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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Trumpeter, percussionist and bandleader Etienne Charles was born in Trinidad and blends island rhythms with modern jazz. He and his stellar band perform a rich gumbo of jazz, calypso, reggae, and rock-steady that Charles calls “Creole Soul” on "The Hamilton Live."