Monty Python, the legendary British comedy troupe best known for its groundbreaking TV show Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which set the template for Saturday Night Live and other iconoclastic TV comedy sketch shows that followed, held what they say will be their final live performance on July 20, and now the group placed the first video from that show on line.
The live show was titled, Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five To Go — referring to the one missing Python member Graham Chapman who died of throat cancer in 1989 at age 48. The Pythons first became internationally famous with their Flying Circus series in 1969 when they were all under 30 years old.
But for their last hurrah, the five surviving Python members are now in their 70s.
Those five members have each become famous individually since the final Python film, Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life. John Cleese has acted in about 60 movies and his own BBC TV series, Fawlty Towers, is considered by some the greatest British sitcom of all time.
Eric Idle adapted the Python’s 1975 film Monty Python and The Holy Grail into a hit Broadway musical, Spamalot. Michael Palin, in addition to numerous acting roles, created and starred in a series of first-person travel documentaries. Terry Jones became a children’s author while the group’s only American member, Terry Gilliam, went on to become a successful Hollywood director of such films as Brazil, 12 Monkeys and Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas.
While Monty Python is expected to release its final performance as a DVD later this year, they began giving fans who didn’t make the trip to London to see the show — or catch its live broadcast in movie theaters — a taste of what to expect with the first of a series of YouTube clips.
The first excerpt is the Pythons’ “Spanish Inquisition” sketch, one of the group’s most famous, whose catch phrase, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition,” remains familiar today, almost 44 years after it was first broadcast during the second season of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.