Much Ado About Monty Python

I don’t know if its just me, but Monty Python’s style of humor is a bit too absurdist for my taste. I appear to be in a great minority as near all of my friends and family have ostracized me due to this simple fact. Am I alone or are there others who share this plight?
By the way, I know there is already a thread but I feel necroposting is a bit too overdone.

Well, there are two types of people: Those who appreciate Monty Python’s absurdist humour, and those who are wrong.

Pal, I get the fact that this movie is regarded as “one of the greatest movies of all time” and while, yes, it was groundbreaking for its time, I just am not a huge fan.

Which of their movies? I’m guessing “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” but you didn’t say.

For the record, though you may already be aware, but “Monty Python” isn’t just one movie; the group started out by doing a television series (“Monty Python’s Flying Circus”), and then did several movies as a group (including “Holy Grail,” as well as “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” and “Monty Python’s Meaning of Life.”)

I was referring to Monty Python and the Holy Grail and thanks for the clarification.
However, I merely meant that the Holy Grail just overdid many of their best jokes by extending them at length.

While I’ve been a Python fan since I was a kid, and love all of their movies…I wouldn’t go so far as to say that “Holy Grail” (or, frankly, any of their films) would even come close to being “one of the greatest movies of all time.” It’s certainly archetypical of their style and their humor, but it was also the first time that most (maybe all) of them had worked on something as long as a feature-length movie, and it shows.

It wanders around a lot, it doesn’t have a particularly strong plot (being largely a series of related sketches), and doesn’t have an ending, per se, so much as just winding down into a typically absurdist final scene.

Thank goodness! So many people I’ve talked to say that I don’t “get” the humor. It’s not that I don’t get the humor, I got the humor the first time. And the second time. And the third, fourth, and fifth time. My point is that the jokes last much too long and people see the entirety of the movie in either a nostalgic haze or a misinterpretation of length.

We re-watched “Holy Grail” at Christmas last year, with my family. My parents were Python fans back in the 1970s, but none of us had seen the movie in years (and my niece and her husband, who are in their late 20s, had never seen it).

For us, it was still very funny, though at least part of that was undoubtedly the familiarity with our favorite bits. But, we did recognize that it was slow and noodly, and that was something that hadn’t been in our memories from earlier viewings of it.

Out of curiosity – how old are you? How many comedies (or other films) from the 1960s and 1970s have you watched? I ask because pacing in films (and TV shows), in general, was usually much slower back then, and I suspect that many people who are accustomed to the modern pace in movies see older films as intolerably slow.

I went to see*** Holy Grail*** alone at a Saturday matinee immediately after it was released in the United States. At the time, I had only the lightest smattering of the Python experience (the “Man with Three Buttocks” sketch), so I wasn’t sure what to expect, though I’d been told the movie was like “a real live Dungeon* descent.”

There were maybe a half-dozen other people in the cinema that afternoon. Watching the movie alone in the dark, I thought “This isn’t funny, this is sick!” The only time I laughed was when Lancelot kicked the fat broad in the chest (which goes to show how sick I am). The only other part I enjoyed was the Castle Anthrax segment, but for entirely different reasons. :o

Two weeks later, I went to see it with some friends in the evening, when the cinema was packed with people. Not only did I laugh myself silly, I walked out with a lot of the lines memorized for my own future use.

Apparently, experiencing Python alone and with little or no previous exposure to it is akin to watching Hogan’s Heroes without a laugh track. Things you’re supposed to find funny, you simply don’t.

NB: I hate Dungeons and Dragons. ** BOR-ING!*

Interesting observation! I wonder if it’s not unlike trying to watch Rocky Horror Picture Show by oneself, with no knowledge of the audience-participation routines.

This movie relies heavily upon the context in which it is watched. IMHO, more so than many other comedies.

Watching it with 10 other undergrads stuffed in a dorm room at 2AM on a Friday night? It is a cinematic masterpiece. Fantastic memories for everyone.

Watching it by yourself at 10AM on a sunny Thursday? Not so much.

Your point is that the jokes last too long? In the OP your point was that the jokes were too absurdist. And I find it unlikely your friends and family have ostracized you on account of this disagreement of taste. Are you perhaps exaggerating for comedic effect?

Or are you referring to limited ostracism, like you’re no longer allowed to watch Monty Python with them, because you refuse to stop putting it down during viewing?

I am, in a word, an idiot. However, yes, I am exaggerating. The main flaw I see is the length of jokes and that my friends have (jokingly) stated that my “opinion of humor is trash.”
Jokes on them, I’m the only one with a VCR:)

I had a similar experience with Time Bandits.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard the original dialogue of Holy Grail, despite seeing it many times. Every time, what I was hearing was a mix of the original soundtrack with a dozen other people all calling out the same lines together. It probably would fall flat if seen in isolation, but it’s seldom seen that way.

And as for Monty Python in general, shrug, there’s no accounting for taste. They have a very distinctive style, and some people like that style, while others don’t. There’s no need to apologize for that.

Now, nobody likes a good laugh more than I do. Except perhaps my wife. And some of her friends. Oh yes, and Captain Johnson. Come to think of it, most people like a good laugh more than I do, but that’s beside the point.

IMHO, the essence of Python is in the best of the TV show. And, on the show, I won’t say things never went on too long—but they weren’t afraid to end a sketch early or take it in a completely different direction.

It should also be considered that a lot of their jokes simply fall flat, either because they were *too *absurd or just not funny to begin with, and I think they recognized this too. (MPFC’s soundtracks often had to be “sweetened” because the studio audience didn’t laugh when they were expected to.) The problem is compounded by their point of reference being so British. I’ve lived in the UK, and I still needed certain things explained to me before I could appreciate them.

My father in law thought Monty Python was stupid and tedious beyond belief; at least until later in life when I snuck a video of “Argument Clinic” in front of him, which caught his eye and attention until he was laughing at it uncontrollably.

I find their best bits still to be great; they did have a lot of bits that were never real good though.

QtM, viewer of “Holy Grail” within a week of its release in the theater.

My parents went to see Holy Grail in the theater and didn’t enjoy it, hardly laughed at all. It was only later, when they were trying to describe some scenes to my aunt, that they were laughing so much in recounting it they couldn’t even speak.

As much as I love that movie, their best stuff is in the Flying Circus show and the albums. If you don’t like absurdist humor, your not under any obligation to like it, so don’t bother. You’re missing out, IMHO.

You realize, of course, that only the best stuff went *into *the albums. :wink:

I think the two funniest bits were the “Upper-Class Twit of the Year Competition” and “Hell’s Grannies,” both of which were in the same episode, IIRC. I was literally rolling on the floor laughing when I saw those!

“Argument Clinic,” I think, comes in a close third. “You sniviling pile of parrot droppings!” is one of my all-time favorite lines.