On this day in 1969, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, and Terry Gilliam, also known as the comedy group, Monty Python, had their first writing session together. This date also marks the first time the high school student, Brooke Johnson, grew a neck beard and told his fellow classmates, “You wouldn’t understand this because you don’t get British comedy.”
On October 5, 1969, the BBC aired the first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The hugely successful series ran between 1969 to 1974. In addition to the television series, Monty Python released the comedy albums, “Monty Pythons’s Flying Circus,” “Another Monty Python Record,” and “Another Monty Python Record,” and films like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian, and The Meaning of Life.
An article at CNN.com states, “Python has been called ‘the Beatles of comedy,’ and its impact can be seen in everything from ‘Saturday Night Live’ to ‘The Simpsons’ to ‘South Park.” The two are more connected than just by comparison. George Harrison, The Beatles guitarist/singer-songwriter, funded, The Life of Brian, with his own money just because he wanted to see it. John Lennon even stated that he would have loved to have been in Monty Python, but didn’t have the guts to stand up and do it. Coming from the guy who wrote and sang, “Imagine,” and someone who has performed in front of millions of screaming fans, that’s saying a lot about the effect Monty Python had amongst their fans.
Whether you love them, hate them, or just don’t get them, there’s no denying Monty Python’s influence on pop culture and comedy.