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And Now for Something Completely Different Monty Python - History of the Joke Monty Python (sometimes known as The Pythons) were a British surreal comedy group who created their sketch comedy show Monty Python's Flying Circus, that first aired on the BBC on 5 October 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four series. The Python phenomenon developed from the television series into something larger in scope and impact, spawning touring stage shows, films, numerous albums, several books, and a stage musical. The group's influence on comedy has been compared to The Beatles' influence on music. Monty Python’s Flying CircusFlying Circus (1969-1974)Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a sketch comedy show which ran for four seasons from 1969-1974. The series premiered on October 5th, 1969 on BBC One, and the finale aired on December 5th, 1974. It was nominated for seven BAFTA Awards during its run, winning three. The show often targets the idiosyncrasies of British life, especially that of professionals, and is at times politically charged. The members of Monty Python were highly educated. Their comedy is often pointedly intellectual, with numerous erudite references to philosophers and literary figures. The series followed and elaborated upon the style used by Spike Milligan in his ground breaking series Q5, rather than the traditional sketch show format. The Pythons play the majority of the series characters themselves, including the majority of the female characters, but occasionally they cast an extra actor. Regular supporting cast members include Carol Cleveland (referred to by the team as the unofficial "Seventh Python"), Connie Booth (Cleese's first wife), series Producer Ian MacNaughton, Ian Davidson, Neil Innes (in the fourth series), and the Fred Tomlinson Singers (for musical numbers). Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)Monty Python and the Holy Grail was released on May 25th, 1975. The first Python feature length film with a narrative structure (they had previously released And Now for Something Completely Different, which featured sketches from Flying Circus), it earned a rating of 8.4 on IMDB and a rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie follows King Arthur as he tries to recruit knights for his round table. Life of Brian (1979)Life of Brian was released on August 17th, 1979. The film earned a rating of 8.2 on IMDB and a score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. It follows the life of a man who was born next to Jesus, and whose life is often parallel to his. The Meaning of Life (1983)The Meaning of Life was released on March 31st, 1983. The film earned a rating of 7.6 on IMDB and a rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is made up of a series of sketches that outline the major stages of life. Graham ChapmanGraham Arthur Chapman (8 January 1941 – 4 October 1989) was an English comedian, writer, actor, and one of the six members of the surreal comedy group Monty Python. John CleeseJohn Marwood Cleese (born 27 October 1939) is an English actor, comedian, writer and film producer. He achieved success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and as a scriptwriter and performer on The Frost Report. In the late 1960s, he co-founded Monty Python, the comedy troupe responsible for the sketch show Monty Python's Flying Circus and the four Monty Python films: And Now for Something Completely Different, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life.In the mid-1970s, Cleese and his first wife, Connie Booth, co-wrote and starred in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers. Later, he co-starred with Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis and former Python colleague Michael Palin in A Fish Called Wanda and Fierce Creatures. He also starred in Clockwise, and has appeared in many other films, including two James Bond films, two Harry Potter films, and the last three Shrek films.With Yes Minister writer Antony Jay he co-founded Video Arts, a production company making entertaining training films. Terry GilliamTerence Vance "Terry" Gilliam (born 22 November 1940) is an American-born British screenwriter, film director, animator, actor and member of the Monty Python comedy troupe.Gilliam has directed 12 feature films, including Time Bandits (1981), Brazil (1985), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), The Fisher King (1991), 12 Monkeys (1995), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009). The only "Python" not born in Britain, he became a naturalised British citizen in 1968. He formally renounced his American citizenship in 2006. Eric IdleEric Idle (born 29 March 1943) is an English comedian, actor, author, singer, writer and comedic composer. Idle is a member of the English surreal comedy group Monty Python, a member of the Rutles on Saturday Night Live, and the author of the Broadway musical Spamalot. Terry JonesTerence Graham Parry "Terry" Jones (born 1 February 1942) is a British comedian, screenwriter, actor, film director and author. He is best known as a member of the Monty Python comedy team. Michael PalinMichael Edward Palin(born 5 May 1943) is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter. He was one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and later made a number of travel documentaries.Palin wrote most of his comedic material with Terry Jones. Before Monty Python, they had worked on other shows such as the Ken Dodd Show, The Frost Report, and Do Not Adjust Your Set. Palin appeared in some of the most famous Python sketches.Palin continued to work with Jones after Python, co-writing Ripping Yarns. He has also appeared in several films directed by fellow Python Terry Gilliam and made notable appearances in other films such as A Fish Called Wanda, for which he won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. In a 2005 poll to find The Comedians' Comedian, he was voted the 30th favourite by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.After Python, he began a new career as a travel writer and travel documentarian. His journeys have taken him across the world, including the North and South Poles, the Sahara Desert, the Himalayas, Eastern Europe and Brazil. In 2000 Palin was honoured as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to television. From 2009 to 2012 Palin was the president of the Royal Geographical Society. On 12 May 2013, Palin was made a BAFTA fellow, the highest honour that is conferred by the organisation.