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Four-Yorkshiremen-Sketch

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The “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch is a parody of nostalgic conversations about simple parentage or difficult childhoods. Four Yorkshiremen sit together and exchange childhood memories. As each tries to outdo the previous speaker in human misery (“You all lived in a room together? How lucky we would have been if we’d had a room at all!”), the stories escalate into the utterly absurd (“we had to work 29 hours a day – and pay the factory owner for it!”) and culminate in the punchline, “If you tell that to young people today – they won’t believe it”

The sketch was originally written for the 1967 British television series At Last the 1948 Show, with all four of the show’s writers and actors contributing to it: John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor, and Marty Feldman. The first performance of the sketch by the four creators is one of the few surviving sketches from the program and could last be seen on the At Last the 1948 Show DVD.

The “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch was performed by Monty Python during their live shows Live at Drury Lane (1974, no video recording available) and Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982), each performance differing slightly from the other in content. The sketch was also performed by three Pythons (John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones) and Rowan Atkinson for The Secret Policeman’s Ball, the 1979 Amnesty International benefit gala

In a deliberate tribute to its performance in the 1979 Amnesty show, the sketch was performed again for the 2001 Amnesty show We Know Where You Live, Live – for the occasion by Eddie Izzard , Harry Enfield, Alan Rickman and Vic Reeves.

Because of the many Python performances and the relative obscurity of At Last The 1948 Show, the “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch is often thought to be an original Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch.

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