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it's all over with

"It's" man

The "It's" man is a fictional character portrayed by Michael Palin in the comedy television series Monty Python's Flying Circus. He appeared at the start of several episodes and introduced the show by approaching the camera from a great distance, collapsing, and gasping "It's—". This is immediately followed by the announcer crisply stating, "Monty Python's Flying Circus." This was a running gag on the show; the joke was that the man never got to say anything other than "It's". The "It's" man seemed to be aware of his predicament and was usually raggedly-dressed, morose, and put-upon.

History

The "It's" man appeared on the first episode by staggering onto a beach. According to Palin, while rehearsing the gag, he nearly drowned when the tide came in. Palin recreated this moment himself on the 30th Anniversary show in 1999.

In the first series, the "It's" man has lengthy appearances where he appears from a dangerous situation such as wading out of the sea, falling from a cliff, being run down by a car, being handed a bomb, or emerging from a jungle. He also reappeared at the end of every show, returning to where he had come from while the ending credits rolled over. In the first episode, for example, he returned to the sea. Later, the credits rolled over black screen or on a scene somehow connected to the last sketch in the episode.

Later in the first series, his appearances became shorter and were often sped up. In the second series, he simply appeared for a few seconds after John Cleese's announcer says "And now for something completely different". He appeared on screen just long enough to say "It's" before being cut off by the opening credits.

In Episode 28, the "It's" man was given his own chat show featuring Ringo Starr and Lulu as his guests. This is also one of the few instances when he says any other words; after the opening theme music, he says "Hello, good evening...welcome." The show is however cut short immediately after he says "It's" and the theme music begins to play again over the credits. When Starr and Lulu get up angrily, Palin attempts to seat them. He tries to physically force Starr into a chair, almost tackling him. Palin gives up and the screen blacks out.

Other instances of polysyllabic utterances include a "Lemon Curry" cutaway in the third season and a vox pop in the second, where he made the following joke: "I would tax Raquel Welch... And I have a feeling she would tax me."

References

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