Saturday Night Live Transcripts
Season 4: Episode 18
Michael Palin’s Monologue
Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen — Michael Palin!
Michael Palin: Thank you. Wonderful to see you. Thank you. It’s great to be back — it really is. Well… tomorrow, as you know, is, uh — is Mother’s Day. and I know it would make my own mother very happy if I, uh, could just mention her a little in the opening monologue. I hope you won’t mind. It’s just a little disseration about my mother.
She gave birth to me in, uh, May 1943. Right in the middle of the Second World War. Times were hard that year. No one in England really knew which way it was gonna go at the time. Which is why she christianed me Michael Gunther Palin. [ the audience laughs, as Palin feels bad for himself ] Uh, I don’t use the “Michael”.
Like all English children, I was sent out to the gold mine at the age of three. My mum would come to pick me up at the mine shaft at five o’clock. She always said the same thing, bless her: “Look at you, you’re FILTHY!!” Then smack me on the back of the head with her rationed goods. Then she’d change my diaper and disconnect the little miner’s lamp I have on me… and say, “How much coal did you get up today, then, darling?” Well, you know — when you’re three, you really don’t get much coal up. You know, they send you in there with a little plastic spoon and a pusher, and you get away and the little plastic pusher snaps in the middle. Really, the best you can do is about a half-a-hundred weight a day.
Well, I was lucky, because… I met someone down the mines who was really to change my whole life. Uh, he was a bigger baby than me. Yuo know, realy big — he had all his teeth… And he didn’t wet his diaper — he had someone do it for him. One day, when he and I were working on the night shift, this big baby — Vince was his name — he came up to me and he said, “We hafta get organized! We babies have been exploited for too long! Did you know they were using some of the taller babies for tunnel supports?” So, uh — so we founded BAMBI: The British Association of mine-Working Babies. Inc. And, uh, we fought for steel pushers and blast-proof pacifiers, that sort of thing. So those were the good days.
Then my mother was, uh — she started writing a book about deprived children. So I was sent away from home to give her more time to write. I was sent a school — miles away from anywhere — called the Purgatory Academy for the Sons of the Abominably Cruel. The idea was, of course, to, uh, you know, make a man out of me. I was one of the lucky ones — it just about killed Sharon and Margaret.
Well, I studied hard — my main subject was carpentry. In fact, that was one of the only three subjects that they taught at Purgatory Academy. The other two were bricklaying and plumbing. The Headmaster promised that when we finished building the school, he’d teach us gardening and maintenance, and a few other things.
But my mother still — she still used to write to me every day. Sometimes she wanted five pounds, sometimes she wanted fifteen pounds. Eventually, it became really embarassing. HUGE amounts: two-thousand, three-thousand pounds. Blackmail notes, too. “I’m your mother! Doesn’t that mean anything to you?!” Anyway, that’s why I have to keep doing this sort of job. She costs me a fortune.
But don’t worry — I have smeone here who’s never met my mother before. Ladies and gentlemen… a big hand… for James Taylor!