What have Monty Python been up to for the past 30 years?

(via mailonline)

(via mailonline)

Unless you’ve been living in some cloistered part of the country where there’s no internet, you will have heard about Monty Python’s recent reunion at London’s 02 Arena. Reuniting the surviving members of the legendary comedy troupe, the show featured some of their classic sketches alongside a number of deeper cuts from their albums and Flying Circus TV show.

In fact, this was the first proper live Python show since their 1983 film The Meaning of Life. But that doesn’t mean that the members of the team have been sitting on their hands for the past 30 years.

Let’s take a look at what the Pythons have been up to since they last all performed together.

Terry Gilliam

(image: The Zanuck Company)

(image: The Zanuck Company)

The American-born animator and part-time performer has become one of Britain’s most singular directors. His early films Time Bandits, Brazil and Baron Munchausen are considered cult favourites – though widely-loved ones at that.

The 90s brought him commercial and critical success in the USA. For the first time in his career, he worked simply as a director-for-hire, making the mind-bending Bruce Willis sci-fi movie 12 Monkeys; The Fisher King, the heart-warming comic drama with Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges; and the psychedelic Hunter S Thompson movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Gilliam’s latest movie The Zero Theorem is out on blinkbox this week. It sees him return to the same kind of dystopian realm as Brazil and it stars Christoph Waltz and Matt Damon among others.


Graham Chapman

(image: Orion Pictures)

(image: Orion Pictures)

While many in the group contend that Chapman was the funniest among them, he was always most effective playing the straight man. Whether it be King Arthur in Holy Grail or the titular not-the-messiah in Life of Brian, he brought a gravitas to the proceedings that made their sketches and films seem even sillier.

In 1983, he starred in the pirate comedy Yellowbeard, his long-gestating passion project. Despite having a screenplay he co-wrote with comic icon Peter Cook, the film did not fare well with audiences or critics at the time.

Chapman passed away in 1989 after a year-long battle with cancer. At a memorial service some months after his death, his writing partner John Cleese delivered this memorable and profane eulogy:


Eric Idle

(image: Sony Pictures)

(image: Sony Pictures)

Having lived in Los Angeles for the past few decades, Idle has kept himself incredibly busy on a number of projects since the 80s. He starred in a number of feature film, including Nuns of the Run and Splitting Heirs – which he also wrote.

He was also the man responsible for bringing Python to stages across in the world in the form of Spamalot, the Tony-winning musical based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Drawing on his Broadway experience, Idle took the reins for the recent 02 show, co-ordinating and directing the all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza.

And let us not forget his appearance at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics, performing his classic song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.


John Cleese

(image: MGM/UIP)

(image: MGM/UIP)

If the only thing Cleese had ever made was Monty Python and Fawlty Towers, he would still be seen as one of the most influential figures in the history of comedy. However, he’s remained a regular figure on film and TV for decades – he even played Q in the last of Brosnan’s Bond movies.

He co-wrote and starred in A Fish Called Wanda, a classic caper that found success on both sides of the Atlantic. Ten years later, he reunited the Wanda cast for Fierce Creatures – a funny film that really deserves a re-watch.

In the past few years, Cleese has been travelling the world with a one-man show that he has dubbed his ‘Alimony Tour’. His 2008 divorce to his wife of 16 years left him £12 million pounds poorer, and with a need to pay £600,000 in annual alimony.

Cleese remarried in 2012, apparently having learned nothing.


Michael Palin

(image: BBC)

(image: BBC)

With his reputation as ‘the nicest man in show business’, Palin has turned himself into a national treasure thanks to his string of beloved travel programmes. Starting with Around the World in 80 Days in 1989, he popularised the idea of a ‘concept travel show’, winning fans all over the world.

As films go, Palin has mostly appeared in projects with his old Python buddies: playing a dangerously callous administrator in Brazil, a stammering thief in A Fish Called Wanda, and a talkative insectologist in Fierce Creatures.

He’s also since conquered the publishing world, having released three volumes of his diaries, dating back to his Python days in the 60s.


Terry Jones

(image: BBC)

(image: BBC)

While he might not be as well-known a director as the other Terry, but his impact on the film world is still pretty significant. He directed all three of the Python films as well as an over-looked 90s adaptation of The Wind in the Willows. On top of that, he wrote the screenplay for Jim Henson’s beloved movie Labyrinth!

Like Palin, Jones spread his wings into the publishing world. He parlayed his interest of history into a series of books and TV shows about the medieval period, occasionally lecturing in Universities on the subject.

Jones is currently in post-production for Absolutely Anything, his first film as a director for over 18 years. It’s a comedy that stars Simon Pegg as a school teacher who’s bestowed with the ability to do whatever he wants.

Watch The Zero Theorem now

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