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Monty Python (nicknamed The Pythons) was a British surreal comedy group founded in 1969. The group consisted of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin. They are credited with creating, writing, and starring in the sketch comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969) as well as a string of successful comedy films in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Flying Circus (1969-1974)
Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a sketch comedy show which ran for four seasons from 1969-1974. The series premiered on October 5th, 1969 on BBC One, and the finale aired on December 5th, 1974. It was nominated for seven BAFTA Awards during its run, winning three. Classic sketches to come out of the series include “The Parrot Sketch” (below, left) and “The Ministry of Silly Walks” (below, right).
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail was released on May 25th, 1975. The first Python feature length film with a narrative structure (they had previously released And Now for Something Completely Different, which featured sketches from Flying Circus), it earned a rating of 8.4 on IMDB and a rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie follows King Arthur as he tries to recruit knights for his round table. Famous scenes include “The Black Knight” (below, left) and “Unladen Swallow” (below, right).
Life of Brian (1979)
Life of Brian was released on August 17th, 1979. The film earned a rating of 8.2 on IMDB and a score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. It follows the life of a man who was born next to Jesus, and whose life is often parallel to his. Famous scenes include “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” (below, left) and “Biggus Dickus” (below, right).
The Meaning of Life (1983)
The Meaning of Life was released on March 31st, 1983. The film earned a rating of 7.6 on IMDB and a rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is made up of a series of sketches that outline the major stages of life. Famous scenes include “Every Sperm is Sacred” (below, left) and “Birth” (below,right).
Spamalot, a musical inspired by Monty Python and the Holy Grail, opened on Broadway on March 17th, 2005. Written by Monty Python member Eric Idle with music by Idle and John Du Prez, the musical ran until January 11th, 2009. It was nominated for 14 Tony Awards winning three, including Best Musical.
The Silly Walk Song (2014)
On April 3rd, 2014, a video titled “The Silly Walk Song” was uploaded to Monty Python’s official YouTube channel. The video featured a new song, the first new material Monty Python had created as a group since a 30th anniversary special which aired on October 9th, 1999, played over examples of some of their classic animation. In less than a week the video gained over 130,000 views and was covered by many sites such as Time and Neatorama. The same day the group announced they would be performing their last show as a group this summer, on July 20th, at London’s O2 arena.
Social Media Presence
On November 14th, 2008, Monty Python launched its official YouTube channel with a video announcement urging fans to support the group by visiting their official YouTube channel (shown below). As of April 2014, the video has gained over 2.7 million views and the channel has garnered over 280,000 subscribers and nearly 80 million channel view. As of April 2014, their official Twitter account has over 7,000 followers.
In addition to the branded social media presence, there are numerous fan sites for the group such as Montypython.net and Python-esque. There are several Tumblr blogs dedicated to the group such as fyflyingcircus, johanngambolputtyofulm, and littlepythonthings. As of April 2014, DeviantArt has over 13,000 fan art submissions for the group.
Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition
“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” is a memorable quote from Monty Python’s Flying Circus uttered in reference to a Catholic tribunal established by the Spanish monarchy in 1481 to ensure Christian orthodoxy. Online the phrase is often used to respond to something unexpected much like surprise, bitch.
Just a Flesh Wound
“Just a flesh wound” (also “’tis but a scratch”) is a line said by the Monty Python and the Holy Grail character the Black Knight upon having his arms chopped off by King Arthur. Online the phrase is often used when one denies their opponent’s advantage or downplays received damage.
Spam refers to a Monty Python sketch in which an old lady attempts to order food at a cafe, but does not like spam. Although spam is not actually included in every item on the menu, the frequent use of the word drowns out any options that do not include the word spam. Online the word is used to let others know they are repeating a word too much.