The Last Supper

Michaelangelo (played by Eric Idle) has been granted an audience to see the Pope (played by John Cleese). A papal assistant (played by Graham Chapman) announces him.

A: Michaelangelo to see you, Your Holiness.
P: Who?
A: Michaelangelo, the famous Renaissance artist whose best known works include the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel and the celebrated statue of David.
P: Very well.
A: In 1514, he returned to Florence...
P: Alright, that's enough, that's enough, they've got it now.
A: Oh. [leaves]
M: Good evening, Your 'Oliness.
P: Evening, Michaelangelo. I want to have a word with you about this painting of yours, The Last Supper.
M: Oh, yeah?
P: I'm not happy about it.
M: Oh, dear. It took me hours.
P: I'm not happy at all.
M: Is it the Jello you don't like?
P: No.
M: Oh, no, they do add a bit of color, don't they? Oh, I know, you don't like the kangaroo.
P: [Caught by surprise] What kangaroo?
M: No problem. I'll paint him out.
P: I never saw a kangaroo.
M: Uh, he's right at the back. I'll paint him out, no sweat -- I'll make him into a disciple.
P: Ah.
M: Alright?
P: That's the problem.
M: What is?
P: The disciples.
M: [thinks] Are they too Jewish? I made Judas the most Jewish.
P: No, it's just that there are twenty-eight of them.
M: Oh, well, another one will never matter -- I'll make the kangaroo into another one.
P: No, that's not the point.
M: Alright, we'll lose the kangaroo. Be honest, I was never perfectly 'appy with it.
P: That's not the point. There are twenty-eight disciples.
M: [Pauses, then catches what is being inferred] Too many?
P: Well of course it's too many!
M: Yeah, I know that, but I wanted to give the impression of a real last supper, you know, not just any ol' last supper. Not like a last meal or a final snack. But, you know, [motions with arms] I wanted to give the impression of a real mother of a blow out, you know.
P: There were only twelve disciples at the last supper.
M: Well, maybe some of the other ones came along afterwards.
P: There were only twelve altogether.
M: Well, maybe some of their friends came by, you know.
P: Look, there were just twelve disciples and our Lord at the last supper. The Bible clearly says so.
M: No friends?
P: No friends.
M: Waiters?
P: No.
M: Cabaret?
P: No!
M: See, I like them, they help flesh out the scene. I could lose a few...
M: I've got it. I've got it. We'll call it The Last-But-One Supper.
P: What?
M: Well, there must have been one. If there was a last one, there must have been a one before that. So this is [makes frame in air with brush in hand] The Penultimate Supper. The Bible doesn't say how many people were there, now, does it?
P: Well, no, but...
M: Well, there you are.
P: Well, look. The last supper was a significant event in the life of our Lord. The penultimate supper was not. Even if they had a conjurer and a mariarchi band. A last supper I commissioned from you and a last supper I want, with twelve disciples and one Christ.
M: [Goes from grudged to horrified] One?!
P: Yes, one! Now will you please tell me what in God's name possessed you to paint it with *three* Christs in it?
M: It works, mate.
P: Works?!
M: Yeah! It looks great! [Drawing it in air] The fat one balances the two skinny ones.
P: There was only one Redeemer!
M: I know that, we all know that. What about a bit of artistic license?
P: Well, one messiah is what I want.
M: I'll tell you what you want, mate. You want a bloody photographer, that's what you want. Not a bloody creative artist who...
P: [hopping down from his throne] I'll tell you what I want! I want a last supper with one Christ, twelve disciples, no kangaroos, no trampoline acts, by Thursday lunch or you don't get paid!!
M: Bloody fascist!
[runs away]

P: Look, I'm the bloody Pope, I am!
[Looks to audience.]
I may not know much about art, but I know what I like!

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