to irritate people.

At Last the 1948 Show with John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Marty Feldman

How to Irritate People “The Car Salesman”

In the “Car Salesman” sketch, we see Michael Palin as the car salesman refusing to accept the claim by a customer, played by Graham Chapman, that a car he sold is faulty. Python fans will definitely see the similarities between this 1968 sketch and an early Flying Circus-days sketch involving a dead parrot in which the malfunctioning car is replaced by an expired parrot with John Cleese playing the customer who has just purchased “not half an hour ago” a fairly inactive Norwegian Blue with Palin as the pet shop salesman who is convinced the bird is just tired out after a long squawk. Interestingly, the original sketch from How To Irritate People is believed to have been based on an actual incident between Palin and a car salesman who “had an excuse for everything”. Enjoy.