Monty Python Members Talk Reunion Shows, Louis C.K., Scottish Independence
LONDON – The remaining members of U.K. comedy group Monty Python said here Monday that they chose not to take their upcoming reunion shows here on the road, but will go out with a final performance that will be a global event.
The five – John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones – gave a press conference at the London Palladium in central London to tout their upcoming Monty Python Live (Mostly) reunion shows in the British capital.
They will see the stars of Monty Python on stage at the O2 Arena for 10 nights in July, starting on Tuesday.
The reunion is expected to be one of the biggest live entertainment events of the year in Britain. The final show, The Last Night of the Pythons, will air live in more than 550 cinemas in the U.K. and Ireland and more than 1,800 cinemas worldwide.
"It is a world event and that's really quite exciting," said Idle. "It means we're actually going to say goodbye publicly on one show. Nobody ever has the chance to do that. The Beatles didn't get a last good night."
Cleese at the press conference said the stage show would be a genre mix. "It's somewhere between a theatrical show and a rock show," he said. The show will feature known Python sketches, including "The Spanish Inquisition," which the group has never performed live. Plus, the members said videos during the show will feature surprise guests, including physicist Stephen Hawking.
"Stephen Hawking is in it and will attend" a show in person, Palin said. "He's a big Pythons fan." Idle also said the troupe has rewritten a sketch that may include celebrities depending on who shows up for a performance.
Asked if there could be more shows added to the 10 performances or if the show could go abroad, Cleese said: "The one on the 20th [of July] really is the last show. I think we all feel very content with that." He added: "At one point, I certainly felt it might be fun to go and do America, but the more I thought about it, I thought 'I don't really want to.' It's much better to try and do it once really well in England, where it started, and let's leave it at that."
Cleese also joked about how the troupe would reunite partly for the money, but also for the joy of fans. "We're not entirely doing it for money," he said.
The remaining Pythons also said that they would continue to do their own projects in the future. "Retiring from Python isn't retiring from life," Gilliam said.
And Cleese said he once pitched a TV show idea to ITV programming boss Peter Fincham, describing it as "a series about what religion would be if the churches hadn't f—ed it up." He added that Fincham's eyes glazed over.
The Pythons also were asked about former colleague Graham Chapman who died in 1989.
"He's on screen. He even sings the last number," Idle said. "And he is certainly not forgotten."
"He [was] a very good actor, and he was stronger than us," Cleese said. "He had a strength and a power we never had."
The remaining Pythons also answered a range of other questions on Monday. Jones, for example, jumped on a question about comedians the troupe likes these days, mentioning Louis C.K.
There was also a question about an upcoming independence referendum in Scotland. Cleese quipped that he could instead offer a five-point peace plan for Syria before saying: "I think the Scots should do exactly what they want to do." Palin chimed in: "What, in Syria?"
Watch Mick Jagger introduce the Monty Python Live (mostly) Press Conference below.