Python Night – 30 Years of Monty Python

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Python Night
Created by John Cleese
Terry Gilliam
Eric Idle
Terry Jones
Michael Palin
Starring Graham Chapman
John Cleese
Terry Gilliam
Eric Idle
Terry Jones
Michael Palin
Carol Cleveland
Eddie Izzard
Trey Parker
Matt Stone
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 1
Production
Running time 2 hours 2 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC2
Original airing 8 October 1999
Chronology
Preceded by Monty Python Live At Aspen
Followed by Monty Python's Personal Best

Python Night – 30 Years of Python was a special run of Monty Python related programmes broadcast on BBC2 on 8 October 1999, the 30th Anniversary of the first broadcast of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

In the United States, the program was released on The Life Of Python home video. It was available on DVD and VHS tape.

Summary[edit]

  • Intro- After a cameo from the Mouse Organist, John Cleese tries to introduce the show. While he has a big rant about the 'bloody BBC', Luigi Vercotti shows up, shocks Cleese and threatens him to do Sainsbury commercials. Furthermore, Cleese suffers from the lack of budget at BBC2 (the lights go out), gets covered in blood and interrupted by Peter Sissons.
  • It's...The Monty Python Story- A documentary hosted by Eddie Izzard about the History of Monty Python, from their early lives and careers through the Flying Circus and movies to Graham Chapman's death and the question of another reunion. Features interviews from Kevin Kline, Roger Moore, Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
  • Carol Cleveland clears up Python's "sexist" behaviour and introduces a focus group made up of several people (most of them played by the Pythons) including the Gumbies, an out of focus group of women and Gandhi.
  • Mindfull Violence- An animation by Terry Gilliam (his first since Monty Python's The Meaning of Life) in which a Buddhist kills chickens through multiplication.
  • Pythonland- As a wish granted by a fairy (Eddie Izzard) to a bunch of pepperpots, Michael Palin hosts a travel documentary in which he visits places where Python sketches where filmed, such as The Fish-Slapping Dance, where the Ministry of Silly Walks started and Bicycle Repairman. The documentary ends with Palin trying to recreate the first It's man appearance by walking into the water, but he doesn't seem to come back up.
  • Talking Apes- As three apes watch television, one rants about the uselessness of sending apes human products like televisions but the other apes insist that they watch in case another 30 years later special aires.
  • BBC?- The BBC2 announcers, tired of being second best, change the station's name to BBC1.
  • The REAL Monty Python- Eric Idle gives a biography about the "real" Monty Python who started the comedy troupe before the other members turned on him.
  • May Day 1971- While searching through the trash behind BBC2 studios, Cleese unearths a lost sketch contributed from a British May Day special. He later accompanies Ken Shabby to his place.
  • The Dead Friend Sketch- South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone screen a tribute to Monty Python. The sketch is a thorough remake of the Dead Parrot Sketch,with Eric Cartman as Mr. Praline, Kyle Broflovski as the shopkeeper and Kenny McCormick as the parrot. The sketch is interrupted by a giant cut out of Terry Gilliam picking up Cartman and the Python foot crushing everything. When Parker and Stone come back, they reveal that they've kidnapped Terry Gilliam's mother in hopes to use her DNA to make Gilliam clones to work for them. Three policemen then announce the kidnapping of Gilliam's mother and ask for help.
  • From Spam to Sperm- Pop rocker Meat Loaf hosts a documentary detailing the inspiration for the songs of Monty Python such as The Lumberjack Song, Eric the Half a Bee and Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. The documentary also discusses their albums and world sketch tours.
  • Peter Sissons Interview- After being advertised all night, Peter Sissons finally sits down with the surviving Monty Python members. After introducing all five members, the interview ends.
  • Closing Bits- The Gumbies wander around England and the BBC announces its closing, forever.

Origins[edit]

After the success of the group's Aspen appearance, the group discussed doing something for the 30th anniversary. At one point there was a stage show planned, but some members felt uneasy about the idea and Eric Idle's agent had done a poor job of preparations. Eric Idle proposed the idea of doing a reunion film, in which they'd return as Knights of the Round Table, with Graham Chapman's material from CD's and recordings being used to dub a performance out of him, with Arthur's ashes as the front. The rest of the group was enthusiastic about it, and even began writing material for it. The idea died soon, though, as Cleese was against the idea of doing a new film, especially because of Chapman's passing and his feeling that he carried the film and was a better lead than any of them. Cleese instead proposed the idea of doing a special with new material, which most of the group agreed on. Eric Idle, in rebuttal was not keen on doing new material, and did not participate in it. As a result, his only contributions where filmed in Los Angeles and Eddie Izzard replaced him in group scenes with the other Pythons.

Group Reaction[edit]

Most of the group agreed the new material for the special was not of the greatest quality. Idle was also enraged by Carol Cleveland's comments on her lack of work, while Cleese thought the new material was very funny. The other members thought that, though the new sketches weren't that funny, they held a nostalgic quality because almost everyone from Flying Circus was working on the programme. Terry Jones later showed regret for the fact that he was doing it for free and didn't get paid.

External links[edit]