Terry Gilliam recently spoke movingly about his namesake and Monty Python colleague Terry Jones. The latter has been suffering with dementia and Gilliam said: “You see a friend, somebody you know really well, kind of disappearing … It’s really sad because there’s nothing one can do about it.”
The pair co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail before Jones took on sole directing duties with Life of Brian and the troupe’s final movie The Meaning of Life (1983). While not as acclaimed as its predecessors, perhaps as a result of its sketch format, The Meaning of Life still contains some of the funniest scenes ever committed to film.
The writing process was far from easy. The two previous Python films had employed loose structures but retained a narrative of sorts. With their final film, Michael Palin has said they opted to “give it the loosest structure, the meaning of life” since they had lots of material but no obvious through line. John Cleese believes the film was “a bit of a cock-up” and the other Pythons have also suggested it was not up to their previous big-screen efforts. Despite this, it was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival and has several iconic moments.[ . . . ] Read More at: Movies You Might Have Missed: Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
British comedy legend visits the ‘Fan Theory’ podcast
Comedy legend John Cleese, a founding member of the iconic British comedy troupe Monty Python, is back on the road.
At the age of 77, the Academy Award nominee is crossing the country this fall, screening the stupendously silly 1975 cult classic film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and engaging in question-and-answer sessions following the movie.
“I was amazed how easy it was to sell tickets,” Cleese told the Asbury Park Press’ “Fan Theory” podcast, “because Americans like ‘Holy Grail’ best of all …
“And the nice thing is the questions afterwards. You see, when I’m doing my one-man show I say pretty much the same thing every night, but when I’m answering questions from the audience they can be completely different. I can do two shows and they’re completely different because it just depends on the direction the audience takes it. That makes it much more interesting for me.”
Headmaster: And spotteth twice they the camels before the third
hour. And so the Midianites went forth to Ram Gilead in Kadesh
Bilgemath by Shor Ethra Regalion, to the house of
Gash-Bil-Betheul-Bazda, he who brought the butter dish to
Balshazar and the tent peg to the house of Rashomon, and there
slew they the goats, yea, and placed they the bits in little
pots. Here endeth the lesson.
Chaplain: Let us praise God. Oh Lord…
Congregation: Oh Lord…
Chaplain: Oooh you are so big…
Congregation: Oooh you are so big…
Chaplain: So absolutely huge.
Congregation: So ab – solutely huge.
Chaplain: Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here I can tell
Congregation: Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here I can tell
Chaplain: Forgive Us, O Lord, for this dreadful toadying.
Congregation: And barefaced flattery.
Chaplain: But you are so strong and, well, just so super.
When John Cleese looks back on his life in the first volume of his memoir, So, Anyway…, he doesn’t say that the happiest time in his life was starring in an immensely popular sit-com with his then-wife. It’s not working on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, or being in a Bond film, or performing comedy on the road in New Zealand or any of that. It was teaching for two years, before going to Cambridge. In a talk with fellow Python Eric Idle he explains that the reason for that is because “it was so wonderfully unstressful.” This would change rather quickly once Cleese went to university where he would become involved with Cambridge’s comedy revue group, where he would meet Graham Chapman. His final show with the group would then go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which would then lead to a run at the West End under the name Cambridge Circus, which would then lead to a radio show, then a TV show [ . . . ]