Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Photo: Matthew Horwood (Getty Images)

Although they regularly performed and collaborated together throughout their long careers, the members of Monty Python actually operated, for the most part, as a set of discrete writing teams. As revealed in any number of sources—including the troupe’s own official oral history, Monty Python Speaks!Graham Chapman worked primarily with his old friend John Cleese, while Michael Palin and Terry Jones formed a similar pre-existing team. (Eric Idle either worked on his own or with Chapman and Cleese, and Terry Gilliam was largely separated from the sketch-writing process by nature of his work in animation.) As such, there’s an especial impact in seeing Palin react to Jones’ death today; the pair had, after all, known each other and been working closely alongside each other for something on the order of almost 60 years.

Palin gave a couple of interviews about Jones today, including the above with the BBC, in which he gets openly tearful while remembering nights out with his friend. His Sky interview, meanwhile, indulges a bit more in the gentle surrealism that marked so many of their comedy collaborations, most notably touching upon the time they were both invited to serve as the opening dignitaries for a set of public toilets.

The other members of Python also expressed their condolences on social media today, all in ways perfectly fitting with their characters. Eric Idle was effusive and ultimately positive. Terry Gilliam was bluntly honest. Cleese’s might be the best of the non-Palin bunch, though; its post-script, especially, feels fitting for a group of guys who used to gleefully spill Graham Chapman’s “ashes” out on the stage whenever they got the chance, as a tribute to a particular vision of what Monty Python meant for them.

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