Series 3, Episode 39: Oscar Wilde Sketch
PRINCE Terry Jones
OSCAR WILDE Graham Chapman
WHISTLER John Cleese
SHAW Michael Palin
Zoom in to overlay showing some stock film of hansom cabs galloping past. Suitably classy music starts.
CAPTION: LONDON 1895
CAPTION: THE RESIDENCE OFMR. OSCAR WILDE
Mix through to Wilde’s drawing room. A crowd of suitably dressed folk are engaged in typically brilliant conversation, laughing affectedly and drinking champagne.
Prince: My congratulations, Wilde. Your latest play is a great success. The whole of London’s talking about you.
Oscar: There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.
There follows fifteen seconds of restrained and sycophantic laughter.
Prince: Very very witty … very very witty.
Whistler: There is only one thing in the world worse than being witty, and that is not being witty.
Fifteeen more seconds of the same.
Oscar: I wish I had said that.
Whistler: You will, Oscar, you will.
Oscar: Your Majesty, have you met James McNeill Whistler?
Prince: Yes, we’ve played squash together.
Oscar: There is only one thing worse than playing squash together, and that is playing it by yourself.
(silence) I wish I hadn’t said that.
Whistler: You did, Oscar, you did.
(a little laughter)
Prince: You really must forgive me, Wilde, I’ve got to get back up the Palace.
Oscar: Your Majesty is like a big jam doughnut with cream on the top.
Prince: I beg your pardon?
Oscar: Um … It was one of Whistler’s.
Whistler: I never said that.
Oscar: You did, James, you did.
The Prince of Wales stares expectantly at Whistler.
Whistler: … Well, Your Highness, what I meant was that, like a doughnut, um, your arrival gives us pleasure and your departure only makes us hungry for more.
(laughter) Your Highness, you are also like a stream of bat’s piss.
Whistler: It was one of Wilde’s. One of Wilde’s.
Oscar: It sodding was not! It was Shaw!
Shaw: I … I merely meant, Your Majesty, that you shine out like a shaft of gold when all around is dark.
Prince: (accepting the compliment) Oh.
Oscar: (to Whistler) Right. Right?
(to Prince) Your Majesty is like a dose of clap.
Whistler: Before you arrive — before you arrive is pleasure, and after is a pain in the dong.
Whistler: One of Shaw’s, one of Shaw’s.
Shaw: You bastards. Um … what I meant, Your Majesty, what I meant …
Oscar: We’ve got him, Jim.
Whistler: Come on, Shaw-y.
Oscar: Come on, Shaw-y.
Shaw: I merely meant …
Oscar: Come on, Shaw-y.
Whistler: Let’s have a bit of wit, then, man.
Oscar Come on, Shaw-y.
Shaw: (blows a raspberry)
The Prince shakes Shaw’s hand. Laughter all round.