The Portland Press Herald has interviewed Zack Handlen, author of If You Like Monty Python…. Here’s a little taste of the interview. Then check out the full Q & A on the Portland Press Herald’s website.
Where does Monty Python’s humor come from? What were some of their influences?
They’ve talked a lot about “The Goon Show,” which was a British radio show with Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers and others. It’s available on iTunes. It’s terrific. Each episode does a long-form sketch, with self-referential humor and word play. They also talk a lot about “Beyond the Fringe,” a theater revue that Dudley Moore and Peter Cook and others did. It was very much like prep school humor, intellectual.
Do you have a favorite Monty Python sketch or film scene?
It’s hard to say. My favorite film is “Life of Brian.” I think it’s the best “movie” movie they made. But I love “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” too. For sketches, there’s this very early sketch, I think it’s in the first or second episode (of the TV show), about the world’s funniest joke. If you hear it, you die laughing. So people keep dying and the government gets a hold of it, during World War II, and starts using it for military applications.
If You Like Monty Python… by Zack Handlen (Limelight Editions)
This is the first book to look at everything influenced by the Pythons, but also at those who came before them – from the classic British comedies to the Marx Brothers, and everything in the Python universe, from Fawlty Towers and A Fish Called Wanda to Spamalot and Brazil. If You Like…Monty Python is a book for any fan who has graduated from the Ministry of Silly Walks and wants more.
If You Like Monty Python… is available on Amazon, B&N, independent bookstores, and from limelighteditions.com.