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Review: Monty Python Live capped off legendary troupe’s epic career (Includes first-hand account)

Call me greedy. I want to know Monty Python will continue to perform and write together late into their 70s. It’s not enough to see them collaborate one final time (supposedly) during this week’s London performances, which were broadcast around the world via participating movie theatres.

Monty Python is a sketch troupe that began performing in 1969, winning acclaim for their unique brand of comedy and performance. The troupe is made up of John Cleese, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and the late Graham Chapman.

On Sunday, as I revelled in the sketch comedy genius from my comfy seat in Toronto’s Scotiabank Theatre, a small pang struck my chest: is this the last time Python fans will see the guys on stage together? Is this it?

But that pang was quickly overcome with joy as one of my fave sketches, the Dead Parrot bit, took form between John Cleese and Michael Palin. As they sometimes did during the three-hour broadcast, the actors broke out of character and chatted all improv-like. It was spontaneous, something we Python fans rarely saw from the carefully crafted sketches and films.

That very real moment was just one of the many highlights of Sunday’s Monty Python Live. My fave sketches all came alive once again on stage: The Four Yorkshiremen cheekily poked fun at ol’ timers complaining about their childhood; the absurd Philosophers Song got the 02 Arena and our theatre in Toronto singing the verses; the Spanish Inquisition classic had me mouthing the next words like a rap fan singing Jay-Z choruses; and we all couldn’t help but smile widely during the appropriately-named finale Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, from the Python film Life of Brian.

Monty Python Live couldn’t resist trotting out some celeb guests during the show, including comedians Mike Myers and Eddie Izzard, and even Stephen Hawking during a pre-taped bit relating to the Idle-led Galaxy Song.

As the troupe took their final teary-eyed bows to the audience, I couldn’t resist clapping for the fellows who have made me laugh for decades. Sure, they couldn’t hear my applause from Toronto but I knew this might be the last time I show Monty Python, even from afar, how much I appreciate their talent and enduring appeal.

Canada’s Cineplex is re-airing Monty Python Live in select theatres on July 23 and July 31

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