Monty Python is Getting Back Together. I Hope They’re Selling Out!

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 19 2013 4:37 PM

The Monty Python Reunion Is Genuinely Exciting

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Terry Jones really hopes to pay off his mortgage.

Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

All five surviving members of Monty Python will reunite for an upcoming stage show, original troop member and medieval lifestyle chronicler Terry Jones has confirmed. He added, “I hope to be able to pay off my mortgage!

This is genuinely exciting. Following Graham Chapman’s death in 1989, the complete set of living Pythons—John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and Terry Gilliam—have only appeared on stage together once, for a (very funny) interview with Robert Klein upon receiving the AFI Star Award in 1998. Since then, various combinations of the group have periodically surfaced, but long-simmering fan hopes for a full reunion performance have been dashed.

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I’m usually cynical about ’60s super-group reunions, but Monty Python is the one collective that seems truly capable of embracing both their age and the unquestionable material benefits of getting the band back together with wit and glee. After all, Monty Python’s humor always carried a distinct preoccupation with aging, death and the commercial aspects of their own comedy. It seems reasonable to hope that age and declining relevance has only further warped these five men’s minds around these topics.

Their final work as a group, 1983’s Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, has some of their best material and their darkest, sharpest satire. (My fervent belief that it is also their funniest work is a #slatepitch for another day.) Python aged like a fine cheese, growing in subtlety and complexity. Our mouths should water at the thought of another taste (even if this particular shop is fresh out of it).

And while they are of course best known for their film and television work, Python was a positively crackling live act. Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl is essential viewing, containing excellent versions of many all-time classic Python sketches—as well as material that never made it to screen. There are even some pre-Python gems, including one that helps illustrate why I think they’ll be great as old comedians, too.

I can’t wait.

Chris Wade is a video and podcast producer for Slate and occasional contributor to Brow Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

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