“This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to the perch it would be pushing up the daisies!”
In this iconic sketch from the British comedy troupe Monty Python, a perturbed pet store customer complains that he was sold a dead parrot. The pet store owner insists that the bird is alive.
Today, Monty Python actor Terry Gilliam found himself in a similar real-life position as the pet store owner — only he wasn’t talking about a parrot.
Variety mistakenly published an obituary for the 74-year-old screenwriter and director, prompting a hilarious Facebook reply from Gilliam himself.
He wrote, “I APOLOGIZE FOR BEING DEAD especially to those who have already bought tickets to the upcoming talks, but, Variety has announced my demise. Don’t believe their retraction and apology!”
Though Gilliam is perhaps best known for his role in Monty Python, he went on to have a successful career in show business as an actor, writer, director and animator.
The opening line of Variety’s premature tribute began, “Director Terry Gilliam, the only American member of the Monty Python comedy troupe and an Oscar nominee for the screenplay to his film Brazil has died.”
Variety apologized a few hours later, but not before the Twittersphere took notice and jumped on the opportunity to bring old Monty Python jokes back to life, including many allusions to this scene in the 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”