Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Life After Python

So we're all agreed that Monty Python is great, right? Good, good. But separately from Python, they've all gone on to do some fine comedy work, too. I mean, who can forget the pinnacle of comedy genius that is Nuns On The Run? Obviously, I'm blatantly lying for comic effect on that one but here are some genuine decent examples of their post-Python work.

Terry Jones & Michael Palin - Having been writing partners on Python, they continued their partnership with a series that spoofed Boy's Own-style tales of spiffing adventures and top-hole derring do. It was, of course, Ripping Yarns and great fun it is too. Here's an extract from one of my favourites, Tomkinson's Schooldays:-

John Cleese - Well, I think we all know what his major success was after the Python years - playing the voice of the animatronic gorilla in the feature film George Of The Jungle. However, a lot of people don't realise that he made a short-lived sitcom in the 70s which revolved around a nightmarish hotelier, his fierce wife and their racist caricature of a waiter. It was called Fawlty Towers and this bit is always funny:-

Eric Idle - Yes, we all know that he's been a bit crap in recent years, turning up and being a token English bloke in plenty of awful American films but eh still had some good stuff left in him just after the end of Python, namely Rutland Weekend Television. A sketch show based in the UK's smallest television stations, it features some great sketches and ultimately gave birth to The Rutles (as Neil Innes worked on this series with Idle). It also has this which is brilliant:-

Graham Chapman - Didn't have a glittering post-Python career, mainly due his constant struggle with alcoholism. He did some work with Douglas Adams (including a sketch pilot called Out Of The Trees which was lost from the archives for some time but has recently been recovered). Favourite work for me - A Liar's Autobiography Vol. 6, which does what it says on the tin - alternates between being unflinchingly honest and full of blatant lies. Well worth a read if you can find it.

Terry Gilliam - Don't know, he kind of disappeared, I think... No, not really, he went on to direct some of my favourite films ever in the history of ever. Jabberwocky, Time Bandits, Brazil, Tweleve Monkeys - I even enjoy The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen. He also makes a brilliant subject for documentary with both The Hamster Factor (about the successful completion of Twelve Monkeys) and Lost In La Mancha (about his almost farcically unsuccessful attempt to film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote) making fascinating viewing. Even his trailers are good fun (although his last few films have been a bit on the duff side - here's hoping he finds his mojo again):-

Life after Python - they may all be slightly embarrassing middle-aged men now (except for the dead one) but they still had their moments.

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