Monty Python has reunited and members John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin celebrated by answering questions from reddit users. Here are the highlights. ”
1. Which Terry is the good Terry?
Terry Jones: Terry Gilliam because he feeds us.
Eric Idle: Neither.
Michael Palin: They’re both good in different ways. Gilliam’s imagination is so amazing, and Jones listens when you talk. Jones is the best drinking Python.
Terry Gilliam: Does there have to be a good and bad? Can we have shades of grey? 50 of them possibly?
2. Are the five of you planning on being the sole writers for your reunion show or will you have other contributing writers? if so, who might they be?
MP: It will all be our material. It’s just easier that way. Along with Carol, we’ll be the main performers. What we will have is a group of dancers who’ll come on and do outrageous things whilst us oldies get changed. Various people have offered to come and help out. Eric had a tweet from Noel Fielding offering to come and make tea. There’s been a huge amount of interest from people I respect, like Bill Bailey and Eddie Izzard.
3. You all are in a medieval fight to the death. Which weapon would you all choose and which one of you would come out victorious?
MP: I’d have the rabbit. It’s deadly. I’d win.
TJ: A mace. I think John would win.
4. For John Cleese: Having said you don’t like modern comedy, are there any current comedians that make an exception?
JC: Not that I’ve noticed. BUT, that’s because I prefer reading to watching TV.
5. One of my favourite lines from the Life of Brian is “He is not the Messiah! He is a very naughty boy! Now go away!” can you tell me your favourite line from any of your work?
EI: Say no more.
TJ: Exploding blue danube.
TG: We’ve lumps of it around the back
6. How much of the movies would you say is improv vs scripts?
MP: Most of the improvisation is done in rehearsal or when we’re writing. When we actually have to film the movies, because there’s a camera crew there, they need to know where we’ll be. It’s very nice sometimes to have a handheld camera and invent little things on a tape. The basic script, we adheer to, but it’s nice to have looser moments and put things in that we’ve never done before. I remember playing the ex leaper in the Life Of Brian and it’s a really long take. We get to the very end and I nearly trod in some donkey shit. I saw it and did a little ballet.
JC: The proportion of ad libs was about 0.0001%. I admire improv but don’t want to do it myself. I prefer writing.
7. What is your favourite sketch/skit that you’ve written in your careers?
TJ: The rachmaninoth piano concerto. The pianist is escaping six padlocks and a straight jacket when the orchestra starts off. The bag rolls in with me inside it and I get my hand out inside just to strike the right cords.
EI: The Galaxy song
TG: I don’t have favourites. My favourite is the Undertaker sketch where Graham comes into an undertakers with a bag dragging a dead mother’s body in it trying to figure out what to do with it. We pushed the limits of good taste, weren’t afraid to offend - there were no rules which is very different to world we live in now.
8. What was your favorite sketch to film?
JC: Doing the self defence sketch in And Now For Something Completely Different
MP: My favourite sketch to film is one that doesn’t get played much. It’s about hermits who live together and are very sociable. We filmed it up in Yorkshire. We were all dressed as hermits. I really enjoyed doing that because I felt at the time, it was really wonderful and silly. Occasionally, rather like with The Holy Grail, you get the scenery and landscape to match the humour. It wouldn’t have worked in the studio.
9. How do you all feel about your legacy? does it ever get annoying to hear your sketches quoted all the time or are you proud of it?
are all of you nervous about expectations?
JC: I like it when people say that I’ve made them laugh but I don’t need them to list more than 30-40 sketches that they have enjoyed.
MP: I think it’s great if people quote the show back. Sometimes it’s awkward but generally speaking, they do it because they enjoy the show, so I’m not really against it. As to the legacy, I never think of legacy. I think we’re just lucky to get to do what we’re doing. In a sense my legacy is the freedom to entertain.
10. What’s the best defense against rabid, obsessed fans?
JC: Ferret obsessed fans
MP: I think probably a winchester rifle. I just give them John Cleese’s address.