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They brought the world the game-changing sketch comedy show Monty Python's Flying Circus. They concocted bizarre monstrosities of movies like The Meaning of Life, Life of Brian and The Holy Grail. Then the members of the adored and acclaimed comedy troupe went their separate ways. But for one night only, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin will reunite in London for The Last Night of Monty Python. If you didn't snag tickets to the much-anticipated stage show, you still have a shot to enjoy all its mayhem thanks to a special movie-theater expansion.
Variety reports Picturehouse Entertainment has made a deal that will broadcast The Last Night of Monty Python live to theaters around the world on July 20th. Though Monty Python's surviving members (John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin) have appeared on stage together a handful of times since their movies and show wrapped, this event is being billed as their last hoorah, a bittersweet farewell that is sure to be the most bonkers goodbye ever. Considering they claimed to bring the ashes of deceased Monty Python member Graham Chapman on stage at the 1998 US Comedy Arts Festival, the bar is set pretty high for wild humor.
Notably, past reunions were often Q&A events, but The Last Night of Monty Python will be the first time the troupe has actually performed sketches together on stage since a show at the Hollywood Bowl in 1980. For a dose of what that event had in store, enjoy this clip, which has the guys performing "Philosopher's Song."
You can see above the way they involved the audience in the show. It'll be curious to see how The Last Night of Monty Python might play to the crowd, not just in the O2 theater, but to the wider audience watching on 1,500 screens scattered across the globe, 450 of which will be within the United Kingdom. I've been to similar simulcasts in the past, in particular for the stage shows of This American Life. In those, the producers worked to make the experience of being in a theater far from the live action as inclusive as possible through games and even a song number that required the crowd to play along with an App made especially for the event. It's unclear if any such efforts are being constructed for The Last Night of Monty Python, but it's easy to guess the ticket price will be worthwhile all the same.
Few comedy troupes have the kind of ambition Monty Python did. For me, the perfect example of their genius is how a silly and irreverent concept like devout Catholics singing about the sacredness of life can be spun into something grand and thereby all the more ridiculous. Behold, my favorite sequence from Monty Python's Meaning of Life, the song number for "Every Sperm is Sacred."
What songs or sketches are you hoping to see John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin wheel out at The Last Night of Monty Python? Sound off in comments.