The Monty Python team are often referred to as ‘comedy’s Beatles’. Sometimes this is even by people who aren’t one of the five surviving members. And while The Beatles have had many authors write about the band’s rise, not much of this has come from the Fab Four themselves.
This new book has input from all six Python’s, one of which is presumably writing from the grave, on their exploits when they took the show out of a BBC studio, and into England, Canada and to some very confused Americans. Half of the book is full of memories and stories from people who were part of the touring team, and most of these involve Graham Chapman doing something which is unprintable here.
The other section has all of the favourite sketches in script form, as well as some of the lesser known ones and in the great Python tradition, some that just make no sense. A good thing about having the stories straight from the people who were there is that there’s little censorship. The rifts within the troupe are frankly discussed, as well as Chapman’s alcoholism but there is a sense of peace throughout the book. All of the people involved are now at least in their sixties, and understand that they were part of something wonderful.
The book is probably worth getting just for the sketches, which can be used to make sure that a personal performance of ‘Dead Parrot’ is word-for-word, but the contributions make this a worthy read for anyone who’s ended a seemingly innocent sentence with nudge nudge.
By Angus Randall
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