Happy Birthday Monty Python

The Arts

I grew up with the Pythons on TV and eventually worked with most of them on their different film projects (you can see a sketch John Cleese and I wrote on the ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ DVD extras), but I haven’t watched the shows in years. Recently the 40th anniversary celebrations drew me back, and have reminded me of their marvellous comic timing. There’s no reason on earth why anyone should really find the Gumbys funny, but you end up laughing in the same way that you laugh in ‘Father Ted’ when Dougal says ‘The ants are back’. Happy birthday guys.

Spike Milligan never managed to occupy the same place as the Pythons when he went solo – his wonderful ‘Q’ shows reflect the political incorrectness of the times, but were never meant to be anything but slapstick and surreal. The sketches were ramshackle and usually in danger of collapsing the entire set, never more so than here.

2 comments on “Happy Birthday Monty Python”

  1. I.A.M. says:

    After a period of years muttering ‘my brain hurts’, one forgets the genius of the surrounding scene where the line was originally placed. This proves how seditious their irreverent comedy was. It’s Python’s greatest lesson: you cannot be afraid of something you can make fun of. Ergo, mock the situation which leaves you powerless.

    To which Milligan would likely add ‘or exterminate it’, probably.

    Spike appears in The Life of Brian at the end of the stoning scene early on in the film. Only a walk-on, but the familial comedy lineage is acknowledged.

  2. David Read says:

    They also, in strong contrast to todays shows (Little Britain, Catherine Tate etc.) made every episode different, as opposed to the same characters doing slightly different things….

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