This skit, called “Ovine Aviation” was part of the 2nd ever Monty Python episode called, “Sex and Violence.” I loved the sketch when I first saw it and when I was looking for a name for my blog, I realized that in a somewhat allegorical way, this skit — first aired on 12 October 1969 — perfectly anticipated the Internet. Here’s the dialogue:

(A small set of a gate in the country overlooking a field. A real rustic in smock and floppy hat is leaning on the gate. A city gent on holiday appears behind him. Off-screen baa-ing noises throughout.)

City Gent: (Played by Terry Jones) Good afternoon.

Rustic: (Played by Graham Chapman) Artenoon.

City Gent: Ah, lovely day isn’t it?

Rustic: Ar, ’tis that.

City Gent: Are you here on holiday or…?

Rustic: No no, I live here.

City Gent: Oh, jolly good too. (surveys field; he looks puzzled) I say, those are sheep, aren’t they?

Rustic: Ar.

City Gent: Yes, yes of course, I thought so… only… er why are they up in the trees?

Rustic: A fair question and one that in recent weeks has been much on my mind. It is my considered opinion that they’re nesting.

City Gent: Nesting?

Rustic: Ar.

City Gent: Like birds?

Rustic: Ar. Exactly! Birds is the key to the whole problem. It is my belief that these sheep are labouring under the misapprehension that they’re birds. Observe their behaviour. Take for a start the sheeps’ tendency to hop about the field on their back legs. (off-screen baa-ing) Now witness their attempts to fly from tree to tree. Notice they do not so much fly as plummet. (sound of sheep plummeting) Observe for example that ewe in that oak tree. She is clearly trying to teach her lamb to fly. (baaaaaa… thump) Talk about the blind leading the blind.

City Gent: But why do they think they’re birds?

Rustic: Another fair question. One thing is for sure; a sheep is not a creature of the air. It has enormous difficulty in the comparatively simple act of perching. (crash) As you see. As for flight, its body is totally unadapted to the problems of aviation. Trouble is, sheep are very dim. And once they get an idea into their heads there’s no shifting it.

City Gent: But where did they get the idea from?

Rustic: From Harold. He’s that sheep over there under the elm. He’s that most dangerous of animals a clever sheep. He’s the ring-leader. He has realized that a sheep’s life consists of standing around for a few months and then being eaten. And that’s a depressing prospect for an ambitious sheep. He’s patently hit on the idea of escape.

City Gent: But why don’t you just get rid of Harold?

Rustic: Because of the enormous commercial possibilities should he succeed.

A Clever Sheep on YouTube

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