Saturday 3 December 2016

The parrot is dead but the Python
genius is still alive

Despite dire predictions, the Pythons have staged a triumphant and lucrative reunion

Published 20/07/2014 | 02:30

What have the Pythons ever done for us? Well, given us enduring catchphrases for a start, and their appeal has seen them sell out a series of shows at London’s O2
What have the Pythons ever done for us? Well, given us enduring catchphrases for a start, and their appeal has seen them sell out a series of shows at London’s O2

The Pythons - John Cleese (74), Eric Idle (71), Michael Palin (71), Terry Jones (72) and animator Terry Gilliam (73) - may be old, but they're smart. When they announced last year they would be having a reunion this July, they had a predictable torrent of abuse and ridicule. So, to reassure fans that age had not withered their enjoyment of bad taste, they tipped their caps to their long-deceased colleague Graham Chapman by calling the new show Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go. Being members of the celebrity establishment, they were able to deflect obvious jibes by persuading Mick Jagger (70) to sneer at them as "a bunch of wrinkly old men trying to relive their youth and make a load of money."

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They emerged on stage from a police box called 'Retardis', thus demonstrating that they were making age a virtue, and they had developed politically incorrect material for a new generation steeped in feminism and anti-racism.

So 'The Penis Song' ("Isn't it awfully nice to have a penis/Isn't it frightfully good to have a dong?") was amplified to mock vaginas, and their jaundiced eyes were directed at the Chinese, their traditional rudeness and their ubiquitousness. ("I like Chinese, I like Chinese/They only come up to your knees/Yet they're always friendly, and they're ready to please/I like Chinese, I like Chinese/There's nine hundred million of them in the world today/You'd better learn to like them, that's what I say").

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