Monty Python's Flying Circus - John Cleese's Personal Best

Watch Monty Python's Flying Circus - John Cleese's Personal Best

  • 2023
  • 1 Season

Monty Python's Flying Circus is a British sketch comedy show that aired from 1969 to 1974. It was created and written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, and Terry Gilliam, who also served as the show's animator. The show was known for its absurd humor, surreal sketches, and social commentary, as well as its iconic opening sequence featuring a giant foot.

John Cleese's Personal Best is a compilation episode that focuses on the work of the legendary comedian John Cleese. In it, Cleese personally selects some of his favorite sketches and scenes from Monty Python's Flying Circus, introducing each one with his trademark dry wit and self-deprecating humor.

The episode starts with one of Cleese's most famous sketches, the "Dead Parrot" sketch, in which Cleese plays a customer returning a deceased parrot to a pet shop owner played by Michael Palin. The sketch is a classic example of the show's absurdist humor, with Cleese insisting that the clearly lifeless bird is in fact resting, sleeping, pining for the fjords, and so on.

From there, the episode moves on to other memorable sketches, like "The Ministry of Silly Walks," in which Cleese plays a civil servant who specializes in silly walks and demonstrates his skills for a skeptical colleague played by Palin. Another notable sketch is "The Spanish Inquisition," in which Cleese, Jones, and Palin play a trio of Inquisitors who bumble their way through interrogating unsuspecting victims.

Throughout the episode, Cleese provides behind-the-scenes insights and anecdotes about each sketch, revealing how some of the most iconic moments in the show's history came about through trial and error, improvisation, and sheer craziness. He also reflects on his own comedic style and influences, citing classic comedians like Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy as well as his own experiences growing up in post-war Britain as sources of inspiration.

One recurring theme in the episode is Cleese's recurring portrayal of authoritarian figures, from the blustering hotel manager in "Fawlty Towers" (another classic show co-created by Cleese) to the pompous army officer in "The Upper-Class Twit of the Year" sketch. In one particularly memorable moment, Cleese describes how he developed his distinctive walk for the "Ministry of Silly Walks" sketch by imagining himself as a Nazi goose-stepping around a parade ground.

Other highlights of the episode include a sketch in which Cleese and Palin play restaurant patrons trying to outdo each other with increasingly ridiculous orders, as well as a parody of an old British war film in which Cleese plays a bumbling officer leading his troops into a disastrous battle. The show's irreverent take on religion and society is also on full display in sketches like "The Bishop" and "The Bruces," in which Cleese and his fellow Pythons skewer traditional notions of Britishness and masculinity.

Overall, Monty Python's Flying Circus - John Cleese's Personal Best is a hilarious and insightful tribute to one of the greatest comedic minds of our time. Cleese's selection of sketches showcases the show's unique blend of absurdity, satire, and social commentary, and his commentary and reflections provide a fascinating glimpse into the creative process behind one of the most beloved TV shows of all time.

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Monty Python's Flying Circus - John Cleese's Personal Best
1. Monty Python's Flying Circus - John Cleese's Personal Best
John Cleese has made billions of fans laugh themselves into a state of near incontinence for more than 40 years. But what makes John Cleese laugh? John Cleese's Personal Best is full of Python bits selected by The Great Cleese himself, plus original never-before-seen footage.
  • Premiere Date
    October 4, 2023