“And now for something completely different…” The legions of Monty Python fans out there will be quick to recognize this quote, and I repeat it here because Monty Python’s Flying Circus is so very different! Monty Python (as the creators of this show are known) features the writing, performing, and artistic talents of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. This sketch comedy show is replete with the absurd—a veritable host of improbable characters in surreal situations. Sheep infest the walls of a suburban home, a gang of grannies terrorizes a defenseless neighborhood, an intrepid group of hairdressers attempts to climb Mount Everest, etc, etc. (Far be it from me to make assumptions about anyone’s recreational habits, but I often find myself wondering what mind-altering substances these guys were on when they wrote this stuff.)
No subject is safe from the Monty Python’s mockery, and squeamish watchers should be aware that nudity, foul language, and violence all appear on a regular basis (not recommended for the faint of heart). Honestly, there are times where Monty Python is hit and miss. Sometimes I can watch a sketch or two without cracking a smile, only to lose control when a line or sketch suddenly jabs my funny bone. I also think the unending absurdity of Monty Python’s Flying Circus makes it unsuitable in large doses. I wouldn’t try watching more than two shows in a row, as I once tried to do. (At some point your brain will start rotting, and your desiccated head will eventually roll right off your shoulders. Trust me on this.)
I was first introduced to Monty Python while I was in college, when I saw the feature film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (This loose parody of the Arthurian legend is a good starting place for hesitant neophytes.) As I sat in the theatre, listening to others around me repeat by heart lines that I had never heard, something about the insanity struck a chord deep inside me. Not every viewer will react the same way, but I encourage you to give Monty Python’s Flying Circus a chance. Best enjoyed with a large group of close friends.