Fans of a certain age know that quote by heart, it’s become ingrained in their DNA. In fact, I’ll wager that several of you blurted it out in its original falsetto… you couldn’t help yourself! If you’re scratching your head, wondering what I’m talking about, I’m sorry. Allow me to explain.
The line is from the classic parody-allegory-fantasy-comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), which is the most-quotable movie ever made, in my opinion. It’s also one of the funniest, and it’s coming to Netflix later this year — along with everything else from the legendary British comedy troupe.
If you’re not familiar with Monty Python, prepare to change your summertime plans — it’s going to take that long to get through all their stuff. Once you start watching, good luck tuning out.
The group was formed in 1969 in Hampstead, England, consisting of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin (and later American illustrator Terry Gilliam). Over the years they’ve produced dozens of TV specials, feature films, live stage shows, books, songs, and countless comedy sketches, which are plastered all over YouTube — here’s several now:
Monty Python collectively preceded just about every major comedy series on TV, aside from Laugh-In. What makes their particular brand of situational humor work is how they elevate the absurd; they berate and belittle just about every norm in British society, from the street cleaner to the Prime Minister. They’ve been called “the Beatles of comedy,” and their work has informed Saturday Night Live, South Park, In Living Color, and more, according to CNN.
The author of several Python books, Kim Johnson, relates:
[The comedy] was completely original — fresh and anarchic. Python has the ability to transcend generations. They never had the widest audience, but they had the hippest audience.”
The Python movies — Holy Grail, Life of Brian, Meaning of Life, And Now For Something Completely Different — are timeless comedies, which fits well with Netflix’s nostalgia-centric content strategy. Fans will also be pleased to learn that all of the above films, and a mountain of other Python-related content, will hit Netflix in UK and Canada on April 15, and will arrive in the U.S. later this year.
Comedy fans unfamiliar with their work should start with Holy Grail, which is Monty Python at its most diabolical and unhinged — a combination of documentary footage married to historically-themed sketches that deliver a scorching takedown of modern British society (in the mid-70s). Its humor is so outlandish that even if you have no reference point for traditional English customs the bizarre characters, dialog, and slapstick more than compensate.
Monty Python is precisely the kind of content that Netflix should continue to seek out. The streaming service’s diverse subscriber base surely contains new and old Python fans, but also new generations of potential fans who can connect with the material at a whole new level.
In parting, here’s one last Python quote from the classic parrot sketch with John Cleese:
It’s not pining, it’s passed on! This parrot is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! This is a late parrot! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to the perch, it would be pushing up the daisies! It’s rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-parrot!”