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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The Beatles of British Comedy: My Top five Monty Python Moments

When I fall in love, I’m all in. That is exactly what I've done with this group of six legends. The term legends and the meaning of the word seems inadequate when I’m describing Monty Python.

I have only been a fan for two months. I'm 26 years old for crying out loud. Yet for the past two months I have been constantly thinking about their films, judging those films, comparing them to other comedy films and other genres films. Most of them (I'm looking at you Holy Grail) are exceptional. I have become obsessed. I've tried to watch as much Monty Python videos as I can on Youtube, but it is not enough to quench my thirst.

I'm trying to work out why I've been so floored. I think it has something to do with me not expecting to be so won over. So completely and utterly won over. Prior to two months ago, I had heard of the Python - Terry Gilliam is one of my favourite directors (Brazil and 12 Monkeys), I grew up on Fawlty Towers, I thought Palin was a fucking travel show presenter and had heard 'Look on the Bright Side of Life' at a number of variety shows. Monty Python were present in my life but never as a unit. 

As a unit, as a collective, Monty Python are nothing short of Beatle-esc. Genre defining artists. Originators. Masters of the complicated silly sketch.

And I haven't even seen their TV show.


I have felt compelled to do a Python week. They deserve it. So to kick things off here are my 5 favourite Monty Python moments. Just to be clear, this was extremely hard to do. This was not easy. I have left out the Black Knight bit from Holy Grail, 'How not to be seen' sketch and the Child Birth scene. 

This was not easy.

5 - Blasphemy

Growing up in a religious household, this moment from 'Life of Brian' spoke to me. It perfectly encapsulates how ultimately silly religion is. A man has been sentenced to death by stoning for saying 'Jehovah' and the stoning is mostly witnessed by a group of women posing as men in beards. 

It is so simple but I can't think of how I would ever think of something similar. I think this ability to think of simple silly situations is why Python rise above the rest. 

4 - Growth and Learning

An otherwise strict disciplinarian school master (Cleese) teachers sex education to a class in an all boys school. 

This sketch, again, shows the genius of Monty Python - they took this sketch a step further than I thought they would. If I am honest, this part of 'The Meaning of Life' started off feeling boring (the school is in an assembly with the school master and Palin's priest) but what I didn't understand until the end of this section was that they were setting you up.

3 - Dead Parrot and Lumberjack

It was really hard not to put this sketch at number one. It's bloody genius in every single way. Again, it is... yes, simple. But there is an eloquent beauty to this sketch and all credit has to go to Cleese. 

Funnily enough, soon after seeing this sketch I saw a dead bird in my in-laws garden and I couldn't help but quote this sketch. 

Youtube tells me that there is more than one version of this sketch and even after reviewing the alternatives I still prefer the one on 'completely different'. This is down to Palin's Lumberjack bit which had/has me in tears.

2 - Every Sperm

This sketch blew me away. It is deceptively smart in the subject matters that it is trying to address but scathingly funny in its content. Religion, class, unemployment, north vs south...

Stupidly funny but surprisingly thoughtful.

It is also ridiculously ambitious. They go all out for the gag on this one and it pays off. The scale of this sketch makes it even more hilarious.

After watching this sketch I thought to myself about how I thought Palin was a travel presenter. He is a genius with comic timing like I have never seen before.

1 - Bigus Dickus

It's Palin again. 

I can't even comprehend how simple (yes I know) this damn joke is. In fact, I am convinced that there is nothing at all simple about it. Only geniuses make it look simple.

Bigus Dickus is funny in whatever context, at whatever age. People might consider it toilet humour but Python make it appear luxury.

I mean, they are making a Latin joke about the term big dick. I really don't know why it is this funny - but it is.

This is the scene which made me fall in love with Python. After this scene, I was there's forever.


Ultimately, for me it must have been a race thing. I must have disregarded Python because I thought it was white homour. Too white for me to even consider - but I have seen Head of State and all the Friday sequels (*Kanye Shrug).

I beg anyone who hasn't seen a Monty Python product to go to Amazon and order the box-set of their films. It doesn't even cost that much. Less than £12 for crying out loud.

It changed my life. I know I say that a lot, but I will never be the same man again now I have the Python in my life (no homo?).

                                           Chocolate Cleese