Rolling Stone

33 Monty Python’s Flying Circus

BBC 1969-74


Never mind the bollocks, here’s the punk-rock sextet of sketch comedy. Together, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin exploded long-held beliefs about how comedy should function. Python could be simultaneo­usly highand lowbrow, like the slapstick-heavy government-satire sequence suggesting Britain had a Ministry of Silly Walks. Sketches could start and/or stop in midscene, abruptly segue into animation or meta-commentary, and go to comedic places bordering on the surreal. And for all the formal experiment­ation, Python still made you laugh until it hurt.

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