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Monty Python Live 2014

Updated on July 11, 2014
Monty Python Live, Mostly
Monty Python Live, Mostly

Monty Python - Dead Parrot

Monty Python - Ministry of Silly Walks

Monty Python - Lumberjack Song

Monty Python - The Fish Slapping Dance

Monty Python Live, Mostly

Thirty years on from when the members of Monty Pythons Flying Circus last performed together, the Pythons announced that they will be performing together again, live at the O2 arena in London in July 2014. The Monty Python Live (Mostly), One Down, Five to Go show was originally planned as a one off reunion show for the Pythons, but has now been extended to ten shows between 1st and 20th July 2014.

The surviving Pythons, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones announced that tickets for the Python reunion would be going on sale, at a press conference they held on the stage of the Monty Python-inspired musical Spamalot at the Playhouse Theatre in London, where the team said that they were doing the Python reunion shows to see if they ‘were still funny’.

The Show will be directed by Eric Idle and is expected to include some of the old, much loved material like The Dead Parrot sketch, the Lumberjack Song and Ministry of Silly Walks but the Pythons have also promised that there will be some new material as well. Eric Idle said at the press conference that Python fans can expect "comedy, pathos, music and a tiny piece of ancient sex".

When it was first broadcast, Monty Pythons Flying Circus was an odd mix of the downright bizarre and comic genius and when you watched it you could go from rolling on the floor with laughter one minute to scratching your head in bemusement the next and some of the sketches were just plain silly. But, then that’s what Python is about, it’s silly, so don’t buy Monty Python Live tickets if you like your humour deep and subtle. Do buy Python tickets, however, if you still giggle when you think of two grown men wearing pith helmets doing a ‘Fish Dance’.

The Pythons are now all in their seventies, so this could well be the very last time that we will get to see any kind of new Monty Python production, and reports seem to differ if the ten live shows in July that have been announced will or will not be all that they do. Whatever happens, the pythons are going to have a lot to live up to. The show achieved cult status amongst its fans and many of the people attending the live Monty Python shows will know the words to the sketches by heart, so the Pythons had better make sure they learn their lines.

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Monty Pythons Flying Circus
Monty Pythons Flying Circus

Who was Monty Python?

If you've ever wondered who Monty actually was then you can stop wondering, he never existed. The name is entirely random and the Pythons went through a whole load of names before settling on Monty Pythons Flying Circus. The Flying Circus came from the shows original working title, Baron Von Took's Flying Circus. The Monty is said to come from a guy that Eric Idle knew in a pub, and the Python was thought up by John Cleese. In other words, all pretty random!

And now for something completely different

Monty Pythons Flying Circus was first aired on the BBC on 5th October 1969 and, in all, 45 episodes were made, over four series, from 1969 to 1974 and, in its time, the show pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable and in good taste. The show was conceived, written and performed by the Pythons Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. They had complete control over what went into the show so they were able to experiment with their comedy and they pretty much threw the comedy rule book out the window.

The Python circus developed into far more than just a slightly obscure cult comedy sketch show tucked away on BBC2, the team went on to produce records, several films, touring stage shows and books. In fact, so great was the impact of the Pythons on comedy that they even spawned their own word, Pythonesque, to describe their manic style of comedy. So great was Monty Pythons influence on comedy it has been described as being comparable to the influence that the Beatles had on music.

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The Missing Python

Alas, all the Pythons will not be appearing on the O2 live shows. Graham Chapman died of cancer in 1989.
Alas, all the Pythons will not be appearing on the O2 live shows. Graham Chapman died of cancer in 1989.

Ten completely different facts about Monty Python

1. Spam emails are so called after the Monty Python classic Spam sketch. Spam, spam, spam!

2. The fossil of a prehistoric snake, which was discovered in Australia in 1985 was named ‘Montypythonoides riversleighensis’ in honour of Monty Pythons Flying Circus.

3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail was filmed on such a tight budget that the castle in the film was made of plywood and kept falling over in the wind.

4. Tickets for the first Monty Python live show at the O2 sold out in just 43 seconds.

5. Funding for the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail was raised from rock bands including Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd who were looking for a tax loss to sink their money into.

6. The pythons chose their theme tune, simply because that recording was available for no fee. It is The Liberty Bell by John Philip Sousa.

7. In the opening credits of the Monty Pythons Circus TV shows, the foot that comes down is that of cupid and it’s taken from a Renaissance masterpiece by Bronzino.

8. Terry Gilliam’s animated God, in the series, is a picture of the cricketer WG Grace.

9. The musical Spamalot was written by Eric Idle and is based on the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The show made more than $175 million in its first run on Broadway.

10. Monty Pythons Life of Bryan caused its fair share of controversy when it was released and the film was banned for blasphemy by several local councils in England in 1979.

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The Monty Python Films

Title
Year
And Now for Something Completely Different
1971
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
1975
Monty Python's Life of Brian
1979
Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl
1982
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
1983

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Spam, Spam and more Spam
Spam, Spam and more Spam

Monty Python is like Marmite (Or Spam)

Just like Marmite, you either love or you hate Monty Python. Some of the sketches from the Python shows are undoubtedly classics and their style has influenced many comedians who have come along since. My own recollections of watching the shows as they were broadcast was, to be honest, one of ‘I should be watching this because it’s cutting edge, but I don’t really get it’. In the TV shows though, they were experimenting and, when you experiment, not everything works. However, when it did work, it worked really well and that is where the classic sketches come from.

Some people may raise the Blasphemy aspect of The Life of Brian again and, although it did cause controversy at the time, that was only a very small part of the total output of the Monty Python Team. Personally, as a Christian myself, I don’t think that the Life of Bryan is offensive at all. Near to mark, maybe, but then that’s what good comedy should be.

The live Monty Python shows give the Pythons a chance to distill all the brilliant parts from the rest and maybe even give an updated take on some of them. That, along with the promise of some new material, will undoubtedly make it a show to remember as well as being a nostalgic trip down memory lane. More poignantly, as all the Python team members are now in their seventies, this will quite likely be the last chance ever to see Monty Pythons Flying Circus Live, mostly.

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