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This page is for those who love Monty Python. Everyone else is a pansy.

About Monty Python

By Cathy Richey, the Cathy Factor

Note: Cathy did apply for a job in the Department of Silly Walks but decided not to take the position.


Monty Python's Flying Circus group formed in England in 1969. Comprised of British performers John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones. and Graham Chapman, along with American animator Terry Gilliam, the group emerged as an international cult phenomenon. They hone their singular blend of broad slapstick, edgy black comedy, and social commentary in a string of successful television programs, films, and albums.

After meeting during a taping of the British children's series Do Not Adjust Your Set, the Pythons officially took shape in May 1969 when the BBC contracted the group to produce their own 13-week program. Monty Python's Flying Circus, a weekly sketch comedy series, premiered that October.

After becoming a major hit throughout Europe, the group recorded 1970's Monty Python's Flying Circus LP, a set of new performances of television material recorded in front of a live audience (including their legendary "dead parrot" sketch, "The Pet Shop"). Their film debut, And Now for Something Completely Different — a collection of highlights from the series — followed in 1971.

Another Monty Python Record, released in the U.K. in 1971, made its American debut the following year. For most U.S. fans, the album was their first exposure to Monty Python. The BBC series did not begin appearing on public television outlets for several more months. After 1972's Monty Python's Previous Record, a mixture of original routines and TV material featuring "Eric the Half a Bee," "The Argument Clinic" and "Embarrassment/A Bed-Time Book," the group issued 1973's "Matching Tie and Handkerchief," which featured a "trick track" gimmick where the second side contained separate grooves both featuring entirely different material. Playing randomly depending upon where the needle dropped, the gimmick effectively created a Side Three.

A 1973 British tour meant Monty Python appearing Live at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, released in 1974 to coincide with the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The movie's companion record The Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail — a reprise of screen material along with new skits — did not appear until the next year. After 1976's Live at the City Center, a long hiatus followed before the group reunited for the 1979 feature and soundtrack Monty Python's Life of Brian.

Monty Python's Obligation Album appeared in 1980, followed by the 1982 concert film Live at the Hollywood Bowl. The 1983 feature Monty Python's the Meaning of Life was the last official group project, although the group members reunited on occasion. Most famously, Cleese and Palin teamed in the hit comedy A Fish Called Wanda. It was a hit partly because of the huge male following of the very well-endowed Jamie Lee Curtis.

While Gilliam's directorial efforts like Time Bandits, Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen all featured other Python alumni.

It's been over thirty years since this group of five Englishmen and one wayward American re-wrote the rules of comedy. Monty Python's Flying Circus, an unheralded, previously unseen and practically unprogrammed half hour of sketches, hilarities, inanities, and animations first appeared on the BBC late one night in 1969. Its impact on the world has been felt ever since.

From its humble beginnings as late night entertainment on a British TV channel that went off the air before midnight, it blossomed into the most influential movement in modern comedy. They found the Holy Grail, they detailed the life of the Savior-also-ran Brian, and when we were lost they explained The Meaning of Life.

In a 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, three of the six Pythons members were voted by fellow comedians to be among the top 50 greatest comedians ever: Cleese at #2, Idle at #21, and Palin at #30.


About Cathy: She and her Doberman Trooper conduct research into all kinds of topics and produce articles like the one you see here. To contact Cathy, write to thecathyfactor@yahoo.com. Get the facts from Cathy, and let the Cathy Factor give you an edge.


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