Chicken

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Stephen and Deborah are having dinner in a restaurant.

Stephen He gets all misty-eyed and he puffs himself up and says - "I do it for country" ... and he stabs himself in the head with a pair of scissors. So the Irishman says ... Hugh enters as a waiter, pushing a trolley.

Hugh Are you ready for your main courses now?

Stephen Yes I think so.

Woman Yes please.

Hugh Excellent.

Stephen Can I ask you something?

Hugh Certainly.

Stephen How do you do it?

Hugh Do what, sir?

Stephen How can you hear from the other side of the restaurant the exact moment I get to the punchline of a joke? You've done it four times since we arrived.

Hugh Good question, sir. There's actually a tiny microphone hidden underneath the ashtray.

Stephen Oh I see.

Hugh And we have a receiver in the kitchen, so you know ... It's very simple really.

Stephen Right. I just wondered.

Hugh The lamb?

Woman Yes please.

Hugh Very good madam. Hugh puts a plate of lamb in front of her.

Woman Thank you.

Stephen Where was I? The Englishman ... er ... oh hell ...

Hugh (While giving her vegetables) The Englishman said "I do it for the Queen" and jumped out of the window ...

Stephen That's right, yes. Then the Scotsman said "I do it for my country" and er -

Hugh Stabbed himself in the head with the pair of ...

Stephen ... scissors, that's right. So the Irishman said ...

Hugh And you're having the chicken, sir?

Stephen Tsscch. What?

Hugh Chicken Lacroix. Prepared at your table.

Stephen Yes, thanks very much. The Irishman ... Hugh removes the lid of some hugh graillon, to reveal a live chicken, preferably clucking.

Woman Oh my God!

Stephen What!?

Hugh Chicken Lacroix. Hugh starts to sharpen a knife.

Stephen What are you doing?

Hugh What am I doing?

Stephen Yes.

Hugh Sir, I have to make sure the knife is properly sharp.

Stephen I mean this chicken ... it's alive!

Hugh Ha. Not for much longer, sir.

Woman I think I'm going to be sick.

Hugh Oh. Something wrong with the lamb, madam?

Stephen You're not going to kill a chicken in here?

Hugh Certainly. This, sir, is Chicken Lacroix. As you ordered. "Fresh, plump, baby chicken, prepared at your table." Hugh lifts the knife.

Stephen Wait! Don't ... don't kill it!

Hugh Don't kill it?

Stephen No!

Hugh You'd rather eat it while it's alive?

Stephen No.

Hugh Well then ...

Stephen Stop it! I'm telling you - don't kill that chicken.

Hugh Is there a problem, sir?

Stephen Yes there is. You cannot kill that chicken.

Hugh Why not, sir?

Stephen Well ... you know.

Hugh No.

Stephen All the letters we'll get. It's not worth it.

Hugh Letters?

Stephen Yes.

Hugh Who from?

Stephen Oh I don't know. Mad people.

Hugh What mad people?

Stephen Mad people. "Why oh why oh why oh why was my six-year-old grandmother forced to watch a chicken being hacked to death in the name of so-called entertainment?" That kind of thing.

Hugh Well it's no worse than being hacked to death in the name of so-called lunch.

Stephen Well I know that.

Woman It is, actually.

Hugh I beg your pardon?

Woman I think it is worse.

Hugh Oh do you?

Woman Yes.

Hugh Really?

Stephen Yes well that's fair enough.

Hugh Is it? Well let's ask the chicken, shall we? Would you rather die as part of a sketch on national television, or would you prefer just to go straight into a Tesco sandwich, unmourned and unnoticed?

Woman That's just how I feel. I'm sorry.

Hugh What's the matter with you? It's had a great time. We showed it the "Blue Peter" studio, didn't we?

Stephen Actually, I'd be happier if you didn't kill it.

Hugh What?

Stephen I'd be happier if you didn't kill the chicken.

Hugh Happier? What's happiness got to do with it?

Stephen To be honest, I never really liked the idea.

Hugh "Never really liked"?

Woman I'm not crazy about it either.

Hugh Oh well obviously if everyone's just going to go squeamish at the last minute, we'll have to call it off.

Stephen I think so.

Hugh Right.

Stephen On second thoughts, I'll just have a green salad.

Hugh A green salad?

Stephen Please.

Hugh Very good, sir. Hugh takes the chicken trolley and exits.

Stephen I think that was the right decision.

Woman So do I.

Stephen Anyway, so the Irishman says ... Stephen is interrupted by violent terrifying screams. Now what are you doing? Hugh enters with a plate of salad.

Hugh Never heard a lettuce scream before? Frightening isn't it?

Stephen What?

Hugh You never knew, did you? You thought lettuces just came in little sterilised polythene bags, and grew on supermarket shelves. Never occurred to you that a lettuce might have feelings, hopes, dreams, a family ...

Stephen Bugger the lettuce! Will you let me finish my joke!?

Hugh Oh I'm sorry.

Stephen The Irishman says ... Cut to whatever.

Vox Pop

Stephen I like the way it starts.

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