To tell the truth, I’m not certain how I first became aware of them. I suspect it was by going to a cinema to see Monty Python’s Life of Brian, but I wouldn’t swear to it. (I would swear to not having known how cultish both Monty Python and the Life of Brian were though.) What is certain is the fact that when they began broadcasting their old TV programmes in this country, I was living in a gaff unequipped with a TV. For all I know, they may have broadcast the whole four series; I only saw two or three programmes when visiting my parents. But I loved them. It was exactly my kind of humour.
Later I have seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Brian (one of the best films of all times as far as I’m concerned) for a second time, but oddly I had read the screenplay of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life before seeing it. (Amazing how Every Sperm is Sacred, which in the book seemed should be just embarrasing, turned out to be one of the best parts of the film itself.)
Similarly, I had read the screenplays of the TV series and even Monty Python speaks! before I saw more of the programmes. I fell in love with the famous phrase “And now for something completely different” through reading, rather than hearing it. I could appreciate the verbal humour of the dead parrot sketch but had no idea what the “silly walk” looked like. And so on.
And then I came online and discovered not only YouTube, where of course there are a lot of their sketches, including those at their official YT page, but also their own fansite. In fact, I created one of my first Web accounts, maybe the very first save for email addresses, at the latter. Anyway, I spent hours browsing their sketches.
Only trouble was, several years have passed since I had read the screenplays, in translation for that matter, and I pretty often didn’t understand their English. So last year I bought the book and read it again, in the original this time. I was especially glad to find the words of what I consider the funniest bit of all the TV series.
Cut to BBC World symbol.
Voice Over (MICHAEL): Well, it’s five past nine and nearly time for six past nine. On BBC 2 now it’ll shortly be six and a half minutes past nine. Later on this evening it’ll be ten o’clock and at 10.30 we’ll be joining BBC 2 in time for 10.33, and don’t forget tomorrow when it’ll be 9.20. Those of you who missed 8.45 on Friday will be able to see it again this Friday at a quarter to nine. Now here is a time check. It’s six and a half minutes to the big green thing.
Naturally, I also tried to find as much of each programme as I could and watch it with the “reference” in my hands. I spent several pleasant hours like that again. I even came across some uploads with subtitles, making it easier and thus even more enjoyable.
Let me finish with a link to an upload of the only one of the two or three programmes I saw all those years ago on TV I still remembered having seen – because of two things I have never forgotten: the final reading scene and one of my other favourite sketches, “rival documentaries”. Its beginning on the hill is one of the many priceless Monty Python sequences.