Monty Python  

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The phrase "every sperm is sacred", taken from the Monty Python song of the same name, has become proverbial in the abortion debate. Pro-choice activists have sung the song outside abortion clinics to ridicule their opponents, legal scholars have alluded to it in discussions of women's reproductive rights, and it is used generally to do what has been described as "[exposing] the absurdity of the anti-choice argument when taken to its extreme" ("Body Narratives, Body Boundaries" (1992) by Emily Martin)

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Monty Python, or The Pythons, is the collective name of the creators of Monty Python's Flying Circus, a British television comedy sketch show that first aired on the BBC on 5 October 1969. A total of 45 episodes were made over four series. The Python phenomenon developed from the original television series into something much larger in scope and impact, spawning touring stage shows, four films, numerous albums, several books and a spin-off stage musical, and launching the members on to individual stardom.

The television series, broadcast by the BBC from 1969 to 1974, was conceived, written and performed by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. Loosely structured as a sketch show but with an innovative stream-of-consciousness approach (aided by Terry Gilliam's animations), it pushed the boundaries of what was then considered acceptable, both in terms of style and content.




The show that started the Python phenomenon. See also List of Monty Python's Flying Circus episodes
Two 45-minute specials made by WDR for West German television. The first was recorded in German, while the second was in English with German dubbing.
Six one-hour specials, each episode presenting the best of one member's work.


There were five Monty Python productions released as theatrical films:

A collection of sketches from the first and second TV series of Monty Python's Flying Circus re-enacted and shot for film.
King Arthur and his knights embark on a low-budget search for the Holy Grail, encountering humorous obstacles along the way. Some of these turned into standalone sketches.
Brian is born on the first Christmas, in the stable next to Jesus'. He spends his life being mistaken for a messiah.
A videotape recording directed by Terry Hughes of a live performance of sketches. Originally intended for a TV/video special. Transferred to 35mm and given a limited theatrical release in the US.
An examination of the meaning of life in a series of sketches from conception to death and beyond.



  • Monty Python's Flying Circus – Between 1974 and 1980 (Live at the Hollywood Bowl was released in 1982, but was performed in 1980) the Pythons made three sketch-based stage shows, comprising mainly material from the original television series.
  • Monty Python's Spamalot – Written by Idle directed by Mike Nichols, with music and lyrics by John Du Prez and Idle, and starring Hank Azaria, Tim Curry, and David Hyde Pierce, Spamalot is a musical adaptation of the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It ran in Chicago from 21 December 2004 to 23 January 2005, and began performances on Broadway on 17 March 2005. It won three Tonys.
  • Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy) – The Toronto Symphony Orchestra commissioned Idle and John Du Prez to write the music and lyrics of an oratorio based on Monty Python's Life of Brian. Entitled Not the Messiah, it had its world premiere as part of Luminato, a "festival of arts and creativity" taking place 1–10 June 2007 in Toronto. Not the Messiah was conducted by Peter Oundjian, Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, who is Idle's cousin. It was performed by a narrator, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, with guest soloists and choir. According to Idle, "It will be funnier than Handel, though not as good".
  • Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go - (1-5, 15-16, 18–20 July 2014) The Pythons have stated this is the last live reunion of the remaining members of Monty Python. Held at London's O2 arena, tickets for the first night's show sold out in 43 seconds. The set list included a mix of live performances of their most popular skits, clips from their shows, and elaborate dance numbers. Each night featured a different celebrity "victim" of the Blackmail sketch.


  • Monty Python's Big Red Book (1971) ISBN 0-413-29520-6.
  • The Brand New Monty Python Bok (1973) ISBN 0-7493-1170-3.
  • Monty Python and The Holy Grail (Book) (1977) ISBN 0-413-38520-5.
  • The Life of Brian/MONTYPYTHONSCRAPBOOK (1979, plus script-only reprint) ISBN 0-413-46550-0.
  • The Complete Works of Shakespeare and Monty Python. Volume One - Monty Python (1981) ISBN 978-0-413-49450-4.
  • Monty Python: The Case Against (by Robert Hewison) (1981)
  • Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life (1983)
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus – Just The Words Volume 1 (1989) ISBN 0-413-62540-0.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus – Just The Words Volume 2 (1989) ISBN 0-413-62550-8.
  • The Fairly Incomplete & Rather Badly Illustrated Monty Python Song Book (1994) ISBN 0-413-69000-8
  • Monty Python's Fligender Zirkus (edited by Alfred Biolek) (1998)
  • Monty Python Speaks! (edited by David Morgan) (1999)
  • A Pocketful Of Python Volume 1 (edited by Terry Jones) (1999)
  • A Pocketful Of Python Volume 2 (edited by John Cleese) (1999)
  • A Pocketful Of Python Volume 3 (edited by Terry Gilliam) (2000)
  • A Pocketful Of Python Volume 4 (edited by Michael Palin) (2000)
  • A Pocketful Of Python Volume 5 (edited by Eric Idle) (2002)
  • The Pythons' Autobiography By The Pythons (edited by Bob McCabe) (2003, plus various reformatted editions)
  • Monty Python Live! (2009)
  • Monty Python At Work (by Michael Palin, compilation of republished diary entries) (2014)

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Monty Python" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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