Thursday, October 22, 2009

My 20 Favorite Monty Python Sketches

I've been watching the Monty Python-a-Thon every night this week on IFC (except for Tuesday when I taped it because of Trivia Night), and have really been enjoying it, especially, "Monty Python: Almost The Truth," the six-part documentary series that is also a part of it. The five living members of the group have been extensively interviewed for it and it's been really fascinating getting the insights of their careers.

A few nights ago, they also asked some famous Python fans about what their favorite sketch is, and that got me to thinking about mine. Picking just one for me is like asking me who my favorite all-time Red Sox player is, but I gave it a whirl and came up with a Top 20 list, and I limited it to just from the TV show.

Actually, I will list my Top 5 in order, and then list the remaining 15 in no particular order. So, here goes, with the 6-20 first.

Upper Class Twit of the Year: I love the fact they give these guys guns at the end to kill themselves. Too bad nothing like this exists in real life.
Cheese Shop: Learned a lot about cheese from around the world just from all the names.
Dirty Vicar: How didn't Terry Jones win an award for this? And it's my dad's all-time favorite sketch.
Travel Agent: I'm still amazed at Eric Idle's performance as Mr. Smoke-Too-Much.
Ministry of Silly Walks: John Cleese's least favorite Python sketch, and one he'll never escape.
Michael Ellis: Love the "It is now Chris Quinn Week" at the end, as well as the sudden ending. Always think of this sketch when I see Mark Ellis of the Oakland A's, for some reason.
The Cycling Tour: Eartha Kitt makes a cameo appearance (well, not really).
Putting Things On Top Of Other Things: "Why are we wasting our lives with such nonsense?"
Science Fiction: Blancmanges try to take over the world, turn all Englishmen into Scotsmen, and nearly win Wimbledon.
Dennis Moore: Bloody lupins!!
Mr. Neutron: Teddy Salad has to go walkies.
The Killer Joke: I once tried to translate the actual joke from the German words. It's all jibberish.
The Argument: I told you once. No, you haven't...
Undertaker: One of the more controversial of all the sketches they did. Still makes me laugh out loud. "Fred, I think we've got an eater..."
Crunchy Frog: It's always made me wonder what an Iraqi frog tastes like.

And the Top 5:
5. The Piranha Brothers: Dinsdale!! Must be tough for a hedgehog who is 800 yards long to get around.
4. Dead Parrot: Sheer brilliance from John Cleese and Michael Palin. Love all the synonyms for "dead" in it.
3. Lumberjack: Crazy barber turns into a lumberjack who wears women's clothes. The least favorite sketch of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
2. Spam: This sketch always reminded me of the Marx Brothers. Total lunacy at the end. I always loved all the singers dressed as Vikings in the restaurant singing "Spam." And I always wondered what the makers of Spam thought of this sketch, which led to their beloved product becoming a byword for Internet junk. An all-time classic.

And Number One...

1. The Spanish Inquisition: Nobody expected this! Monty Python at their absolute craziest. And I always watch this sketch on New Year's Day.

I'm sure there's a great one I've left off this list. So many sketches, so little time. Thanks for all the laughs, guys.


Anonymous said...

I think you got them all pretty much, if we consider that the materials in the films can't really be called sketches, as they are part of a longer work.

The one I'd have thrown in if I were given a slot to fill would be the guy changing at the beach. Terry Jones plays a man in a striped coat and white trousers, wandering around Brighton, who every time he thinks he's found a spot to disrobe finds someone there to watch him. It builds to the point where he end up on stage with an audience before him, and he decides to disrobe to the tune of "The Stripper," ending with the legend, "It's a Man's Life Taking Your Clothes Off in Public," prompting Graham Chapman's Army Colonel to threaten the show if they keep abusing the Army's slogan of the day. (This ultimately builds to the "Lemming of the BDA" sketch,after which Graham does shut things down.)

Then again, how can you limit yourself to just 20? Tough task, that.

The Omnipotent Q said...

It was tough to limit to 20, Raginggail. I did 20 with the Twilight Zone a while back, so I thought that was a good number for Monty Python. Thanks for your feedback. I always loved Graham's "Colonel." A great recurring character.

Steel36 said...

It is amazing how brilliant you must be in order to appear so very stupid!

BTW-no mention of "The Killer Joke?"

The Omnipotent Q said...

Look closer, Steel. The "Killer Joke" is on the list...

The Angry Tech said...

Oh, but what about the Fish License?

"There's no such thing as a bloody cat license. You don't need one."

"What's this, then?"

"This is a dog license with the word dog crossed out and cat written in in crayon."

"Man didn't have the right form."

The Omnipotent Q said...

Rob, you're a loony.

Subway Squawkers said...

Monty Python? Overrated and unfunny. There, I said it.

I don't know what it says about me that I can read your Red Sox stuff every day without flinching, but the Monty Python stuff gives me a sick feeling in my stomach! If I had a dollar for every time somebody tried to quote a MP sketch to me...


The Omnipotent Q said...

Wow, Lisa! A Red Sox AND a Monty Python hater? We'll have to re-evaluate our relationship...

The Omnipotent Q said...

And here's an irony for you, Lisa. I've gotten many hits to my site about Monty Python through Google News, and they are STILL listing my blog as "Subway Squawkers."