How Monty Python Influenced the Comedy World

Graphic by Jake Baron 13

Graphic by Jake Baron ’13

John Watson ’12
Staff Writer

It has been roughly 35 years since the British comedy group “Monty Python” stopped producing work.  Over the years we have been presented with many copycats and renditions trying to follow in their surreal footprints.

Graphic by Jake Baron '13

To put it simply, all have crashed, burned, and are still on fire.

Since the end of “Monty Python,” the quality of odd humor has dropped to the point where it’s all poor–quality parodies of good movies.

The “Monty Python” group created a whole new variety of comedy, poking fun at nearly every culture along the way. Monty Python made fun of religion with “The Life of Brian,” a story in which a random baby is mistaken for the messiah. In protest his mother says, “He can’t be the messiah; he’s a very naughty boy.” The group’s new surreal comedy created 45 episodes of “Flying Circus,” and five full length movies. The Oxford Dictionary added a new word to the list, “pythonesque,” in tribute to the group’s 30th anniversary. Monty Python also had a massive affect in the technological world, with a whole computer language based around “Monty Python references. The group has even had a species of large snake named after it.

The “Monty Python” group was one of the most influential comedy groups, having massive fan bases in both the U.S. and the U.K. Monty Python not only managed to start a comedic revolution but also blew open the doors for other popular British comedies and shows to enter the U.S. Monty Python is considered by some today to be the equivalent of the Beatles in its effect on modern comedy pop culture.

The group managed to fulfill its self–proclaimed goal — to offend every possible culture and race while remaining impossibly funny. God was often a participant in many of “Monty Python”’s bigger movies, often yelling at actors for not looking at him and for whining about how “we’re not worthy.”

The comedy show created dozens of inside jokes understood by anyone with even a basic understanding of Monty Python. The group is well known for ending skits by simply having a police officer enter, read a long, well–deserved list of charges, only to be interrupted by another officer. Because of “Monty Python,” the mention of words such as “parrot” and “spam” can bring a group of people laughing to tears.

Monty Python was not only amazingly funny, but also taught important life lessons.

One such would be how not to be seen, and therefore shot, blown up, and so on—the answer being NOT to stand up. They also taught the average suburbanite how to go about purchasing a fish license for your pet fish Eric. Monty Python even taught you how you should seek a government grant to help you develop your silly walk. They were truly the funniest group to ever grace television.

In the absence of “Monty Python,” we have been barraged with a constant slew of comedies poking fun at everyone from penguins to superheroes. Some of the bigger films of this variety were those of the “Movie” franchise, bringing you such a titles as “Epic Movie,” “Superhero Movie,” and “Meet the Spartans,” all of which were terrible.

In short, no group has ever offended as many people as “Monty Python” did, while remaining comedic, tasteful and well–loved.

So in honor of the first group to both curse on the radio and drop the f–bomb at a funeral, I “fart in your general direction.”