20 Things You Didn’t Know About Monty Python

The final episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired 39 years ago today on the BBC–so you might be wondering why the Monty Python troupe (that being the five remaining members) didn’t wait a year to announce their upcoming reunion. Heck, they could have at least waited a few weeks before announcing the big news. But that wouldn’t be delightfully skewed and offbeat. And, of course, Monty Python is a name that’s still well-loved for offbeat humor.

College kids (and hip adolescents) have been enjoying Monty Python for decades, of course. Monty Python’s Flying Circus made its debut in America just as the show was departing from the BBC. Fortunately, the show was popular enough in America forĀ Monty Python and the Holy Grail to find an audience. The founding members–Michael Palin, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, and the late Graham Chapman–have all been established talents since then.

Their fortunes have varied, of course. John Cleese is probably the most recognizable member to American audiences, but Terry Gilliam has enjoyed some major success in the States as a film director. Eric Idle has been a pretty consistent presence in movies and film. Michael Palin joined Cleese to almost break through in the States in the ’80s with the movie A Fish Called Wanda–but he’s preferred to work as a travel writer (and television personality) nowadays. Terry Jones has kept a low profile, but he’s been busy in interesting ways.

That’s addressed among the following fun facts here in this roundup of the baffling world of Monty Python. You’ll want to look properly informed when talking about these comic geniuses in the coming months. We’re here to help–but please don’t quote the sketches, or sing “The Lumberjack Song.” Seriously, that’s just painful…

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