The Monty Python comedy group is finishing its three weeks performing Monty Python Live (mostly) in London with a bang. The final performance from London’s O2 arena will be available in 2,000 movie theaters in 100 countries.
Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the original BBC comedy sketch show, first aired in 1969 and gave the world sketches like the “Spanish Inquisition” and the “Ministry of Silly Walks.” Who would have known that 45 years later, the same group would be together again still doing the bits that made them comedy legends.
Not everything is the same of course. Graham Chapman died in 1989, effectively preventing his performance in London, although the dead comedian received plenty of laughs in the Aspen Monty Python reunion.
The remaining Python stars, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Terry Gilliam, now in their 70s, performed to good reviews (mostly).
Mick Jagger, age 70, said with regards to the show,”[It’s] a bunch of wrinkly old men trying to relive their youth and make a load of money.” The Rolling Stones singer added, “The best one died years ago. Maybe back in the 70s it was fantastic — it was the funniest thing. We’ve seen it all before. I mean they’ve put it all up on YouTube.”
The Jagger comments were in good fun, with no true offense intended.
Otherwise, the reviews were positive.
“The Pythons came, they doddered, but they conquered,” wrote Dominic Cavendish.
The Express said “comedy history in the making.”
The Observer‘s Stephanie Merritt wrote, “[A] nostalgic celebration of the extraordinary contribution these men have made to modern comedy.”
Nevertheless, the age of both the performers and the sketches themselves was often on display. At one point in the opening performance, John Cleese forgot a line from the famous Dead Parrot sketch.
The Python members also take a bit longer in costume changes. As a result, three large screens in the O2 showed clips from the show during down time, including many of Terry Gilliam’s iconic animations.
The politically incorrect sketches stayed the same as well, instead of changing to suit modern audiences. “I like Chinese” and “Two Camp High Court Judges” were still intact.
A performance that was more about nostalgia and saying farewell than bringing the house down.
Michael Palin said at a press conference that the performances are about “saying goodbye publicly” to the Monty Python fans.
For a list of showings for Monty Python Live (Mostly) can be found here.
[Photo Credit: Dave J Hogan/Getty]