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Monday, May 19, 2014

Monty Python and the Limitation of Print

You’re funny, Headley,” said an unidentified person to me recently, “but you can’t hold a candle to Monty Python.”
Like most people raised in the 60s and 70s, I didn’t take offence; I only nodded my head in agreement. There isn’t/wasn’t/ever will be any human or collection of humans as funny as Monty Python. It has become an article of faith in my generation, much as Elvis’ supremacy had been to the generation preceding mine.
So I thinks to myself – how can I do what they did? What can I write that is as brilliant as Holy Grail, Life of Brian, and the Flying Circus shows?


When you love something, never try to figure out why. To have one’s faith shaken is a disturbing sensation.
Observing the scripts of Monty Python without the stork-like posturings of John Cleese,
 the quirky art of Terry Gilliam,
 the smarmy naïveté of Eric Idle,
 the bulging bombast of Graham Chapman,
 or the shrill transvestitism of Terry Jones
 is to look at a bag of Doritos after the last chip has been masticated.
As Chapman, in army uniform informed us
 it’s just silly.
(oh, and Michael Palin showed up too – but he was just a tosser.)
(What is a tosser, anyway?)
Consider this:
A man and a woman are lowered into a diner where they find that Spam is considered an essential (or several essential,) part to every menu choice. A group of Vikings interrupt the dialog with a song about Spam.
It looks like a pathetic idea there in black and white – until you add the talent…
Or, a man walks into a pet shop to complain about a parrot he’s just bought there that is dead.
Sounds like a loser, but…

How about, a man pays to have a five minute argument. Almost the entire dialog consists of the service provider denying everything his customer says until the police break the thing up for being a pathetic sketch.
Pathetic sketch or not, add the Monty Python cast and it’s…
So until I can get the surviving (and perhaps the dead,) members of Monty Python to play out Trouble in Taos, link or Volition Man, link I’ll never really know if my stories are funny or not.
And getting the Coen brothers to direct wouldn’t hurt either.

There is one sketch that I think was brilliant even read from the page.