And now for Something Completely Different (1971)

<strong class="MovieTitle">And now for Something Completely Different</strong> (1971)

(On Cable TV, January 2019) My budding theory that I don’t actually like Monty Python all that much gets a shot in the arm with And now for Something Completely Different, a classic collection of Python sketches that, seen as a middle-aged man rather than a college student (which is when I first encountered Python), seems wildly uneven. One of the first things that struck me about the film is how violent some of the sketches can be, and how it serves to dissipate the comic atmosphere of the film. As the backstory goes, the film re-created sketches from the group’s TV show, aiming to package the humour for an American audience. Alas, the budget’s limits are often evident, and the very nature of a sketch movie means that it’s going to be uneven from beginning to end. There are some classic sketches here—the “nudge-nudge” one, “The Funniest Joke in the World”, “The Dead Parrot”, and so on, although not all of them have aged gracefully: “The Lumberjack Song”, for instance, feels cheaply transphobic now. I had perhaps more fun with lesser-known sketches: “Hell’s Grannies” and “Upper-Class Twit of the Year”, in particular, got a few grins out of me. Of course, laughter may not be the comedy group’s intention as much as absurdity and eeriness. Still, I’m holding on to my theory that sometime in the past twenty-five years, I’ve lost whatever made me think that Monty Python was funny.

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