THE MERCHANT BANKER or The Charity Sketch

Monty Python:

The scene: a somewhat simple-minded, but well-meaning collector for a charitable society (Cockney accent, or similar) enters the office of a rather condescending merchant banker (posh voice). Collector: C, Banker: B.  [[The sketch has been very slightly rewritten so as fit the CHRI$TMA$ spirit; these alterations have been put in double brackets.]]                                                   

B: Come in! (Mr Ford enters, he is collecting for charity with a tin.) Ah, Mr. Ford, isn't it? [[Ah, Mr. Cratchit, I believe.]]

C: That's right.

B: How do you do? I'm a merchant banker.

C: How do you do, Mr. ...  ?

B: Er … I forget my name for the moment, but I am a merchant banker ...

C: Oh, I wondered whether you would like to contribute to the “Orphan's Home”? (he rattles the tin)

B: Well, I don't want to show my hand too early, but actually here at Slater Nazi (!) [[Scrooge and Marlowe Money-Grabbers Ltd.]] we
      are quite keen to get into orphans, you know, developing market and all that ...   what sort of sum did you have in mind?

C: Well … er … you’re a rich man ...

B: Yes, I am. Yes, yes. Very, very rich. Quite phenomenally wealthy, yes. I do own the  most startling  quantities of cash. Yes, quite right. [[
      I'm one of the filthy rich,  I'm glad to say.
]] You are rather a smart young lad, aren't you? We could do with somebody like you to feed
       the pantomime horse.
[[ We could do with somebody like you to decorate our Christmas tree.]] Very smart!

C: Thank you, sir.

B: Now, you see I'm very, very, very, very, very etc. rich …

C: So … er …how about a pound?

B: A pound, yes I see. Now,  this loan would be secured by the …

C: It's not a loan.

B: What?

C: It's not a loan.

B: What?

C: You get one of these, sir. (hands him a little sticker or badge)

B: (examines it doubtfully)  It's a bit small for a share certificate, isn't it? I'd better run this over to our legal department. If you could
      possibly pop back on Friday?
[[I think I better had the chaps in the legal department  take a look at this. What with CHRI$TMA$
      and the season of good will - hahaha - ,we are very busy here at Scrooge and Marlowe Money Grabbers Ltd. Believe me,
      money-grabbing and ripping people off round the clock is a full-time job. So, couldn’t you pop back some time next year?

C: (pleading) But couldn't you just give me the pound?

B: Yes, but you see I don't know what it is for?

C: It's for the orphans.

B: Yes? (waiting for a better answer)

C: It's a gift.

B: A what? (completely puzzled)

C: A gift. (shakes his collecting tin to drive home the point)

B: Oh, a gift! (his face brightens) A tax dodge!

C: No, no, no, no!

B:  No? Well, I'm awfully sorry. I don't understand. Can you just explain exactly what you want?

C: I want you to give me a pound. And then I'll go away and give it to the orphans.

B: Yes? (waiting, as above, absolutely baffled)

C: Well, that's it.

B: (shaking his head in utter disbelief) No, no, I don't  follow this at all, I mean, I don't want to seem stupid,  but it looks to me as if I was
      a pound down on the whole deal.

C: Well, yes you are!

B: I am? But what is my incentive to give you the pound?

C: Well,  the incentive is to make the orphans happy.

B: (genuinely puzzled) Happy? Are you quite sure you've got this right?

C: Yes, lots of people give me money.

B: What, just like that?

C: Yes!

B: They must be sick! I don't suppose you could give me a list with their names and addresses, could you?

C: No, I just go up to them in the street and ask.

B: Good lord, that's the most exciting new idea I've heard in years! It's so simple it's brilliant! Well, if that idea of yours isn't worth a pound, I
      would like to know what is. (grabs the collecting tin)  
[[The ending of the  CHRI$TMA$ version follows below!]]*)

C: Thank you, sir.

B: The only trouble is, you gave me the idea before I'd given you the pound and that's not good business.

C: Isn't it?

B: No, I'm afraid it isn't. So off you go! (he pulls a lever opening a trap door under C’s feet and C falls through with a yelp)

*) [[ And now for W.E.P.’s- slightly more conciliatory CHRI$TMA$ ending :

B: Good lord, that's the most exciting new idea I've heard in years! It's so simple it's brilliant! Well, if that  idea of yours isn't worth a pound, I
      would like to know what is.
(gives him a pound)

C: Thank you, sir, and a merry Christmas to you!

B: It may be merry for you, but I have to think up a new charity advertising campaign. So if you would kindly excuse me. Time is money. Money grabbing is hard work. So, good-bye!]]


condescending: herablassend; posh: vornehm, (piek)fein; merchant bank: Handelsbank (ohne “normalen” Publikumsverkehr, gilt als besonders exklusiv); orphan: Waise(nkind); to show one's hand (IDIOM): seine Karten aufdecken; to get into (a market): (in einen Markt) einsteigen; startling: überraschend, erstaunlich; to pat: tätscheln; loan: Darlehen; badge: Abzeichen, Plakette; share: Aktie; share certificate: Aktienzertifikat; to pop back (informal): (wieder/noch einmal) vorbeikommen, -schauen; what with ... (informal): [etwa] “bei all’ der Hektik, die mit dem Weihnachtsgeschäft verbunden ist ...“; to rip off (informal): schröpfen, ausnehmen; [noun: the rip-off: Wucher, Schwindel, Nepp] pleading: flehentlich; collecting tin: Sammelbüchse; to drive home (sth./a point): etw. klarmachen, unterstreichen; tax dodge: etw., womit man sich am Finanzamt vorbeimogelt, um Steuern zu sparen [to dodge: ausweichen]; to be a pound down on the deal: bei dem Geschäft ein Pfund Verlust machen; incentive: An­sporn, Anreiz; trap door: Falltüre; conciliatory: versöhnlich;

back to "CHRI$TMA$"        for another version of this sketch see RAZZAMATAZZ, #8