News / Arts & Entertainment

Monty Python Group Performs (Probably) for Last Time

Members of British comedy troupe Monty Python, from left, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones pose for a photograph during a media event in central London, June 30, 2014.
Members of British comedy troupe Monty Python, from left, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones pose for a photograph during a media event in central London, June 30, 2014.
Reuters

The Monty Python comedy group performed the final show of their 10-day residency “Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go” at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday in front of a 16,000-strong audience.

The show was broadcast live, which meant fans all over the world got to see Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam, all in their 70s, perform a string of medleys and sketches together for what they have said is probably the last time.   

The Pythons performed with a live orchestra and a chorus line of singing and dancing men and women.

And they were joined by Carol Cleveland, the only woman who made regular appearances in the 1960s show, who was on hand to reprise her popular roles.

Film clips of Chapman

Graham Chapman, the sixth Python, who died in 1989, appeared on film clips, along with some of the original television footage of Python sketches shown on a huge video display.

Many fans came dressed up as some of their favorite characters and felt emotional at the thought that this could be the last time the Pythons are seen onstage together.

“It's like your favorite band breaking up, you know? The thought that they won't perform again is just like...but I'm so, so honored to have been here. I think that everyone is just that we've had the opportunity to come and that they've done this again, it's just. It paid off being a fan, you know?”“ Monty Python fan, Fiona Burt, told Reuters TV dressed as Cardinal Fang from “The Spanish Inquisition” sketches.

And whilst fans had the option to view the show live at home, numerous attendees traveled from the other side of the world to see the historic night.

Rollin Lofdahl flew all the way from Oregon, United States, for the performers.

“I planned to come to London anyway this summer, but a friend of mine, an American that lives in Germany said that if he could get tickets for this would I come and I said absolutely, so we just shifted the dates of my trip and we had both seen Python live at the Hollywood Bowl back in 1980. And you see I'm wearing the official shirt from that event. So, I don't know if we're the only two who saw them 34 years ago and then got to see them again here but how could you turn down that opportunity?” Lofdahl said.

British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, a professed Python fan, made a guest appearance on film while “Austin Powers” star Mike Myers and the popular comedians Dara O'Briain and Lee Mack joined a host of performers who took part in the encore with the Pythons.

Favorites were seen

The Pythons did their famous lumberjack song, with Palin acting as a supposedly manly woodcutter who reveals in song that he enjoys dressing up in women's clothing.

They also did the sketch that has provided a catchphrase for the English language: “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition” with three inquisitors who threaten their prey with the torture of having to sit in “the comfy chair.”

Palin and Cleese performed what is perhaps the most famous Python sketch, the man trying to return a dead Norwegian blue parrot to a shopkeeper who maintains the bird “is only kipping (sleeping).”

The ten-day run has also seen a few new numbers, including “I Like Chinese” sung by Idle backed by singers and dancers, praising the Chinese for buying up America's debt and saying “they will survive us without a doubt”.

The show ended as it inevitably had to, with the five Pythons, dressed in white tuxedos, belting out “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

And the last message to be flashed up on the video display was “Monty Python 1969-2014”, giving a real sense that this was the end for the group.

Idle strummed a guitar and Cleese, Gilliam, Palin and Jones chimed in as the audience sang along to the lyrics “life is quite absurd and death's the final word” but you should “always look on the bright side of life”.

The curtain call could be the final bow the Pythons ever make together after more than 50 years as a group.

They first garnered fame through “Monty Python's Flying Circus” comedy sketch show, which aired from 1969 to 1974.

Also in films

The popularity of the surreal comedy series led to the Pythons making a number of films, including “Monty Python and The Holy Grail” and “The Meaning of Life”.

They also courted controversy with “Life of Brian”, in which the character Brian Cohen is mistaken for the Messiah.

The enduring appeal of Monty Python could be shown by the fact that tickets for the opening night of “Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go” sold out in 44 seconds.

And last week a giant dead blue parrot was set-up near Tower Bridge in London last week as a homage to the “Dead Parrot” sketch.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”