ByEric Hanson, writer at
Eric Hanson holds a Bachelor's in Film Studies. Some of his favorite films include To Kill a Mockingbird, 2001, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Eric Hanson

*Bursts in door*

Nobody expects Monty Python! Their chief weapon is humor, humor and bizarre delivery. Two, two chief weapons are humor, bizarre delivery, and outlandish imaginative premises. Three, three chief weapons are humor, bizarre delivery, outlandish imaginative premises and an unparalleled ability to surprise and offend. Four, four chief weapons are — I'll come in again.

*Bursts in door*

Nobody expects Monty Python! Among their arsenal of weapons are humor, bizarre delivery, outlandish imaginative premises, and an unparalleled ability to surprise and offend. For those of you gits who are unaware, is a British/American comedy team who began working together in 1964, eventually gaining their own TV series, Monty Python's Flying Circus in 1969. When the show made its debut, its success was about as unexpected as the Spanish Inquisition.

The Comedic Legacy Of Monty Python

Since then, the Pythons have appeared in a variety of creative media, helming four feature films including the classic Arthurian legend parody Monty Python And The Holy Grail, and the religious satire Monty Python and the Life of Brian. The group remains popular to this day, performing on stage for many decades until finally retiring their act in summer of 2014.

The humor of John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Eric Idle remains bizarre and unique, with their television show containing some of their finest material. Monty Python's Flying Circus sports such classic moments as the "Spam Restaurant," "Cheese Shop," "Upper-class Twit of the Year Competition," and "Spanish Inquisition" in an already impressive library of comedic masterpieces that set a new standard for sketch comedy programs.

The "Dead Parrot" sketch in particular is considered a milestone of their work. It has been performed numerous times during their live shows, was put to film twice for both Flying Circus and their debut feature film And Now For Something Completely Different, and even was enshrined as a 50-foot statue in London's South Bank.

So let's ignore that and instead talk about all these other sketches instead.

10. Self Defense Against Fresh Fruit

This nonsensical sketch is a perfect example of the group's bizarre sense of humor. In it, an obviously insane and blood-hungry self defense instructor tries to teach his students how to defend themselves from the dangers of fresh fruit. However, his methods of disarming them prove to be deadly, but that makes sense. What else are you supposed to do when someone comes at you with a banana?

9. Barbershop/Lumberjack Song

In this Monty masterpiece, a lowly barber has had just about enough, and tries desperately to keep himself from butchering a customer. After being found out by his would-be victim, the man confesses his hatred of being a barbaric barber and sings of his dreams of being a lumberjack. In doing so, he reveals some other hidden desires.

8. Architect Sketch

This sketch begins simply enough, with some contractors taking a look at two proposed designs for an apartment complex. As they bring in the pair of designers, something is immediately amiss: The very first proposed design involves rotating knives.

7. It's The Arts

One of the most tried and true methods in comedy is the art of repetition, and that certainly comes into play in this single-joke sketch that makes you laugh at its tedium. In a show dedicated to forgotten artists, the program decides to spotlight a forgotten German composer. There's just one problem: This particular German composer has one of the most ridiculously long names in the world. It is so long, one of the show's guests passes away during the interview segment.

6. How Not To Be Seen

One of the Monty's more malicious sketches is also one of their funniest. We are treated to a program where several guests appear to show the viewer the art of remaining hidden. It seems simple enough, but the host of the show happens to be an insane madman who will stop at nothing to reveal where his guests are hiding.

5. Archeology Today

One of Monty Python's epic multi-chapter sketches really managed to fly off the rails. When two archeologists are interviewed for television, the host shows a curious fixation on the height of his guests. This spirals out of control into a bitter life-and-death struggle where the hosts and one of his guests do battle with other people standing on their shoulders.

4. Science Fiction Sketch

One of the longest and most epic of the Python sketches, this is a brilliant nod to '50s alien invasion B-movies. It begins when aliens invade Earth and one by one transform the population of Britain into Scotsman. With the country now a desolate wasteland, the heroes are thrust into a crazy tale of a kilt salesman, flesh-eating jello deserts, and a tennis match that may decide the fate of all mankind.

3. The Killer Joke

When the funniest joke in the world is written, it proves so effective that everyone who hears of it dies laughing. With England losing World War II, the military decides to translate the joke into German and turn it loose on the battlefield, where it becomes a deadly weapon of mass destruction.

2. Ministry Of Silly Walks

Some things only make sense in the universe of Monty Python, and this is one of them. When an ordinary man discovers he has a silly walk, he goes to a government office to be granted funds to develop it. While in the office, he receives education about the silly walks program from the prestigious head of this most unusual government organization.

1. The Piranha Brothers

Another one of the longer Python sketches, this one begins as a documentary on the criminal antics of the notorious Piranha Brothers and their gang, and ends with a giant hedgehog rampaging through London. How does it get from point A to Z? Because it's Monty Python.

And there you have it — 10 great sketches from these still astounding comedians! In spite of their retirement, the group's enduring popularity stands as a proud monument to their revolutionary work in the field of comedy. They were intelligent yet childish, high brow and vulgar, clean and filthy all at once, thrown together to create a stew that was just about as crazy as one of Gilliam's nonsensical animated segments. Yet through it all, they were able to find a voice that no sketch group since has ever been able to match, and 53 years later they are still among the best.

Many of you will be wondering why I didn't include such classics as the "Cheese Shop" sketch. Well, it seems we have run out of cheese.

*Gets shot through the head*

What Monty Python sketch is your favorite?


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