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November 21, 2013 4:34 PM   Subscribe

We are Monty Python. Ask Us Anything.

Graham Chapman was evidently busy still being dead, although he is reported to be appearing in the upcoming reunion show. Topics include their favorite sketches, which is the worst to work with (Terry Gilliam prefers working with actors who are not Terry Gilliam) and said upcoming reunion in July.
posted by Sequence (52 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Okay this is hilarious.

I got a Python story related to German: I punctured my lung when I was young, got a staph infection, and was miserable in the hospital, doped up on morphine. I asked my parents to rent every Python video in the store. Big mistake.

While "The Funniest Joke in the World" skit was playing I started uncontrollably laughing/coughing up blood. Coughing up blood was a good thing, because all the stale blood in my lungs was a bacterial breeding ground. But, it's extremely painful to laugh if you recently had a collapsed lung . The remote control was on a table with wheels, and when I tried to spasmodically grab it to turn off the funniest joke skit, it rolled away.

Then the thought occurred to me that I would die laughing watching a skit about people dying from laughter, which made it funnier. I had to hit the emergency button to page the Nurse, and I did so repeatedly. When she came in she was extremely concerned. I was in tears, blood on my face, jerking spasmodically, and unable to talk or breathe. Eventually I was able to choke-out "Turn... it... off!!"

posted by Sebmojo at 4:39 PM on November 21, 2013 [131 favorites]


If any group is allowed a reunion bask in the limelight, it's these gents.
posted by planetesimal at 4:40 PM on November 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Larrity 1428 points 10 hours ago*

What is one thing none of you will ever do?

ericidle Eric Idle[S] 2858 points 9 hours ago

Live forever


Fuck that, not allowed.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:42 PM on November 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


A one hour TV special with all new material would be the proper way to reunite. I love Python but just the thought of live classic sketches interrupted every 30 seconds by whooping applause makes me cringe.
posted by davebush at 4:43 PM on November 21, 2013 [11 favorites]


Graham Chapman was evidently busy still being dead

Actually, he's pining for the fjords.
posted by dr_dank at 4:44 PM on November 21, 2013 [14 favorites]


Has John Cleese come to terms with the fact that Terry Jones is Welsh?

[–]TerryJoneshereTerry Jones 2068 points 9 hours ago

No.

[–]J0hnCleeseJohn Cleese 2956 points 8 hours ago

No. Terry has never been able to accept that God put the Welsh on the planet to carry out menial tasks for the english


Oh my God they are hysterical. Somehow, this is more momentous to me than the President's AMA.

I can see they are gamely putting up with the people quoting their own work back at them, even though the mods should really have put a stop to that (if in fact there are mods that work in this way at Reddit). I hope they get good royalty money, because it must be a special kind of awful to be unable to escape people who constantly quote Monty Python at you.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:46 PM on November 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


because it must be a special kind of awful to be unable to escape people who constantly quote Monty Python at you.t

The only way any potential hell could be worse is if the quoters were also screaming toddlers who were wearing too much cologne.
posted by elizardbits at 4:48 PM on November 21, 2013 [11 favorites]


To see only the questions that got answers without the hundreds of other comments, look at the tabled version of the AMA.
posted by ShooBoo at 4:49 PM on November 21, 2013 [10 favorites]


I love these guys. Really. I hope they come to New York, because I can't afford to go see them in London. :|
posted by droplet at 5:01 PM on November 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Today I saw a few moments of a press conference with the Pythons. The first question came from a journalist from a Spanish newspaper, and there was a moment's pause while they considered their answer. Then Michael Palin, with characteristically exquisite timing, shouted: "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

Made my morning.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:06 PM on November 21, 2013 [21 favorites]


Graham Chapman was evidently busy still being dead
Actually, he's pining for the fjords.


E's pushing up daisies.
posted by DigDoug at 5:11 PM on November 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


, because it must be a special kind of awful to be unable to escape people who constantly quote Monty Python at you.

to which I would add, I'm seriously hoping that the reunion won't be just a re-hash them doing the same to me. In other words, a greatest hits (the dead parrot, the cheese shop etc), because genius as that stuff is, I can't imagine it being anything but stillborn if delivered by a bunch of aging men. Though the Four Yorkshiremen might actually work (Cleese taking over Chapman's part?).

New material, please. All genuine laughs come from unexpected turns ... as that press conference illustrates.
posted by philip-random at 5:12 PM on November 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Everything I'm seeing so far suggests that this will be new material, they talk about who's doing the writing and about including Chapman and other things that would not make sense if they were just going to do some old sketches and call it a night.
posted by Sequence at 5:16 PM on November 21, 2013


Yeah, I'm really excited about this, even though I'm fairly sure it's going to be a spectacularly lame retread of their old stuff that we can all recite from memory. Still and all, they're all so smart and so funny that I just love seeing them all on stage together and knowing they're tolerating each other.
posted by nevercalm at 5:18 PM on November 21, 2013


I watched a bit of the press conference this morning.
At one point, they were talking about how old they all were and their combined ages being 350 years or something, and Eric Idle just quietly threw out this line, "Graham's the youngest" that I thought was so funny but nobody even seemed to notice.
posted by chococat at 5:22 PM on November 21, 2013 [22 favorites]


These guys killed it with lines shorter than your average tweet. Amazing.
posted by Queen of Robots at 5:25 PM on November 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, here's the press conference, now that I've found a good video.
posted by Sequence at 5:25 PM on November 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I would love to see this kind of rehash.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:29 PM on November 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Oh, here's the press conference, now that I've found a good video.

A bit of caution there, as the audio goes to hell about 5 minutes in when the track doubles and starts over on top.
posted by planetesimal at 5:41 PM on November 21, 2013


They did a reunion after Chapman died, and Cleese brought a jar which he claimed contained Chapman's ashes.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:53 PM on November 21, 2013


What's the best defense against rabid, obsessed fans?

Ferret obsessed fans.










WELL THAT'S JUST AWFUL.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:01 PM on November 21, 2013


They did a reunion after Chapman died, and Cleese brought a jar which he claimed contained Chapman's ashes.

Which they pretended to spill and then vacuum up again with a dustbuster.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:07 PM on November 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I might try to get tickets. If successful, then, uh, finding the 4k for the trip to use said tickets will be tricky. So is it a good chance it will sell out in the first .2 seconds? I want the choice made for me.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:11 PM on November 21, 2013


We are Monty Python. Ask Us Anything.

What is your favourite colour?

I'll get my coat.
posted by arcticseal at 6:18 PM on November 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


As said above, if there's a group I sincerely wish could sell out in a fantastic manner, it's this one. These tickets are going to be impossible to get.

I hate to use the old bit about the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, because hot damn, those are some serious parts. However, the whole was transcendent.
posted by Sphinx at 6:18 PM on November 21, 2013


only Monty Python could keep MeFi from bitching about a Reddit link.
posted by Dr. Twist at 6:19 PM on November 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


only Monty Python could keep MeFi from bitching about a Reddit link.

No they couldn't.
posted by azpenguin at 6:39 PM on November 21, 2013 [21 favorites]


Graham Chapman was evidently busy still being dead

Actually, he's pining for the fjords.

E's pushing up daisies.


Ehhhh, 'e was coughin'-up blood last night...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:40 PM on November 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's the tabled version if you just want see the questions the boys actually answered.
posted by Blue Meanie at 7:08 PM on November 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Most days I tend to walk past the Playhouse Theatre in London. Most days I'm lost in my thoughts about how the day had been, or how I'm not hungry now but I might be later and what's for supper, or goddamn that was a tasty cherry and almond pie I had for high-tea, or it's raining and cold and I'm miserable, but at least I have the crossword to look forward to and exchange pleasantries to the guys outside Embankment Tube handing out the papers in all kind of weathers, perhaps to wonder what extract from the Smiling Book Of Life some member of staff has left scrawled on the entrance to the District Line...

But some days I'll be thinking of nothing and the music of Spamalot piped from the theatre will entertain me for a moment while I walk, and the people in their suits and skirts holding their cases and umbrellas I walk past will look at me strangely because of the many things they're thinking of that prevent them from hearing Always look on the bright side of life, and they'll be wondering why I'm smiling at them.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 7:23 PM on November 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I remember playing the ex leper in the Life Of Brian and it's a really long take. We get to the very end and I nearly trod in some donkey shit. I saw it and did a little ballet.

I love finding out that some of my favorite movie moments were improvised.
posted by Jpfed at 8:26 PM on November 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Will be interested to see how this goes. So much of the post-Python work has been either totally, ridonkulously shit, or shamelessly cashing in on an increasingly weathered legacy (sometimes both!) Eric Idle is the most egregious offender, Palin the most consistently still reliable.
posted by smoke at 8:40 PM on November 21, 2013


It's kind of like they already broke all the barriers of achievement, and anything else they might do will just be gravy. Looking forward to the gravy.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:18 PM on November 21, 2013


What is your favourite of each other's individual work?

[–]_MichaelPalinMichael Palin 1872 points 17 hours ago

For Gilliam it would probably be Brazil, an extraordinary work.

John would have to be Faulty Towers, a work of genius.

Terry Jones. I liked him as toad in Wind And The Willow.

Eric in The Rutles.


THIS.
posted by chavenet at 1:13 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


AND THIS:

Are any of you Freemasons?

No, we're all very expensive masons.
posted by chavenet at 1:19 AM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is it daunting approaching a reunion of something that so many people treasure, with the worry you could screw up your legacy?

Eric Idle-I hope we will.


They seem undaunted by possible criticism.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 1:34 AM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


- Who do you all think had the best career after Monty Python broke up?
- Tony Blair.


Ha! It really is the Second Coming (well, the third if you count "(He's not) the Messiah"...)
posted by citizenk at 2:27 AM on November 22, 2013


the strap line on the 'Monty Python Live' poster which reads ''one down, five to go''

And Graham Chapman still giving us a laugh.
posted by three blind mice at 3:28 AM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


> "So much of the post-Python work has been either totally, ridonkulously shit, or shamelessly cashing in on an increasingly weathered legacy (sometimes both!)"

Well, obviously.

I mean, except for Gilliam, who is considered by many to be one of the greatest film directors of the era.

And Cleese, who went on to win three BAFTA awards for Fawlty Towers, which topped the British Film Institute's list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programs, and has had a significant film career ranging from A Fish Called Wanda to the James Bond films.

And Palin, who also was in films (including Brazil and A Fish Called Wanda), co-wrote Time Bandits, and on his own has made a more than a decade's worth of much admired travel and art history documentaries.

And Jones, who wrote and directed a film version of The Wind in the Willows, was one of the writers of Labyrinth, and has written heaps of fiction books, children's books, and nonfiction books.

But man, yeah, Idle, I totally hear you! Nothing but blatant rip-offs of his old Python stuff. Well, and the Rutles. And lots of writing, including books, plays, musicals, and songs. and various appearances on stage, in movies, on TV, and as a voice actor, including The Mikado, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Wind in the Willows, South Park, The Simpsons ...

Well. Maybe you meant Chapman. He doesn't appear to have done a lot after Yellowbeard. I wonder why that would be.
posted by kyrademon at 3:38 AM on November 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


Everyone has their opinions, obviously. Interesting how many of your examples occur more than twenty years ago.
posted by smoke at 3:49 AM on November 22, 2013


Addendum: I mean for me, "name the last good thing and last bad thing that person X from Monty python did " is a pretty depressing game at times. Especially with regard to Cleese. But then, if you think Eric idles books and latter creative efforts were pretty solid I think we're coming at things from pretty different places. Suffice to say, when members of python have looked at cashing in on the legacy, or focussing on commercial success, the results have not inspired me.
posted by smoke at 3:57 AM on November 22, 2013


I don't think it's bizarre that when attempting to describe activities taking place over a span of 40 years, perhaps half will come from more than 20 years ago.

Look, I think you're being extremely selective in what you're looking at. Even if you restrict it to the past two decades, stuff one Python or another has worked on includes 12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Tideland, The Wind in the Willows, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, a dozen or so of Palin's documentaries or documentary programs on travel, art, and history, plus associated books, a half-dozen or so of Jones' books and documentary programs about history, and whatever you happen to think of it, Spamalot.

And that's *if* you restrict it to the past two decades. If you allow the first twenty years after Monty Python ended to be "post-Python" (and I don't see why you wouldn't), the contention that most of their work after the show has been bad moves from just wrong to outright ridiculous.

What you originally said is very different from "I think John Cleese's recent film roles and Eric Idle's recent books have been disappointing."
posted by kyrademon at 4:26 AM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Don't forget that Cleese also delivered the funniest eulogy in the history of funerals.
posted by Zonker at 5:46 AM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


A Møøse once bit my sister...
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 6:50 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm seriously hoping that the reunion won't be just a re-hash them doing the same to me. In other words, a greatest hits (the dead parrot, the cheese shop etc), because genius as that stuff is, I can't imagine it being anything but stillborn if delivered by a bunch of aging men.

I get that. I think the problem is they did that stuff to death when it was closer to fresh. If I'm remembering their performance on SNL correctly, it was particularly stale. But, they had had to perform that everywhere they went for years. I'm sure they grew bored.

I, for one, would pay good money just to watch these guys eat lunch, so I'll be more than happy to watch them rehash their past glories. The thought of a 74 yr old curmudgeonly John Cleese returning a pet parrot, thrills me. It almost makes more sense than a thirty-something John Cleese doing the same.

And they're all intelligent men. They know what's expected of them. There's sure to be fresh material. Or at least fresh banter.

And you know they're going to rehash "Sit on My Face" and then walk away showing everyone their old man asses. We can't rob them of that joy.
posted by GrapeApiary at 7:22 AM on November 22, 2013


And you know they're going to rehash "Sit on My Face" and then walk away showing everyone their old man asses.

They performed it at George Harrison's memorial concert. (YouTube - warning: old man asses) I'm not sure how you top that.
posted by anastasiav at 7:29 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Speaking of George - you know the people we talked about upthread, the annoying fans who quote Monty Python lines to the Pythons and expect them to pick up their cue and go along with them?

George Harrison was one of those kinds of fans. In the DVD extras for the Concert for George, Michael Palin says that they all loved hanging out with George, but every so often George would drop a Python reference and expect them to pick it up and that actually got a little annoying. Michael also said that George would sometimes use the alias "Jack Lumber" when he was traveling.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:41 AM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


And on a more touching and serious note - the reason why George was such a Python fan was that apparently, the first episode of Monty Python aired the night that the Beatles had had a somewhat acrimonious recording session, and George was at home and depressed because he could kind of tell "well, shit, this looks like a Beatles breakup is inevitable" - and he was reminiscing and thinking about that wort of wacky spirit of fun and hijinks they'd used to have, and thinking it was lost.

And then he started watching that first Python episode, and started feeling like "oh, no, that old zany Beatles fun-loving spirit is driving Monty Python now." And he felt much better. He actually wrote a letter to the BBC that night urging them to keep the show on the air.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:45 AM on November 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


The only way that them redoing their skits would work is if the slipped all of the existing jokes into new ones. Perhaps if someone from the Ministry of Silly Walks just walked through the background... or if they were buying a different pet from a different salesperson and as they were about to pay for it the guy comes in complaining about his seemingly lifeless parrot.

They can't redo the jokes, but they can reference the shit out of them. But knowing that they really don't care what their fans think is funny, and more often than not come out better because of it... I doubt that any of my ideas will ever be done by them. And thankfully so, because they do their best when we don't have a clue what they're doing.
posted by Blue_Villain at 8:11 AM on November 22, 2013


Graham Chapman was evidently busy still being dead

Actually, he's pining for the fjords.

E's pushing up daisies.

Ehhhh, 'e was coughin'-up blood last night...


Graham gorrrn...
posted by Pouteria at 8:39 PM on November 22, 2013


Sorry to disappoint you - but If you read this guardian article by Terry Jones - He is very clear that it is going to be mostly reworked versions of old sketches not some innovative new python project.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 12:59 AM on November 23, 2013


It will be like Beatlemania, everyone screaming out the punchlines.

I'm thinking they just want to make great, brimming sacks full of money; I find it hard to begrudge them this wish.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:23 PM on November 25, 2013


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