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2:46pm on Wednesday, 2nd July, 2014:

The Emperor's New Clothes


It was the first of the last reunion shows of Monty Python's Flying Circus yesterday. Before it, newspapers were wondering if the team would be as funny as they were 40 years ago. The answer seemed pretty clear to me: yes. This is because they weren't funny 40 years ago, either.

You either get Monty Python or you don't. I don't. I liked Life of Brian and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but not their TV show. I just didn't find it funny. Some of their sketches had interesting ideas (Bicycle Repair Man is saying that if everyone has power, no-one has it — but then Gilbert & Sullivan said the same thing the previous century). Some of their performances were entertaining (I loved Michael Palin in the Spanish Inquisition). An interesting concept and an entertaining performance don't make for humour, though. I know what the Dead Parrot sketch is about, but I don't find it funny. Likewise, the Lumberjack Song is an exercise in absurdity, but if you want absurd then Laurel and Hardy are pushing a piano across a rope bridge in Switzerland when a gorilla appears in their way.

Whenever I tell people who do like Monty Python that I never found them funny, they usually say something along the lines of "not even the <something> sketch?". No, sorry, not even the <something> sketch. I guess there could be a funny one I didn't see because I'd stopped watching the programme owing to its unfunniness, but none of the well-known ones appeal. I'm sure there are people who genuinely do like Monty Python, as there are those who say they like it in order not to appear humourless. I'm just not among them.

Still, you can't argue with the success off a team that is responsible for the fact that every pet python in the UK is called Monty.

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