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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."