RIP to Monty Python Legend Terry Jones
It seems like any time someone whose entertainment peak was a long time ago, the job of paying tribute falls to Rear Admiral or me. And I think I speak for my pal RA when I say we try to pick our spots. To only select those who are most blogworthy, given that most of our target demo wasn't alive when some of these guys were at the height of their popularity. But at moments like this, I'm proud to jump on the grenade.
Well when any member of Monty Python (to steal one of their own bits) has ceased to be, is no more, has gone on to meet his maker, rests in peace, kicked the bucket, shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and gone on to join the bleeding choir invisible, it's blogworthy. At the very least.
If you haven't watched their shows, the sketches on YouTube or their movies, what's wrong with you? Yes, some of them are dated. But if you're not a fan of their work your are most definitely a fan of someone who is a fan. I defy anyone to find someone in the past 25 years performing, directing or writing comedy who doesn't say Python was a major influence on them. It kills me that I can't remember where I heard this and apologize to whomever it was, but someone once said there were two kinds of guys at the parties in high school and college: The ones who were trying to pick up girls, and the ones who were in the kitchen quoting Monty Python lines to each other. I know for sure which group I hung out with.
As far as the troupe went, Terry Jones was pretty much the Glue Guy. Not as recognizable as John Cleese or have as many identifiable characters Eric Idle, Michael Palin or Graham Chapman, he nevertheless was essential personnel for all of their best work. And as Cleese himself pointed out, Jones directed one of the great comedy movies of all time:
"Life of Brian" had the original working title of "Jesus Christ: Lust for Glory," and was about as blasphemous and controversial as you'd imagine. It's sacri-larious. As a matter of fact, I heard Idle on Conan O'Brien's podcast not long ago say they couldn't have made the film if George Harrison didn't hand them a huge pile of his Beatles money.
In a nutshell, it's a Bible story about this average loser who was born next door to Jesus and everyone mistakes him for the Messiah. Jones also played Brian's mother and steals the movie with this legendary scene, which begins with the most often quoted catch phrase:
You know what? Fuck it. If there's one thing I can't stand in a tribute to any entertainer is when they just talk about the person instead of showing their work. So I'm going to follow my own advice and present, in no particular order, some of my favorite Terry Jones bits. Beginning with the scene from "Holy Grail" when two filth-covered peasants argue with King Arthur about the proper basis for forming a system of government. "King, eh? Well I didn't vote for you!"
The "Hell's Grannies" skit:
The Mr. Creosote scene from "Meaning of Life":
Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson:
Also from "Holy Grail," Sir Bedevere demonstrates how to prove someone's a witch:
The waitress in the "Spam" sketch:
The "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch. "Our dad would slice us in two with a bread knife.":
These barely scratch the surface. But they're like the soundtrack of the misspent youths of myself and a substantial number of the guys I hung out with. Not to mention friends I've made as an adult. And we might never see a comedy group have the kind of impact these genius had if we live ten lifetimes.
RIP, Terry Jones. And as the surviving members of Python themselves say, Two down, four to go.