It was 1976 or ’77. I used to go with my friend Lori to keep her company while she babysat. There was no cable in those days, so the only thing we could find on TV at 11:00 besides the news was this show on channel 5 that had people turning into Scotsmen, blancmanges that wanted to win Wimbledon, and other crazy antics. Lori didn’t like it and kept trying to get me to change the channel, but I couldn’t stop watching; even though I didn’t understand what was going on, I knew I liked it. Eventually, I found out that this odd show was Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
I was hooked. Over the years, I would watch it whenever I could find it on TV. I saw all the movies. I taped what I could off the TV. I finally got the show and the movies on DVD. I could recite the dialog in the sketches, complete with British accent. I read books about the group and the guys. I even have a bit of a crush on Michael Palin. You could say I’m a fan.
Which is why Sunday found me and my brother, who is just as much a fan, at a movie theater in Bowie to see the live feed of the final Monty Python show ever. They did all the favorites: Dead Parrot Sketch, Cheese Shop, Argument Clinic, Four Yorkshiremen, the Lumberjack Song, and of course the Spanish Inquisition. The show format was different from the shows they did in the past. They still had Terry G.’s animation and a couple of the filmed bits they showed at the Hollywood Bowl show, but this show had a group of dancers who did production numbers for some of the bits. I’m not entirely sure I liked the production numbers, but it was a new way to look at the sketches. They even found a way to incorporate footage of Graham into the show.
At the end of the show, the screen at the arena showed “Doctor Graham Chapman 1941-1989” followed by “Monty Python 1969-2014.” I have to admit, when I saw that, I had, uh, something in my eye. Yeah, that’s it. Even though they split up years ago, it’s sad to think that they’ll definitely never do anything together again. Monty Python influenced countless comedians, but there will never be another group like them. Goodbye, guys. It’s been a great time.