Monday, October 19, 2009

Monty Python and the cardboard cut-out: all six members reunited in New York

Michael Palin, cardboard cutout of Graham Chapman,Terry Gilliam, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Carol Cleveland Monty Python 40th anniversary event at the Ziegfeld Theatre
Michael Palin, cardboard cutout of Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam,
John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Carol Cleveland

Their waistlines have expanded along with the alimony payments, but 40 years after their television debut, the surviving members of the Monty Python crew were reunited on stage.

John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin exchanged cheerful insults at the New York event, during which they were honoured with a Bafta Special Award.

Graham Chapman did not allow a small thing such as being dead stop him from taking part. A cardboard cut-out of the comedian, who died in 1989, took a seat alongside his fellow Pythons.

He even took a question or two from the audience at the Ziegfield Theatre. That was until Cleese abruptly ejected him from the stage in favour of Carol Cleveland, Python's regular female contributor.

Cleese, 69, has launched a new tour titled How To Finance Your Divorce, after the split from his wife, Alyce Faye Eichelberger, which has cost him £12 million.

But the Fawlty Towers star demonstrated that he is not afraid to mention the war. During a lull in the audience question-and-answer session, Cleese reminisced: "What about that very, very funny thing that happened at Auschwitz?"

This prompted an anecdote about a Python tour of Germany. They arrived at a concentration camp for a private tour only to find it was closed, prompting Chapman to suggest: "Tell them we're Jewish."

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