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"Self-Defence Against Fresh Fruit" is a Monty Python sketch that appeared in the episode Owl Stretching Time. It is about an RSM-type instructor who is teaching a class about self-defence, but all he teaches is how to defend oneself against an assailant "armed" with a piece of fresh fruit.

The first half or so of the sketch was remade for the Pythons' first feature film, And Now for Something Completely Different.


The teacher (John Cleese) is about to start off his class, but he notices that everyone, save for four students, is absent. He starts off the class by carrying on from where they got to last week, when he was showing them how to defend themselves against anyone who attacks with a piece of fresh fruit. The class complains that for the last nine weeks, all he's been teaching them is fruit. One student (Eric Idle) keeps on insisting that they should be taught how to defend themselves against anyone who attacks with a pointed stick. The teacher berates the student for thinking that pointed sticks are more dangerous than fresh fruit, saying "Ooh, ooh, ooh; want to learn how to defend yourself against pointed sticks, do we? Getting all high and mighty, eh? Fresh fruit not good enough for you, eh? Well let me tell you something lad! When you're walking home tonight and some great homicidal maniac comes after YOU with a bunch of loganberries, don't come cryin' to me!"

He starts off the class with passionfruit, but the whole class complains that they've done passionfruit, as well as oranges, apples, grapefruit (whole and segmented), pomegranates, greengages, grapes, lemons, plums, mangoes in syrup, and cherries (red and black). The teacher decides to teach them about bananas. He tells them, to defend themselves against a man armed with a banana, first, he has to be forced to drop the banana, then the banana has to be eaten, thus disarming him and rendering him helpless. When another student (Michael Palin) asks about a man armed with a bunch of bananas, the teacher tells him to shut up. Idle again chimes in to ask about a man with a pointed stick, to which the teacher also tells him to shut up. He demonstrates by asking a student called Mr. Harrison (Graham Chapman, whom the teacher calls Mr. Apricot), to attack him with a banana, but just as Harrison is about to attack him, the teacher shoots him dead, and eats the banana. (The movie version ends here.)

Next, he asks a student named Thompson (Terry Jones, whom the teacher calls Mr. Tinned Peach), to attack him with a raspberry, but Thompson refuses, saying that the teacher will shoot him. The teacher says that he won't and throws away the gun, and Thompson is about to attack him, when a 16-ton weight comes down on him. The teacher then asks the remaining students to do the same, but they refuse until he promises not to kill them. As the students advance with baskets of raspberries, the teacher releases a tiger which attacks the remaining students. The teacher warns imaginary other students that he's wired himself up to 200 tons (203 t) of gelignite, and blows himself up.

Sixteen Ton Weight

This sketch was the first appearance of Monty Python's sixteen ton weight. In the typical style of a comedy or cartoon weight, it was coloured black, in shape of a right square frustum, and had its mass "16 TONS" painted on the side in large white letters. Monty Python's sixteen ton weight was hollow and approximately 1.5m high, allowing it to readily conceal the character upon whom it was dropped. The sixteen ton weight was used periodically thereafter to bring an abrupt ending to sketches (in much the same way as the knight with a raw chicken would do during the first series).

In popular culture

This sketch was referenced briefly in Lemony Snicket's The Slippery Slope, in which three characters are searching for something important in a refrigerator, and Snicket says that a fridge would hold a bunch of strawberries, which would be important if a man said "If you don't give me a bunch of strawberries right now, I'm going to attack you with this large pointed stick."



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