Version: Unabridged
Author: The Pythons , John Cleese , Graham Chapman , Autobiography by the Pythons
Narrator: The Pythons
Genres: Biography & Memoir, Comedy
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published In: October 2003
# of Units: 2 CDs
Length: 2 hours
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Over thirty years ago, a group of five Englishmen and one wayward American, re-wrote the rules of comedy. Monty Python's Flying Circus, an unheralded, previously unseen and practically unprogrammed half hour of sketches, hilarities, inanities and animations first appeared on the BBC late one night in 1969. Its impact on the world has been felt ever since.

From its humble beginnings as late night entertainment on a British TV channel that went off the air before midnight, it blossomed into arguably the most influential movement in modern comedy. They found the Holy Grail, they detailed the life of the Savior-also-ran Brian, and when we were lost, they explained The Meaning of Life.

Now, those purveyors of dead parrots and silly walks are going to tell us something more: Their story. In their own, intimate, never before heard words.

The Pythons by The Pythons is the definitive word on all things Pythonesque (the only word invented by a modern comedian which is listed in the Oxford English Dictionary.) 30 years of insight, hindsight, and bad sight - now told for the first time. Stuff they're never remembered before alongside stories they'd forgotten to say, coupled with things they couldn't say then and even more things they can't pronounce now (with a healthy dollop of things they would never have said in the first place if any others had been in the room at the time.)

The Pythons by The Pythons is a unique look at arguably the most important comic team of the modern age, lavishly illustrated with 1000 photographs and illustrations, many culled from the teams' own personal collections, many seen here for the first time. A tome, a tombstone, the definitive word on all things Python, as told by all things Python - do you want Spam with that?

Reviews (9)

The Pythons

Written by Anonymous on July 24th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 4/5

The audio recording was very poor. It was very difficult in understanding many of the audio sequences. The book is very interesting on how the group got together.

Take a Pass on this one

Written by Anonymous from Woodstock, GA on April 3rd, 2006

  • Book Rating: 1/5

Agree with the other comments. One of the two CDs focuses on childhood and boarding school, and the other was only mildly interesting. The production quality was awful (I suspect the interviewer just set up a tape recorder on a desk, and the Python being interviewed tolerated only about an hour's worth of questions.) Take a pass on this one.

Very enjoyable

Written by Anonymous on September 10th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I really liked this. It is short, informative, and funny. All the guys describe their experiences, background, and influences.

If They'd Done Shows Like This, They'd Have Been Off the Air After One Episode

Written by Anonymous from Los Angeles, CA on July 13th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 1/5

Trying to listen to this morass of codswallop, I felt like the fellow with the dead bird. I knew it was dead. The world knew it was dead. But the Pythons had put out the thing anyway. It is, in a word, "unlistenable." And not just because it sounds as if it were recorded in an outhouse, using the tape player in a Barbie Doll. The Pythons do very little to make their story come to life. They sound inconvenienced. They offer neither wit nor wisdom. The result is a painful disappointment -- two hours or so, down the crapper.

I enjoyed this

Written by Anonymous from Glen Carbon, IL on July 8th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Yes, the quality of the recording was poor but I still managed to listed to and enjoy the entire CD. This is for a true Python fan - not for a casual listener. It was interesting to hear how each of them ended up as a Python.

Extremely Disappointing

Written by Kent Markus from Dublin, OH on July 2nd, 2005

  • Book Rating: 1/5

The sound quality was abysmal -- extremely hard to hear many, many sections. Content was better when discernable, but even then the piecing together of interview snipets was only successful in telling the story part of the time. Discussion of the derivation of certain famous sketches was the best and most interesting part, but it really seemed as though the producers of this audio disaster determined that they would never be able create the work intended and rather than giving up, decided to live with something that was down right annoying to listen to. Python fans beware -- this work will frustrate and disappoint you.

And now for something complently different

Written by Terry Brownlee from Toronto, ON on February 25th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 4/5

It is different because you find out how each of the Python players began, and how they got together. Very funny and very interesting. Lots of good insight how it all began.

Not given their due

Written by Michael Taylor from Bensalem, PA on January 20th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 3/5

It was nice to hear some of the real Python history. Unfortunately, some of the sound was very poor, taken from a collection of interviews where the sound was low, telephones were ringing in the background & I believe I also heard trucks (Lorries) passing by during the conversations. I found myself constantly lowering & raising the volume during the presentation. Also, an unfortunate turn is that it seems the author/ presentor fancies himself a member of the troupe. I feel he should have held back & let the other genius flow, instead of trying to be funny himself. The author attempts to present a comical feel of his own that doesn't quite work. Lastly, if you're going to start a classic clip...let it finish. Nothing can drive you more crazy than hearing the first 20 seconds of "Always look on the bright side of life" with out it continuing through to the end. Good for a history lesson, but only for die-hard fans. You're better off catching a Monty marathon on BBC America.

Horrible quality

Written by Anonymous on September 21st, 2004

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I was really looking forward to this title, but it was practically unlistenable due to unprofessional recording. And the content itself wasn't valuable, certainly not funny like I expect most Python stuff to be, whether its biographical or not. Good if you're willing to put up with annoying sound to get the history of how they met each other.

Author Details

Author Details

Idle, Eric

Eric Idle, versatile actor, writer, composer and director, is best known for his work in the groundbreaking comedy series "Monty Python's Flying Circus". He has appeared in numerous films and televisions series, and his voice work includes "102 Dalmations" and "Quest For Camelot".

Cleese, John

Cleese is known the world over for the roles he has created and played in Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, A Fish Called Wanda, and Fierce Creatures.

Palin, Michael

Michael Palin is one of the most popular comic figures of our time. His exploits with the Monty Python team and in subsequent films such as "A Fish Called Wanda" are now the stuff of legend. It is as the adventurous traveler of his major television series however that he has acquired a vast and loyal following.

Chapman, Graham

John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Graham Chapman (estate) are all lifelong (so far) members of Monty Python.
Bob McCabe is a noted film critic and author of over a dozen books on movies.

Jones, Terry

Terry Jones was a lifelong (so far) member of Monty Python.

Gilliam, Terry

Terry Gilliam was a lifelong (so far) member of Monty Python.

McCabe, Bob

Bob McCabe is a noted film critic and author of over a dozen books on movies.