This is a nice piece on the Monty Python reunion in the new Time Out. My pal Mark Evanier noted here that although he is, like so many of us, a huge Python fan, he was bothered about a couple of things. I thought I’d take it upon myself to address them and possibly un-bother him, or at least bother him a little less.
Firstly, this is, almost certainly, the final Python show. I say “almost” because anything can happen, of course. But the most recent word that I have from reliable sources–VERY reliable sources–is that despite some talk about a U.S. tour, etc., none of that is happening, not is it likely to happen. Without giving away confidences, the simple fact is that the five surviving Pythons are all extremely busy men (Graham, of course, has nothing but time on his hands), and it’s very difficult for them to carve out the same chunk of time to so much as have lunch together. The fact that they’re doing ten reunion shows in July is almost miraculous. The fact is, one of the Pythons is committed up through next year (when a U.S. Tour had been discussed), and when that commitment ends, others will be equally busy. And so on.
Of course, after the end of the shows on July 20th, the guys could all sit down and decide that they had so much fun that they want to do it again. But the busyness of their schedules (and, as they constantly remind me, the advancing of their ages) make this extremely unlikely. As one of them told me, “By the time we’re all available again, I’ll be too old to be climbing up on the stage.”
Secondly, Mark seems a bit bothered by the way the Pythons seem to tease, insult, and basically poke fun at each other. I’ve long since gotten used to this, but it’s true, they do this on occasion, and there have even been times over the past several decades when someone has taken something the wrong way. But it’s something they’ve always done. And, particularly when they’re doing interviews, it’s not terribly entertaining, interesting, or funny for them to say “The other Pythons are warm, wonderful human being.” Of course, they sometimes do say this, or words to that effect, but if they say it 99 times for every one time they insult one of the others, guess which is going to turn up in print?
The Time Out piece is actually rather perceptive in this regard, and the writer refers to them as like family. I’ve always told the various Pythons, particularly when there may have been a (temporary) falling out, that they are more like brothers than friends. When friends argue and fight, they often go their separate ways for good. But the Pythons are like brothers, who can bicker and argue, but share a common bond that will always bring them together eventually.
Before I get too philosophical about all of this, I’ll just leave you with this takeaway: if you’ve ever wanted to see Monty Python Live, this is almost certainly your only chance. But you’ll have to come to them, as they won’t be coming to you. Trust me.