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"Wait a moment! If we're being filmed...... then who's filming us?"
Mrs. C: Good morning Mrs. Premise.
Mrs. P: Oh, good morning Mrs. Conclusion.
Mrs. C: Busy Day?
Mrs. P: Oh, the busiest! I just spent four hours burying the cat!
Mrs. C: Four hours to bury a cat?
Mrs. P: Yes! The damn thing wouldn't hold still.
Mrs. C: I know just what you mean. We had to put our budgie down last year.
Mrs. P: Was it sick?
Mrs. C: No, we just didn't like it.
It just goes on and on from there. Loved that sketch and it made me a big fan of MP.
'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
I don't remember what I saw first but these are some of my favorites: The Undertakers, The Cheese Shop, The Dead Parrot, the Holy Grail, and The Life of Brian.
And, The Bishop.
I remember (or are misremembering) an animation of America's policy in Vietnam, that was represented somehow by teeth.
Later, while living in New York, I was excited by the opening of the first Python film, before the series aired on public TV, so I and my boyfriend of the period were few among those attending one screening.
"When one country or tooth falls victim to international communism, its neighbors soon follow. In dentistry, this is known as Domino Theory. But with american defense the decay is stopped before it starts and that's why nine out of ten small countries choose American defense. Or Crelm toothpaste with the miracle ingredient, Fraudulin!
Ministry of Silly Walks.
Holy Grail. Possibly the witch sketch or setting alight the Grail-shaped beacon of Castle Anthrax ("It's not a very good name, is it?").
I cut down trees, I skip and jump,
I like to press wild flowers.
I put on women's clothing,
And hang around in bars."
I was raised on the great BBC shows of the early 1970s on PBS in NYC. The Ascent of Man. Upstairs, Downstairs. And Python went it came on. They were my great relief when the truly funny and great TV shows of the 1960s gave way to the terrible ones of the 1970 (ABC mostly).
I was long a fan of dark and absurdist comedy, especially the British sort. Peter Sellers, the Beatles Christmas albums, Marty Feldman, Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore. (Not to mention the literary works.) I would beg to have my parents let me stay up on any night where there was a late showing of What's New Pussycat, The Touchables, The Loved One or Casino Royale (1967).
So, I was a fan as soon as the show aired, but of all the sketches, the one that threw me to the ground with a laughter pin hold had to be their fantastic send up of The Saint...
"Ludwig!! Have you seen the sugar bowl!?!?!?"
Prior to that I thought Flying Circus was fun to watch, but after that skit I realized just how many levels they were working on.
The major difference between British and American humor, of course, is that Americans tend to make fun of someone else, and Brits tend to make fun of themselves.
On the other hand, I am very aware that the sketch with which I introduced my impressionable young kids to them was "How Not to Be Seen".
My initiation came when I was eight or nine years old. One night after a Northwest Boyschoir rehearsal during which I was once again not singled out as a star, I turned on channel 9 and there was a little sketch in which a woman sees her husband out the door to work in the morning. The moment she closes the door on him her lover leaps out of the wardrobe in his underwear. It was funny and titillating at the same time, so I was hooked.
(and the argument sketch)
Shocked, I am.
"What is your name and what is your quest?"
"Red! No, blue!"
*BANG* of revolver shot
"That'll teach you to play hard-to-get!!"
"I've had more gala luncheons than you've had hot dinners."
Handbags (which has entered the language as slang for "ineffectual fighting").
And, of course, "Oh shit, it's Mr. Creosote." I mean how bad could it possibly be?
The single most bizarre Python moment for me was watching Holy Grail while an exchange student in Hungary. It was subtitled, so the audience of college students would read ahead, starting to laugh before the punchline--I was laughing at them, and then at the correctly timed line in English. They all thought I was nuts and it was great.
"Okay, Devious. Don't Move"
"When you're walkin' home tonight and some homicidal maniac comes after you with a bunch of loganberries, don't come cryin' to me!"
I, too, can't really remember the one that first got me hooked on Monty Python. I was pretty young when it was played on PBS, but my dad was a huge fan and let me up late to watch it, and my mom didn't think it was appropriate for a nine year old, so it was already high in my book then! My earliest memory of really belly-roll laughing was the Upper Class Twit race, which was so dark and over my little head but SO absurd!
'No, extremely well.'
*Lifts up corpse's leg from behind the desk*
Then we discovered 'Monty Python's Flying Circus'. The same weird humor that we suffered through, just for the occasional bare boob.
And one evening, this.
"Wot's that penguin doin' on the telebishion set, then?"
"I can see that, but wot's it doin' there?"
"I suppose it came from the zoo."
"No it dinnit, if it did it would have 'Property of the Zoo' stamped on it."
"No it wouldn't! You can't stamp a huge lion 'Property of the Zoo'!"
"They stamp them when they're small!"
"What about when they molt?"
"Lions don't molt!"
"No, but penguins do! There! I run rings 'round you, logically"
"BUGGER THE PENGUIN ON THE TELLY!"
Announcer: "Well it's just after ten pee emm, and time for the penguin on your television set to explode."
"How did 'e know that was goin' to 'appen?"
Announcer: "It was an inspired guess."
Forty years later, and I can still (mostly) recall the entire thing.
When I saw Flying Circus, I added the Upper Class English Twit of the Year, The Fish Slapping Dance and the Dead Parrot. Great memories of nerd bonding in Jr high & high school.
I still remember being in high school, going over to my friend Anthony's house, I had been curious about Monty Python, and he had taped that episode off PBS.
More beans Mah!
Until I finally bought a flat-screen, I ALWAYS kept a penguin on top of my television set, and it was great fun when occasionally someone would realize why.
"There! Poor Flopsy's dead, and never called me mother."