Tag Archives: #michaelpalin

Sir Michael

Michael Palin’s knighthood did not come as a total surprise to me. I heard rumors in recent weeks from rather reliable sources, so when the official announcement came, it was not a shock.

Still, the news that Michael would become a real-life k…nigget is a little amazing, yet completely Pythonesque. Knowing him over the past 40 years, and seeing him play one of the Knights Who Say Ni, there was little reason to think that it would ever happen. The Pythons were never particularly respectful of the Royals in the traditional British sense, and never took it all very seriously.

On the other hand, it makes complete sense. Once Michael began introducing TV viewers to the rest of the world, he took a step further from Python, and a step closer to the sort of chap that would become a knight.

And of all the Pythons, who better than Michael? John and Eric have been spending less and less time in Britain. Terry Jones never showed any inclination toward such an award. Graham is, unfortunately, dead. And Terry Gilliam—even worse—insisted on spending the majority of his life as an American.

So why not Michael? He has spent years as a respectable author and documentarian, distancing himself enough from Python that the Royals could overlook his portrayal of Sir Galahad and the leader of the Knights Who Say Ni, and encounters with the Pantomime Princess Margaret, enough to make him a real knight.

So congratulations Sir Michael! You have made this American very proud of you and your career. And best of all, I know that the next time we meet, you’ll be the same old Michael.#montypython #michaelpalin


Happy 75th!

Ridiculously happy birthday wishes to Michael Palin, the last of the Pythons to turn three-quarters of a century! That’s 75 years of being the Nicest Man Alive (and I’m happy to say that I’ve known him for over half of them). I’m going to celebrate by watching Michael’s brilliant performance in The Death of Stalin, where he portrays the nicest of the brutal Soviet despots. Happy birthday Michael, and many more!

Happy Birthday Michael!

Palin globesA ridiculously Happy 74th to Arthur Putey, Mr. Gumby, the It’s Man, Cardinal Ximenez, Heinrich Bimmler, Mr. Pither, Sir Galahad the Pure, Ex-Leper, Ken Pile, Luigi Vercotti, Debbie Katzenberg. And so many more…


Happy birthday Monty Python!

On October the 5th, 1969, the very first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus first aired on the BBC.


A lot of things have changed since then, but those shows are just as funny now as they were then. The second episode recorded was the first one aired. Here’s what BBC audiences first saw that evening:


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.) 

imageWe 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). 

After it drew to a close, we all convened backstage. “I think you needed a whip and a chair out there,” I told John Oliver who laughed, but I assured him he did a great job controlling the uncontrollable.
We all proceeded to the green room, where the guests would soon be arriving. I quickly learned the reason for the Marx Brothers routine: “We couldn’t hear a thing!” John explained. He decided to go backstage because (a) it was a bit of physical comedy, and (b) because he felt that if they couldn’t hear, the whole discussion would be a disaster. Later on that night, the two Terries confirmed it (and they were sitting closer to John Oliver than John was). Nevertheless, everyone was in a jolly mood and the party began.
To be continued…
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