Watch the whole thing:
As the screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail was concluding in front of the audience, backstage the Pythons were obviously having a great time chatting with John Oliver in a very Anglo-centric conversation. They were all miked and waiting for their cue, posing for a few last-minute shots. As Terry Jones nibbled on a few of the snacks set out in the wings, none of them seemed particularly nervous about stepping out in front of the sold-out crowd. (Of course, if you can walk out in front of 16,000 people ten nights at the O2, perhaps the Beacon may not seem as intimidating.)
We heard their introduction and Jeff, Holly, a few Tribeca Film Festival folks and I stepped into the auditorium. The crowd roared as they slipped into their row of chairs and John Oliver began the conversation. It wasn’t long before the boys became restless however, and John Cleese walked offstage for a few moments. He returned with another chair, and pandemonium–very hilarious pandemonium–slowly began. Among the highlights: each of them re-arranging chairs so that half of them were facing the back of the stage; all of them but Eric dragging their chairs over next to John Oliver, encircling him; and John Cleese disappearing again and eventually waving his hand through the backdrop, causing enormous laughter completely out of context so that John Oliver was visibly baffled at the audience’s reaction (until he saw John’s waving hand).
Sitting at LaGuardia, waiting for my flight, seems like a nice opportunity to reflect on the Monty Python weekend at the TriBeCa Film Festival.
Friday night was the 40th anniversary of Holy Grail, and the TriBeCa folks certainly did it right. The huge Beacon Theatre was packed–in fact, an entire city block was annexed by the group, with a large red carpet area set up for the Pythons to meet the press. The guys spilled out of the bus and into the tent, accompanied by Mrs. Idle and Mrs. Palin, Ms. Gilliam, as well as my pal Jeff and I.
The boys began posing for the cameras as only they can.
The cameras continued to roll while the group members were interviewed by scores of reporters, most of whom managed to ask “Did you ever think Holy Grail would still be popular 40 years later?” (BTW, the answer is “No.”) After this was under way, I was enlisted to pass out coconut shells to the reporters who wanted them (which turned out to be all of them). It was amazing to be walking along the red carpet, dodging Pythons, while being besieged by grown men and women desperate for hollowed out coconuts.
Then it was into the bowels of the Beacon and the green room, where John Oliver awaited. He approached everyone and introduced himself (even us non-Pythons). A class act, in addition to being a wonderful host.
As the lights went off in the sold out Beacon Theatre, the Pythons slipped in to watch the movie, some for the first time in many years. I sat next to Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin, and was treated to their running conversation about the filming and the people involved. I am very lucky.
Just before the film ended, the guys had to slip backstage to be miked, and then it was time for the discussion, which seems like a good time to end here. To be continued…
The 40th anniversary screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail was an amazing night. I’ve got lots to write about and lots more pictures to post, but right now, the weekend isn’t over, so stay tuned and I’ll tell you the real reason for all of the chair moving, how I ended up on the red carpet, and how John Oliver is ridiculously nice. @montypython @johncleese
A great way to begin a NYC weekend–touring the new Marvel Comics offices! (Well, new to me at least.) Apparently , the cast of Avengers: Age of Ultron was there just before I was, so my visit didn’t cause as much of a stir as it otherwise would have. Thank you Blake Garris and intern Alex, as well as the whole Bullpen Gang! (I always wanted to say that…)