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

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Tour Will Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

US secretary of state to visit 5 countries in the Middle East, South Asia in bid to strengthen economic and security ties, ease concerns over deal with Tehran More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

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.”