The irreverent Monty Python comedy troupe present a series of skits which are often surreal, bawdy, uncompromising and/or tasteless, but nearly always hilarious. Written by
Murray Chapman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At least two sketches can trace their origins back to David Frost Presents: How to Irritate People (1969), a TV special that John Cleese starred in and wrote with Graham Chapman. The "Silly Job Interview" in which Cleese rings a bell and has people score Chapman's reaction, came directly from the special. The "Parrot Sketch" was adapted largely from a sketch about a car salesman who flatly refused to admit that there was anything wrong with a car that was literally falling apart on stage. See more »
Six blokes getting paid for being silly (oh yes, and changing comedy forever)
With hindsight, it seems possible that we can praise the Pythons too much. But you have to look at what they did in the context of its time.
They blew a massive hole in the conventions of not only television comedy, but television itself. They used (and abused) the medium to what was then the limit of its potential: no thirty-second "blackout" skits, no contrived punchlines (except in the name of self-mocking irony), performers falling out of character and addressing the audience, skits being intruded by characters from a previous sketch, or even an entirely different episode (so you had to pay attention!), stream-of-consciousness animated links, absurd props (the 16 ton weight)... and they claim they merely threw it all together when the BBC approached them to make a "satirical sketch show" in the vein of "The Frost Report" or "TW3".
Not only that, but they have influenced probably every comedy writer and performer of note ever since.
The Pythons are either authentic, top-drawer geniuses, or the six luckiest opportunists who ever lived - probably a bit of both! They caught the BBC with its knickers down and took advantage.
OK, so the shows look their age, and much of the material is rambling, patchy, hit-and-miss stuff. But we only remember the good bits, and it is those good bits which will ensure the place in television history of Messrs Chapman, Cleese, Gilliam, Idle, Palin and Jones for many years to come.
Lavishing praise on a thirty-two-year-old television series? It all seems a bit silly to me...
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