I don't remember all the details (I saw it years and years ago) but there is a skit where two professors are debating the literary worth of some book while chasing each other alongside a moving car. The viewer sees them inside the car through the window as it speeds along. Initially one of the professors runs alongside, passionately explaining to the viewer his position about the book in question. Then the other professor catches up, tackles him and in turn runs alongside, passionately explaining his position. The first professor catches up, tackles the second professor, and resumes his argument where he left off. This is repeated several times. The arguments are actually, as I recall, very articulate, and earnest and sincere. But of course the whole thing is absurd and ends just as suddenly as it begins when the show abruptly cuts from the sketch to some other sketch. Absolutely brilliant. Cracks me up every time I think about it.
Oh this sounds dandy (Thanks @1!!). A cyber fireside chat where Sloggers swap Monty Python memories. I'm going on a beer run, but please fill me in when I get back.
no one expects the spanish inquisition
Seduced milkman sketch.
Sorry to be a buzzkill, but I never found Monty Python all that funny when it was new, and quite frankly am sick to death of it 40 years later. Ditto for pretty much all the British comedy shows KCTS repeats incessantly...
Salad Days, Philosophy Food Ball, and Woody and Tinny Words.
Quest for the Holy Grail was the first Python I ever saw. Have loved all things Python ever since.
Salad Days, Philosophy Foot Ball, and Woody and Tinny Words.
Cheese Shop
It's been so long that I almost don't remember NOT being a Python fan. That said, I think it would either be the one where the art staged a walk out strike (featuring the Birth of Venus talking with a dead butch male voice) or the Lost World parody. The latter really disappointed me as a kid because I REALLY loved dinosaurs, so it felt like a bait and switch, but once I saw what they were doing, I loved it.

"Wait a moment! If we're being filmed...... then who's filming us?"
Watched "Holy Grail" at a midnight show at a theatre in the late 70s. I was a jaded teen going eh, this isn't getting it for me, until the musical number with the singing and dancing and the kicklines and then they come back and the king says, Nah, let's not go there. And from there on out I was with 'em.
#7: Yeah, I suppose that's similar to how I got into it. "Life of Brian" is where it really started with me, but I didn't consider myself a hardcore fan until I started watching the series, starting with "And Now for Something Completely Different."
Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion chatting at the laundrymat:

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.
#12: How many times can I use a variation of the word "start" in one post?
And now...the larch.
I actually heard Monty Python long before I ever saw them - Barry Hansen (AKA Dr. Demento) was playing cuts from the various Python albums (Spam, Eric The Half A Bee, The Lumberjack song, et al) on his nationally syndicated radio program in the early-to-mid 1970's, several years before "Holy Grail" hit the big screens in the U.S.
The Ministry of Silly Walks!
They ran on local PBS when I was pretty young, but the Olympic bits were the first I really remember landing. Then as a teenager the films sealed the deal. Terry Gilliam's early art would be a huge influence on me as well.
probably the dead parrot, although I do love the Bruces/Philosopher's Song

'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 love you @15.

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.
Conrad Poohs and his Dancing Teeth.

And, The Bishop.
I was too young to really get the show when I first watched it on PBS, so it was really through video rentals of the movies that I first came to really appreciate them. One summer we watched the Meaning of Life just about every night for weeks.
I think Life of Brian was the first Python I saw and I was an instant convert.
Our chief weapons are Fear, Torture & Proust
My mother raised me right - on a steady diet of Monty Python, Doctor Who, and Dark Shadows - from so early I couldn't tell you when. But if I had to come up with the first sketch at the top of my head it would have to be Dinsdale and the giant hedgehog. I love the interview with the guy who got his head nailed to the floor by Dinsdale. The was the first episode in which I saw that the whole thing, while seemingly random while watching, is just a giant circle. It blew my mind.
Like @22 I was really too young to remember or understand the show as a kid but I do remember my mother laughing her head off at The Fish Slapping Dance and Climbing the North Face of Uxbridge Road. When I got older, Holy Grail and especially Life Brian cemented my love of Python ... and there's just something about guys dressing up as ordinary women that makes me grin.
The Twit Olympics and the Queen Victoria Race (where a bunch of guys dressed as Queen Victoria ran out of the starting gate - hilarious) (and, believe it or not, the race was won by Queen Victoria.)
If I had to single out one skit I think it would be the sex ed class from the Meaning of Life.
I had seen various sketches prior, but I didn't become a hardcore fan until I watched The Life of Brian. It wasn't just a comedy to me, the political and (especially) religious satire were so cutting and perfectly on-point, that it changed (or at least strongly reaffirmed) my outlook on life, death, politics and religion.
The fish-slapping dance.
I first saw Monty Python while an exchange student in England in 1970, I remember spuddering, "You can't do that on TV!" and laughing so hard I fell off my chair.

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.

I can't remember, but I was in my mid/early teens in the mid 70s and always stoned when we watched it at my friend's house, or wishing we were stoned. When gettin high was fun.
31: Crelm Toothpaste.

"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!
Dead Parrot & Cheese Shop
The blancmange playing tennis and eating its opponents. That shit was flat weird.
The housewives wondering where the penguin on the telly came from.
Argument Clinic on Dr. Demento.
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'm a lumberjack and I'm okay.
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."

Lemming of the BDA.
I was thinking about my teenage Anglicization just today what with all the hubbub around Downton Abbey. Funny, but your history of Python-phila matches mine nearly to a tee.

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...


Ok I broke italics.


"Nobody expects the Inquisition!"
Arrrg, how has no one mentioned the "Beethoven and his mynah bird" sketch? That one was the best.
"Ludwig!! Have you seen the sugar bowl!?!?!?"…
Italia fine?
@43 Make that the "Spanish Inquisition"!
A high school friend of mine put on Life of Brian at a party: as disaffected teenage Catholics, it was tailor-made to delight. But what really got me was the bit with Pontius Pilate and his friend Biggus Dickus. Not only because of the ridiculous speech impediment -- though that and a penis joke is High Humor when you're fifteen -- but the canny, bastardish look on Pilate's face while he's deliberately trying to provoke his guards into laughing at him so he can have them fired/tortured/crucified. It's a joke at the expense of a joke. We rewound and watched that scene at least a dozen times.
I apparently tuned in right at the beginning of its run on KCTS. So the one that hooked me was Confuse-a-Cat, Ltd. It just got better from there.
Upper Class Twit of the Year Competition

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 Lumberjack Song. That's a classic.
I can't remember the first.. but they've been part of my very bloodstream since I was a tyke, right along with Dr. Who (Tom Baker, of course), and Coronation Street (look it up).

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.
And now, No. @15...The Larch. The...Larch.
"I kicked the ball, Brian. And there is was, in the back of the net."
I don't remember far enough back to recall a time when I was not a python fan, or which sketch did it for me.

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".
"How not to be seen".
Ok - slightly off on the quote, but watched it again and it still makes me laugh. Would be fun to redo with a Seahawk....
Probably some skit which featured graham chapman. Jesus christ, that man was funny
How thrilled you must have been to see Eric Idle. Just great.

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.
...the .. larch.

(and the argument sketch)
I can;t see video on this contraption. Which was your choice, Goldy?
No love for Election Night Special?

Shocked, I am.
Still, I ground my teeth more than a few times over the years at the seemingly endless stream of co-workers in different jobs who would soliloquize different bits in falsetto, to no apparent stimulus, over the cube walls/standing at the urinals/down the hall/in the back seat of the car on the way to lunch.

"What is your name and what is your quest?"

"Red! No, blue!"

Three, sir!
Probably "The Spanish Inquisition". My mother was not a huge Python fan, but watching that episode with its recurring bits of "NOBODY EXPECTS..." etc. had her giggling more and more at each iteration...until she literally fell off the couch laughing at the final sting of "NOBODY EXPECTS THE SP...oh, bugger."
@39: "Isn't that right, Flopsy?


*BANG* of revolver shot

"That'll teach you to play hard-to-get!!"
"There's a penguin on the telly."

"I've had more gala luncheons than you've had hot dinners."

Handbags (which has entered the language as slang for "ineffectual fighting").
"That's not Picasso that's Kandinsky"
"I'd tax all the people in my bed. No, hold on, not tax...what is the word...what is the word? Ah, right, 'welcome.'"

And, of course, "Oh shit, it's Mr. Creosote." I mean how bad could it possibly be?
How Not To Be Seen. Political humor at its darkest.
The Planets Song is wonderful, but the clip that got me interested involved lots of Keep Left arrows. Holy Grail got me hooked.

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.
The one that made me a lifelong convert was whichever skit I saw first, back in my early teens, in the early 70s. It might well have been the Mexican standoff in the Cheese shop leading into the rousing chorus of "Lemming, of the B.D.A. (It's a man's life, in the British Dental Association)"
I used to stay up late with my dad and watch Monty Python on PBS (at probably 11 or 12 years old). Sketches that I remember particularly fondly include Self Defense against fruit and The Restaurant Sketch. I guess I really like John Cleese shouting. Oh, and there was one really strange one that's set in a courtroom, and one of the people they call to testify is Cardinal Richelieu ONLY HE IS REALLY A CARDINAL RICHELIEU IMPERSONATOR. Also John Cleese dances and sings about how he'd be an engine driver, were he not before the bar. That was one of the strangest ones, but it caught me.
Confuse a Cat. "The Bishop" sketch had me in stitches..

"Okay, Devious. Don't Move"
Dead Parrot. That's the one that did it for me.
Me dad was from England, so I started watching with him when I was pretty young. My earliest memory was the Twit Olympics.
As a 30-year-old, I came to Python well after they had completed their run and my (and many others') love started with Holy Grail. The moment at which I realized they were true geniuses, however, was when I watched the first episode of Flying Circus. The Funniest Joke In the World is fucked in its brilliance.…
Crunchy Frog on an LP I bought in about 1978 when I was 14.
Either "The Argument Clinic" or "Self Defense Against Fresh Fruit."

"When you're walkin' home tonight and some homicidal maniac comes after you with a bunch of loganberries, don't come cryin' to me!"

the 'matching tie and handkerchief' three-sided album. 'oh, don't be so sentimental, mother, people explode every day.'
I met a girl named Lupine many years ago. We became friends immediately when I asked her if her name was like the flower in the Roger Moore sketch instead of like so many people before her if it was like wolf.
I am bookmarking this post, because I have a late night on youtube ahead of me. Thank you, thank you all for reminding me of so many great skits!!!

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!
'Now, I've had the managing director of Conquistador to see me this morning and he's very unhappy with your campaign. Very unhappy. In fact, he shot himself.'

'Badly, sir?'

'No, extremely well.'

*Lifts up corpse's leg from behind the desk*
Also, 'Politicians: An Apology'. Because it's always true.…
Dear gawd. When I was in junior high school (what you youngsters now call "Middle School", I believe) me and my friends stayed up until eleven PM (usually by faking going to bed when our parents did, then sneaking downstairs to the television room) so we could watch 'The Benny Hill Show'. We thought the jokes were hilarious, but we really lived for the cheesecake- a slice of tit here, a bit of tush there.

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"
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.
I'm with @16 Spam,The Argument Clinic & The Lumberjack Song on Dr.Demento did it for me. I was hooked.

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.
Took me a while to remember, but it was Meaning of Life.
the one where Graham Chapman's a farmer who's sheep are trying to learn to fly. specifically, it was Terry Jones' line "Those are sheep, aren't they? Only, why are they up in the trees?"
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.
Ministry of Funny Walks; Cleese's deadpan while doing outrageous physical moves is choice.
@87: "Notice that they do not so much fly, as plummet."
@84: The accurate line is "OH, INTERCOURSE THE PENGUIN!" Not bieng pedantic, it's just a lot funnier.
The Most Awful Family in Britain (parts I and II). Amazing that now, it is a reality show.

More beans Mah!
"And now, it is time for the penguin on top of your television set to explode."

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.
I saw "life of Brian" and loved it.
The vicious gangs of Keep Left signs.
"There! Poor Flopsy's dead, and never called me mother."
I take it back, it was The Funniest Joke in the World.
The fish slapping dance.
Actually, it was probably "How Not To Be Seen." The fish slapping dance made me laugh the hardest though.
I couldn't say which one, because I started seeing them so young (like age 6 or 7 in the mid 70s). I know that the one with John Cleese as the really stupid boxer boxing a little girl made me laugh uncontrollably for about five minutes.
As far as seeing Eric Idle live, he performed at the Paramount back in 2000. I was in attendance but I guess Goldy was not.

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