Eccentric Brits are a very British thing!
Who are the British exactly? A nation of animal lovers. Perhaps. People who put milk in their tea and run the hot and cold taps at the same time? A little bit crazy, maybe? Consider this: one man dances around another on the end of a pier slapping him with a wet fish. The second man then produces a bigger fish knocking the first man into the sea. This is the world of Monty Python – a very British thing! In this blog post I’m going to guide you through Monty Python facts, sketches and looking at life after Monty.
It all began at Cambridge and Oxford
The idea of Monty Python’s Flying Circus was born at Cambridge and Oxford Universities. There a group of students who were members of The Cambridge Footlights Review and the Oxford Review, a sort of cabaret for undergraduates, got together and experimented with a new kind of humor.
The key Monty Python people were:
- Michael Palin
- Eric Idle
- John Cleese
- Terry Jones
- Graham Chapman
- Terry Gilliam
Why we made fun of accountants
Somebody once asked Michael Palin why a lot of Monty Python sketches ridiculed accountants; at that time men in pin-striped suits, bowler hats, carrying briefcases and reading the Financial Times. After all accountancy was a perfectly respectable profession, wasn’t it? Palin replied that while he had nothing against accountants personally he thought that if it hadn’t been for Monty Python the whole team would be leading boring lives in offices!
The accountant who wanted to be a lion-tamer
In one famous sketch an accountant visits a careers advisor telling him that he is bored with accountancy and wants to become a lion tamer. The advisor recommends going into lion taming via accountancy. Disappointed the man leaves the career office only for a 1,000 ton weight to drop on him once he gets outside the door.
The best 5 Monty Python sketches!
- Hell’s Grannies. A group of old-age pensioners terrorize a small town. Pension days are the worst, one terrified resident tells the reporter, ‘with acts of hooliganism in the tea rooms’.
- The Dead Parrot. A customer makes a complaint to the owner of a pet shop that he has been sold a dead parrot. The owner of the shop tries to convince him that the parrot isn’t dead but sleeping!
- The Upper Class Twit of the Year. A group of men compete to find out which of them is the stupidest. The winner finally receives first prize by shooting himself after several unsuccessful attempts.
- The Fattest Man in the World. A man eats the whole menu of a restaurant. Full, the waiter encourages him to eat ‘a wafer thin mint’. Reluctant at first he finally agrees, with the result that he explodes. Not a sketch to watch after dinner!
- The Ministry of Silly Walks. A man visits a government office trying to find sponsorship for his silly walk. The government official however doesn’t consider his walk silly enough.
Not everyone was a fan – controversy
Although Monty Python was very popular some people found the content quite distasteful. It was all very groundbreaking however at the time. True, the routines can now seem a little dated. The 1979 feature film ‘The Life of Brian’ upset a lot of people with its satirical take on the story of Christ. Nevertheless, a selection of their best sketches can still seem hilarious even after all these years.
Include a bit of Monty in your lingo
Monty Python has become something of a National Treasure. Becoming familiar with their material can be:
a) Very funny!
b) Help you understand what British people think about comedy/ what they find funny.
c) It’s an excellent icebreaker when talking to British people of a certain age!
1. Pier (noun) a large structure built out into water.
2. Ridicule (verb) to make someone/something seem stupid.
3. Lion-tamer (noun) a person who trains lions to behave like domestic pets.
4. Granny (informal) grandmother.
5. Parrot (noun) a type of bird.
6. Twit (noun) A foolish person.