A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


I saw part of the John Cleese "Monty Python's Personal Best" on PBS over the weekend. My god that show was funny-- I haven't seen any Python in a while, so I know-- cerebrally-- that it is a hoot, but there is a huge difference between remembering that and actually experiencing it again. There were several amusing bits-- the local ladies group reenacting Pearl Harbor by wailing on each other with purses in the middles of a muddy field, the fish slapping dance-- and then the crown jewel. The Upper Class Twit of the Year competition.

It has been a while since I laughed myself to tears, but that skit had me there after the first event-- the straight line. I think it's Michael Palin who comes up to the straight line, which the twits have to walk, and just falls over. Several times.

Then the matchbox jump. Graham Chapman's face for Oliver St. John-Mollusc as he tries to jump the "wall" of three-high matchboxes is absolutely priceless. As is Cleese's narration of the whole absurd thing.

Ah lordy. The chemistry and genius of those six lads working together was incalcuable-- SNL, Second City, The Boys in the Hall all had fabulously funny moments, but their best does not rise to the level of the best of the Flying Circus.

That said, the "in between bits" with John Cleese (supposedly 93 years old) were chuckle worthy at best. I found myself hoping that the "commentary" would be brief so I could see more of the classic MPFC bits.

All six episodes (one for each living Python, and one group effort to commemorate Chapman) will be available on DVD later this year-- a purchase I already have earmarked.


Upper class twit of the year has been stuck in my memory since I first saw it back in the 70's. Seeing it again after so much time, I wasn't surprised to find that like you, it had me laughing after the first event. And not just laughing. Rolling on the floor with eyes watering I laughed so hard.

As jaded as we all are these days, as overexposed as we've become from a full diet of the rubbish on TV, still these skits that lampoon the absurdness that is all around us find my funny bone and give it a thwack. Perhaps it's even because we are exposed to so much pretensious, overblown crap that the Twit skit especially strikes me as hilarious. These TV shows with their crime drama and horror situations seem so fake and melodramatic. So forced.

Along comes MPFC, and shines the light of clarity and truth on the whole mess, and I laugh and laugh.
UCTY may be the funniest skit ever. Dead parrot shop, the argument clinic, the Lumberjack Song, etc., etc., are all great, but for sheer hilarity combined with brilliant societal satirization... well, I can't think of anything I'd say was better.

Welcome back, Jack! Good to see you still pop in from time to time.
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