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And Now For Something Completely Different: Monty Python Reunion Planned

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the well-then-it's-not-completely-different dept.

United Kingdom 168

cold fjord writes with this report from The Telegraph: "The original members of Monty Python will reunite more than 30 years after the comedy troupe last worked together. John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Eric Idle and Michael Palin will officially announce their reformation at a London press conference on Thursday. The five surviving members have reportedly been in months of secret talks about getting the Flying Circus back on the road. The reunion comes after several failed attempts to reform by the group. However, according to The Sun, the surviving members realised 'it was now or never,' and had decided to embark upon 'a fully-fledged reunion.'" Related stories include this commentary, one take on the best of Python and this negative reaction, too.

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168 comments

I'll bet the NSA knew (-1, Offtopic)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about 5 months ago | (#45464669)

'Cause they were engaged in "secret talks." You know that can only lead to trouble. Conspiring to perform a comedy I'll bet would be the charge.

All the news that matters,,,

Re:I'll bet the NSA knew (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45465205)

Conspiring to perform a comedy I'll bet would be the charge.

Does not apply in this case, Monty Python is neighter in the US nor funny.

Re:I'll bet the NSA knew (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45465271)

Monty Python is neighter in the US nor funny.

You're a nigger and you're not literate.

Re:I'll bet the NSA knew (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45465417)

Help, help! I'm being repressed!

Ah, they are not dead. (3, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about 5 months ago | (#45464671)

They are just pining for the fjords.

Re:Ah, they are not dead. (3, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | about 5 months ago | (#45465171)

They are just pining for the fjords.

Did somebody call?

Re:Ah, they are not dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45465577)

No. This isn't an NSA story so you can safely go away.

Re:Ah, they are not dead. (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about 5 months ago | (#45465895)

I'll feel free to comment here or on any story that I care to. And I suggest you don't look to see who submitted this story.

You might be a little tense. Perhaps you need some exercise. Why don't you fall in with that lot [youtube.com]?

Re:Ah, they are not dead. (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 5 months ago | (#45465341)

They are just pining for the fjords.

What kinda talk is that....?

If you hadn't nailed them to the perch, they'd be pushing up the daisies!!!

Wow! (5, Funny)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 5 months ago | (#45464705)

Nobody expected that!

They're planning a reunion? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45464713)

No, they aren't.

Re:They're planning a reunion? (4, Informative)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 5 months ago | (#45464775)

That's not an argument. You're just being contradictory.

Can't wait to get tickets (2)

mekkab (133181) | about 5 months ago | (#45464729)

for the "John Cleese can't afford his alimony" tour! I hear it's 90 minutes of grumbling about ex-wives!

Re:Can't wait to get tickets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45465397)

We had to get up half an hour before we went to bed!

Poorly titled.... (1)

nick357 (108909) | about 5 months ago | (#45464759)

Don't get me wrong - I love these guys as much as anyone else. But isn't this going to be the exact opposite of "Something Completely Different"?

Re:Poorly titled.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45464831)

How do you know? You haven't even seen their Grateful Dead cover band set yet.

Re:Poorly titled.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45464949)

And now for something much the same.

Re:Poorly titled.... (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 5 months ago | (#45465035)

I just can't believe Gilliam would get involved simply for them to go on a tour redoing forty year old skits. Palin and Jones have continued to be writing partners, Cleese still dabbles in it, Idle is constantly writing annoying music and Gilliam, well, he's pretty much my favorite filmmaker, who has, in his way, kept the spirit of Python going while the others have gone in other directions, coasted, or in the case of Idle, ravaged the corpse for Broadway revues.

Obligatory (4, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | about 5 months ago | (#45464789)

http://xkcd.com/16/ [xkcd.com]

So hopefully they'll give us some new spontaneous material to drive into the ground with endless repetition for decades to come? (And i admit, i'm as guilty of that as the next geek.)

Success through constant failure (4, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | about 5 months ago | (#45465791)

Some of Monty Python's routines are absolute classics that merit repetition, because they're that good. But that's only the very cream of the crop. Most skits were eminently forgettable; a fair number were just plain bad. And watching Flying Circus, it often seems as if they had no idea which were which.

Monty Python was willing to go way outside the box. The box usually exists for a reason: it's the material that has worked. There are some brilliant new ideas outside the box, and a vast world of crap. It takes a genius to find the pearls among that crap, and Monty Python were without doubt just such geniuses. But even so, what they brought back still required a fair bit of sifting.

Flying Circus episodes can be enjoyed simply for the joy of the search. The skits that fail were (frequently, at least) noble failures. They came, they tried, and we mostly forgot about them. If their stunning, world-changing successes did nothing more than expand the box... well, that's an accomplishment. You're never going to destroy the box entirely, because the fact is that the vast majority of ideas are just plain bad.

I'll be happy to see if those geniuses can find something worth expanding the box still further, but I have to suspect that it'll look more like Flying Circus than Holy Grail. (Holy Grail was, itself, a holy grail: a stunning fraction of it worked, in a way that few other things they tried did.) Good on them for trying it; it's the risk of failure that makes the successes worthwhile.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 5 months ago | (#45465897)

(And i admit, i'm as guilty of that as the next geek.)

You did it in this very post. I'm curious how many people realize the irony* of calling that comic reference obligatory. Linking an obligatory comment is at the heart of what that particular comic was attacking.

To be fair, some of the sketches, like the "Four Yorkshireman" skit (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe1a1wHxTyo) lend themselves very well to ad-libbing without entirely descending into snowclone memes.

*I don't care about your particular definition of irony.

Memories are tied to emotion (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 5 months ago | (#45464847)

Memories are tied to emotion. In broad strokes, emotions act as a "volume control" for how well and easily you remember. A situation accompanied by emotion is important for survival, so you tend to remember the details. It's why we can recall the exciting parts of movies, but not the dialogue.

It's also why, even now 30 years later, nerds can recite large swatches of Monty Python verbatim.

Re:Memories are tied to emotion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45464969)

I was just thinking this last night, in reference to the TV show The Incredible Hulk. Both my wife and I watched it as kids, but all we can remember are the exciting bits (like the hurricane episode) and have forgotten most of the story lines.

It's now in the Netflix queue.

Re:Memories are tied to emotion (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 5 months ago | (#45465113)

I was just thinking this last night, in reference to the TV show The Incredible Hulk. Both my wife and I watched it as kids, but all we can remember are the exciting bits (like the hurricane episode) and have forgotten most of the story lines.

It's now in the Netflix queue.

No, that's something completely different -- I went back and watched some of those shows, and realized that the first time I watched it, I never even noticed the story lines. That's not something you usually become aware of until you're older, which is why many shows didn't have much story line to begin with. I still remember the story line of the Hulk's pilot episode, but none of the plots from once the show actually started rolling. Let me know if you find any.

Re:Memories are tied to emotion (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 5 months ago | (#45465587)

Go look up the list of things that made David Banner go green over the course of the series. You'll laugh your ass off.

I hope they have lots of new material (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45464849)

Not really looking for yet another "Best of Python" stitched together and acted by old men.

Re:I hope they have lots of new material (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 5 months ago | (#45464873)

That's still better than nickleback.

Re:I hope they have lots of new material (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 5 months ago | (#45464913)

Well yes, but Gay Hitler Sings The Hits is better than Nickelback.

Re:I hope they have lots of new material (1)

xevioso (598654) | about 5 months ago | (#45465359)

REALLY? On a thread like this and you really have to invoke Godwin's law so soon? Really?

Re:I hope they have lots of new material (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45465443)

You know who is worse than Nazis? Nickleback, that's who.

I'll give you GOODWIN, you insolent whelp! (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about 5 months ago | (#45466055)

Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!

hee hee, saved by the slashtot umlat (tm)!!

Re:I hope they have lots of new material (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 5 months ago | (#45464899)

If Terry Gilliam is involved, I doubt it will just be a rehash. Besides, I have a fairly good feeling Terry Jones has likely been sitting on some damned good material for the last quarter century.

Re: I hope they have lots of new material (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45465185)

Let's not forget the Python film that's been brewing for decades: "The History of America", hilariously poking fun at semi-loosely-true half-myths that have been viewed as sacred by Americans for generations...

Re:I hope they have lots of new material (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 5 months ago | (#45464933)

They need moar moneyz. Seriously. There are fans that would pay, even if just to see the same material repeated over again. I'm a fan, but I don't need to see the old stuff played again by, as you say, old men.

However, if they were to present some good new stuff, that would be a different story. I'd really appreciate some new stuff.

Joke time: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb? Two, one to hold the giraffe, and the other to fill the bath tub with multicolored power-tools.

Re:I hope they have lots of new material (2)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 5 months ago | (#45465197)

Not really looking for yet another "Best of Python" stitched together and acted by old men.

I'll have you're Python, then. I love it!

Enough reunions (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45464925)

To the current generation: You are pathetic. Artists like Monty Python didn't become successful by idolizing comedians from the 1920s; they threw out what their parents did and started anew. They didn't listen to their parents music and adopt their parents' politics; they purposely rejected them.

Grow a pair and build something new. That's how the world moves forward.

Re:Enough reunions (3, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 5 months ago | (#45464979)

Actually I don't think you're right here. I don't think anyone in Python would agree with you, either. By their own admission they built on and expanded the type of humor that "The Goon Show" brought to prominence. They aren't a copy of the Goon Show, but go listen to it and you'll hear the legacy.

Re:Enough reunions (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 5 months ago | (#45465001)

Well, to be fair, I'd say Peter Cook and the Goons were pretty major influences, and the Pythons regularly cite them. Certainly Spike Milligan's anarchic humor is a straight line between the comedic revolution of the 1950s and early 1960s and Python. The chief difference between the Q series and Python was that Milligan was pretty deranged and more inconsistent than the Pythons, but still that fundamental absurdism is something the Pythons built on.

Re:Enough reunions (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 5 months ago | (#45465029)

The beginnings of the Q series and Monty Python were about the same time. After watching each other Spike apparently wanted to do what Monty Python was doing and vice versa. There was some direct cross-pollination during that period of time.

Re:Enough reunions (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 5 months ago | (#45465093)

I've watched a fair chunk of the first couple of Q series, and while there are some insanely funny bits, all in all, I find Milligan, on his own, could get a little tiresome. Perhaps, in part, it was because there was six Pythons who would sit down, hear the sketches the others had come up with and would be able to throw it out the trash, or perhaps reuse it in inventive and unforeseen ways, whereas Milligan didn't have the benefit of a large group of equals to clean up material. Milligan was also far more willing to go for a cheap laugh, and even by late 1960s and early 1970s standards some of his skits were astonishingly racist.

I look at this way; Monty Python without the Fish Slapping Dance would not have been Monty Python. Monty Python that was a large part Fish Slapping Dances would have been unbearable.

Still, Milligan was a comedic genius of the first order, who, when he was in his head, was probably one of the funniest men who ever lived. Every time I watch the skit with the domestic Daleks blowing up everyone and everything in the flat, I fall off my chair.

Re:Enough reunions (4, Interesting)

Skiron (735617) | about 5 months ago | (#45465545)

There is a good story re Spike and the Pythons.
When the Pythons were in Malta filming 'Life of Brian', they heard that Spike was staying nearby on holiday. So they called him up, and quickly changed a few scripts to write him into the film.
. They shot the first day, and all was well and good... then the next day Spike didn't turn up for filming. Hurriedly they chased him up and found he had gone home!
So, back to re-writing the scripts again.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ym-k5viJ7tA

Great (0)

korbulon (2792438) | about 5 months ago | (#45464947)

The corpse of another fond childhood memory to be poked and prodded over - and ultimately ruined - by deluded old men. Much of Monty Python's appeal stemmed from poking fun at the establishment, at ridiculing societal norms. Now they are part of the establishment.

Re:Great (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#45465061)

At this point it's for their benefit. Let the old guys wallow in nostalgia. It's what old folks do.

Who knows, they might surprise us with something new and good.

Re:Great (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about 5 months ago | (#45465295)

Who knows, they might surprise us with something new and good.

Ya mean like George Lucas and Ridley Scott did with their magnum opi?

Re:Great (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about 5 months ago | (#45466061)

You mean like a Rolling Stones Concert or watching [80's Super band] run through their standards?

Last time I want to a concert featuring a band I loved in the late 70/80s it was a shock (yeah, talking about you CSN). It would have been better to put speakers outside and listen with my eyes closed to a playlist of their songs. I don't want to see old guys overwriting the memories of when they were young guys. Even when I saw Springsteen, and he almost never ages, it was not the same.

I'd almost prefer a show where five old farts talk about their time together, pull out clips of their favorites, maybe adlib a bit and allow us into their "living room" for a great chat.

Re:Great (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 5 months ago | (#45465151)

The corpse of another fond childhood memory to be poked and prodded over - and ultimately ruined - by deluded old men. Much of Monty Python's appeal stemmed from poking fun at the establishment, at ridiculing societal norms. Now they are part of the establishment.

Maybe this will be something completely different, and they'll be poking fun at the upcoming generation instead?

Re:Great (1)

east coast (590680) | about 5 months ago | (#45465251)

I know how you feel but you could be wrong.

Mission of Burma came out of retirement about 20 years after they broke up. When I got their first studio album after this hiatus I was nervous about it. I almost didn't want to listen to it for fear that what esteem I had for them would be shattered if it was garbage. It turned out great and even for a bunch of aging punks they've still got it where it counts.

On the other hand, we've seen many giants come out of retirement and totally fall on their face. This happens mostly with sports stars, age catches up to everyone. It's sad to see a great athlete limp off into the sunset when they knew well enough to retire on top of their game years ago. I'd hate to see the boys from Python do the same.

If I were betting on it I'd guess that they'll do fairly well but a lot of material will seem like half-baked rehashes of old material. Only time will tell.

Mildly amusing the first time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45464961)

I know I can't be the first one to think that most of MP is just mildly amusing and quirky the first time. After that, hearing people recite lines just makes me want to smack people. I think geeks need to come to the realization that they're no better than anybody else when it comes to the herd mentality. This stuff is just not that funny. Even if you did get a real belly laugh out of it the first time, what do you gain with all this pointless recitation? Nothing is that funny.

I feel happy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45464963)

And there was much rejoicing.

What's the big deal (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 5 months ago | (#45465007)

I have watched several Monty Python stuff. There are a few skits here and there which are very funny. But a lot of them are boring.

OTOH, I am a big fan of John Cleese's Fawlty Towers. I have watched every episode atleast 20 times and it's always amazingly funny.

They had their reunion in 1983 (1)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | about 5 months ago | (#45465039)

A Pythons reunion now would be like a Beatles reunion consisting of just Ringo.

Re:They had their reunion in 1983 (1)

varmfskii (2910763) | about 5 months ago | (#45465115)

I remember in late 1980, the dark joke going around was "What would it take to get the Beatles back together? Three more bullets."

I'm a programmer and I'm above average -or so (4, Funny)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about 5 months ago | (#45465071)

I'm a programmer and I'm above average -or so I think-, I hack all day and have too little sleep at night.

I cut down b-trees, I skip and jump, I like to piss off people by using gotoes.

My code is unintelligible and I hang around with the coffee machine.

I wish I were a metal worker just like my dear mama.

I should not have pushed the submit button bit still I did.

Don't give up the day job (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 months ago | (#45465567)

It doesn't rhyme.

Then again it doesn't scan either.

YOU SUCK.

Re:Don't give up the day job (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45465641)

It doesn't rhyme.

Then again it doesn't scan either.

YOU SUCK.

We apologise for the fault in the comment. The person responsible has been sacked, and whill shortly be replaced by a Lla, err, Monty Python.

Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45465075)

The same old jokes, the one's that nerds have absolutely beaten to death before fucking the corpses, redone by grampas.

Haha the parrot is dead! I don't like spam!

Silly walks.. (1)

slashmojo (818930) | about 5 months ago | (#45465241)

I will have to do one in celebration! As soon as I get back from my weekly meeting of the Peoples Front of Judea.. or was it the Peoples Judean Front?

icon choice (4, Interesting)

themushroom (197365) | about 5 months ago | (#45465389)

Funny that the icon on this picture is the British phone booth, not the Python foot used for humor stories.

A prediction (3, Funny)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 5 months ago | (#45465495)

The reunion comes after several failed attempts to reform by the group.

The Pythons may reunite but they'll never reform. Especially Chapman.

If Cleese has his say... (1)

retech (1228598) | about 5 months ago | (#45465527)

I saw the video for the "comedy tour" John Cleese did most recently. And how anyone felt it would be funny is beyond me. Don't get me wrong I feel collectively and individually these guys have done some fantastic stuff that has and will withstand time. But Cleese comes off as an embittered old man who is just trying to justify his entire life by proving how much better he made Python and if it weren't for him look how dull these things would have been. Oh, and he reallllly hates his exwife. We know this by, not only the title, but by the 45 minute rant about how much he hates her.

Please, bask in the truth of what was, and go out on that note.

Re:If Cleese has his say... (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 5 months ago | (#45465813)

Cleese was always a bit of an asshole. Watch interviews with him from any period from when they first made it big until now, and he was came off as abrasive, arrogant and argumentative. Even he, on occasion, has admitted it. And he's been bitching about ex-wives as long as he had ex-wives, so that's nothing new. The only thing new is he asking you to fork over the money for a ticket to hear him bitch about his ex-wives instead of showing up on talk shows and doing it for free.

Another major prick is Eric Idle, who has also come off as abrasive, arrogant, argumentative and at times just outright mean. He's treatment of Neil Innes is unforgivable, particular when you consider that The Ruttles wouldn't have existed without Innes. Idle has also been the most willing to simultaneously spurn previous plans to reunite whilst simultaneously ripping off chunks of the Python corpse for mediocre musicals.

I'm actually amazed they've actually been able to get into a room long enough to plot out a reunion. I would imagine money is a big part of it. Cleese's marital problems are well known, but I'd hazard a guess Gilliam has pissed off enough investors that he wouldn't mind getting some new seed money. Let's face it, a Python reunion tour would be as big and profitable as a Led Zeppelin reunion tour.

Re:If Cleese has his say... (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 5 months ago | (#45465907)

I haven't followed what he's been up to for a very long while, but I do recall he had a rather idi osyncratic opinion on what made humour. He believed for something to be funny it had to be awkward, uncomfortable, embarassing, uncomfortable. And you can see there was a lot of that in Fawlty Towers and it worked.
But for me it was enough. I don't want to experience large doses of uncomfortable feelings so he lost me.

So he's not just a bitter old man - maybe somewhat I don't know - but he thinks that is the essence of humour. And it isn't.

Piped in laugh tracks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45465529)

do not age very well...

I don't think they are funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45465607)

I don't think they are funny.

Life of Muhammad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45465647)

When are they going to make that?

That one will be a box office explosion!

Too bad it's to be a live show (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 5 months ago | (#45466011)

It's too bad it's to be a live show. Ah well, hopefully they film at least one performance and release it for distribution.

Though I'm sure the "Ministry of Silly Walks" may have taken a hit due to arthritis by this time. :)

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