For Those Who Cannot Obtain Sufficient Python...

Tonight is Monty Python night on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon; Mark Evanier has been told that four of the five surviving Pythons will be on the show, and that they will make appearances before the interview proper begins. They’re plugging IFC’s big new “definitive” Python documentary, Monty Python: Almost the Truth, and Fallon, who appears as a talking head in the documentary, will presumably be worshipful.

Two Python-related things I didn’t bring up before:

1. The success of Monty Python over the years makes a great case for independent production of TV shows, as opposed to being network owned. One of the reasons why Python has become such a huge worldwide franchise is that the BBC doesn’t own it. According to the terms of the Pythons’ contract with the BBC, the rights to the episodes, including foreign rights, reverted to Python (Monty) Pictures. The BBC is notoriously bad at even preserving the episodes it owns, let alone marketing them worldwide. The Pythons’ company kept the episodes in decent condition, sold them everywhere, made sure (even to the point of going to court) that they were shown in their original form, and generally has acted like a company with an interest in making it a profitable franchise.

2. I doubt any of the interviewers they encounter will ask the Pythons about their most embarrassing non-Python projects. All of them have done their share of hack work except Gilliam (he’s done some bad work, but personal, quirky bad work). But I don’t think anything can compare in badness to this Idle show; Cleese may have picked up some extra money in monstrosities like Pink Panther 2, but Idle was the top-billed star of this show.


Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.