LONDON -- It's been 30 years since the last Monty Python film, and
more than three decades since the troupe performed live on stage together.
But the comedy group Monty Python is not dead yet, and to
prove it, the five surviving members have announced they will appear together at
London's O2 Arena next year.
"Monty Python Live (Mostly)," their first live
show since the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in 1980, will take place on July
At a press conference Thursday in London's West End (where
the musical "Monty Python's Spamalot" is playing), John Cleese, Terry
Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin said the decision was made to
put on a show now because, as Palin said, "If we left it too long, it would
be too late."
Idle said the offer to do the O2 Arena got their attention,
"just to see if we could fill it.
"It will be like a big show, a big musical. We're
trying to make it as exciting and funny as possible."
He promised a mix of "comedy, music, and a tiny bit of
When asked about their age, Palin noted, "It's easier to be silly after 70."
Graham Chapman, who died in 1989, will be present in some
sense, said Idle, the show's director. Gilliam added, "There will be
medical teams standing by for the rest of the cast."
In addition to some of the group's greatest hits (Cleese looked
forward to doing the Dead Parrot Sketch with Palin), there is also material
that has not been performed live before. There will also be animations from Gilliam.
"People really want to see the old hits," said
Cleese. But while you might expect the Spanish Inquisition, don't expect
the Minister of Silly Walks; Cleese, now 74, said that, with an artificial knee
and an artificial hip, "there's no chance of that."
Idle suggested the assistance of a "silly walker."
Since Graham's death, the other five have begged off group
appearances, as each has established a career away from Python. Palin become a globetrotting host of travel
shows from one end of the Earth to the other. Idle wrote the Tony Award-winning
musical "Spamalot." Jones has written and produced documentaries on a
wide array of subjects, such as medieval history. Cleese acted in others' films
following his classic sitcom "Fawlty Towers." And Gilliam has directed films, including "Brazil,"
"The Fisher King" and "Twelve Monkeys."
But while they've avoided regrouping as Python, Palin said, "When
we're together, we laugh more than at any other time in our lives."
Cleese called performing at the Hollywood Bowl "one of the
most enjoyable things I ever did.
"What we discovered is, people enjoy the event, enjoy the
experience of being with us. It was a festival
atmosphere -- it wasn't an ordinary performance."
However, Idle reflected that when an established star puts on
a concert, "The most awful thing to hear is, 'Now we'd like to play a few
tracks from our new album.' That's when you go to the bathroom."
"The main danger," said Palin, "is the audience
knows the scripts better than we do."
The O2 performance will be filmed, but while the group said
they would entertain taking the show to Europe or North America, Cleese seemed
to rule out Australia, saying, "There are planets closer than that."
Tickets will go on sale Monday, November 25, at the web site
montypythonlive.com. And they will be,
Idle promised, "300 pounds cheaper than the Stones."