Monty Python – true comedy legends

Published 2:42 pm Thursday, July 12, 2018

You know how you can hear a random word or phrase and it’ll trigger a completely different memory associated with it? It happens all the time. Just the other day, the phrase “tracts of land” reminded me of a (probably unsuitable to be printed in the newspaper) joke from the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

It had been ages since I’d watched the movie, or even thought about it at all, but I still remembered the quote perfectly. The memory of it gave me a good laugh, as does any Monty Python joke I can recall.

If you’re not familiar with the name, Monty Python was a British comedy troupe popular in the 1970’s (yes, that’s well before my time, I know). They specialized in absurd, surreal comedy sketches which left people feeling like they should be simultaneously scratching their heads and laughing hysterically… that is, if they enjoy that kind of weird British humor!

The six-man group was made up of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. They collaborated together on their show “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” and several movies, including the aforementioned “Holy Grail” which was later used as inspiration for a Broadway musical.

I was introduced to the comedy group while in high school. My friends were big fans and we often would get together to watch clips from the show on Youtube. My best friend also owned a copy of a complete DVD set of the series, so we could better appreciate the strangeness of the hodge-podge of skits and sketches strung together each episode.

Even now I find myself wanting to quote the famous lines from different sketches, like declaring “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” or saying something is just “pining for the fjords.” And of course, telling everyone how much “I don’t like spam!”

(Yes, if you did not know: the term “spam” we use for junk mail finds its origins in a Monty Python sketch. I recommend looking up the video. It inexplicably includes delightful singing Vikings.)

I could go on and on talking about Monty Python sketches (“Wuthering Heights in Semaphore” is a personal favorite), but I just recommend checking it all out for yourself. While some jokes are sometimes a bit inappropriate or vulgar, the vast majority of them are just plain silly. And sometimes silliness is a breath of fresh air when compared to a lot of popular comedy today.

It’s nice to sit down and just laugh every once in a while, especially when the craziness of the world gets too overwhelming. The first time you watch Monty Python, you never know what to expect next. But even watching it a second or third (or in my case, hundredth) time, there’s still something to laugh about.

In my opinion, those guys were true comedy legends. They must be if they’re still making people laugh all these years later!

(Of course, the other true comedy legends were Abbott and Costello. But that’s a topic for another column…)


Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or by phone at 252-332-7206.