The Pythons wrote all of their sketches in teams. Cambridge graduates John Cleese and Graham Chapman wrote together, as did Oxford men Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Eric Idle, another Cambridge alumnus, wrote alone. "Links" between sketches were the only pieces written by the entire group collectively. Animator Terry Gilliam worked independently of the five core members, but joined them for writers' meetings to help them piece it all together and act as a sort of test audience. See more »
Look, get out, all of you. Go on. Get out! Get out!
I beg your pardon?
I'm turning you all out! I'm not having my house filled with filthy perverts. Now look, I'm giving you just half a minute then I'm going to call the police, so get out!
I don't much like the tone of your voice.
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Depending on the content of the individual shows, the credits were changed accordingly, often appearing in anagrams (Tony M. Nyphot's Flying Risccu), with a different title completely (The Buzz Aldrin Show) or with strange additions to the names of the cast and crew, such as various foodstuffs, sex toys and political gambits. 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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