Monty Python (Mostly) Live: One Down, Five to Go is a concert film by British comedy troupe Monty Python, filmed at the O2 Arena in London in July 2014 and released on DVD, Blu-Ray, and streaming in November of the same year. It is the End of an Age for the quintet (formerly sextet until the death of Graham Chapman in 1989).
The troupe lost a lawsuit to the producer of Monty Python and the Holy Grail for £800,000 ($994,600), (he claimed he was owed royalties from Spamalot) and they decided to raise the money by throwing the stage equivalent of their retirement party.
And what a party it turned out to be.
It serves as a "best of" compilation, featuring many of the Pythons' most memorable sketches—"Spam", "The Spanish Inquisition", "Four Yorkshiremen", and—of course—"Dead Parrot", just to name a few.
The show was done as a series of ten performances, the last of which was broadcast to theaters internationally on July 20, 2014. It is this performance that was released to media platforms.
The DVD/Blu-Ray release was dedicated to Robin Williams, who had been offered the spot of the final night's "Blackmail" celebrity guest, but declined due to issues with the depression which would ultimately claim his life the following month (August).
Who woulda thought, 40 years ago, we'd all be sitting here, reading these tropes?:
- Bait-and-Switch: At the end of the "Vocational Guidance Counselor/Lion Tamer" sketch, Palin starts saying "I never really wanted to be a Lion Tamer...I WANTED TO BE...a systems analyst". He would then go into "The Lumberjack Song" note
- The Cameo: Sprinkled throughout, including Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones as Mounties during "The Lumberjack Song". But most notable are the appearances of Eddie Izzard as one of the "Bruces" during the "Bruce" sketch, and Mike Myers as the celebrity guest for "Blackmail".
- The special guest during "Blackmail" was different every night.
- During the afterword of The Galaxy Song Stephen Hawking runs over Brian Cox. Later, Stephen Hawking is seen in the audience.
- Izzard, Cox, and Warwick Davis appeared on stage at the end of the final show. Davis had been a "Blackmail" celebrity guest earlier in the run.
- Cannot Spit It Out: The title character of the "Miss Anne Elk" sketch's prolonged coughing fits when she tries to tell the host her theory (which happens to be no big secret anyway) could qualify her as this.
- Happens to John Cleese no less than twice throughout the show, most blatantly during "Crunchy Frog" (when he finds himself quoting "Dead Parrot" and cracks up), and "Dead Parrot" (in which he flubs a line).
- John Cleese told the other Pythons that the first to corpse would have to donate £10,000 to charity. Cleese himself was the first to crack up. Idle saying "He couldn't get through the first sketch!".
- Terry Gilliam loses it during "Crunchy Frog" as well.
- Country Matters: Snuck in at the end of the second verse during "The Penis Song".
- Crosscast Role: With a cast full of elderly British men and several skits that involve female roles, this is more or less a requirement. Special mention goes to Terry Jones for his uncanny ability to pull off a convincing woman.
- Curtain Call: After the "Christmas in Heaven" number, the Pythons come back out and Eric Idle is holding a guitar, which he uses to lead the Pythons, the cast, and the entire O2 audience in one final performance of—what else?—"Always Look on the Bright Side of Life".
- Deadpan Snarker: Cleese, as always. Though, in a troupe full of them, he's certainly in good company.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: During "Miss Anne Elk":Host: Good evening and welcome to another edition of Science Today, where we look at science today.
- Flat "What": During "Why Michelangelo Didn't Paint The Last Supper":Michelangelo Idle: We'll call it The Last But One Supper.
His Holiness Pope Cleese I: ...what.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The TV host does this to Old Lady Cleese and Old Lady Jones.News anchor: Well, it's just gone 8:00, in time for the penguin on top of your television set to explode. [cue exploding penguin]
- Gallows Humor: As if recognizing their own ages, an alternate title for the show was "One Down, Five To Go".
- Gasshole: Terry Gilliam as Constable (Ex-)Parrot in "Crunchy Frog". Justified in that he's apparently eaten one of the, um...snacks.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The "Nudge Nudge" sketch is full of this.
- Gratuitous Spanish: The "Llamas" sketch which opens the show is completely done in Spanish. There are subtitles for those not fluent with the language, but since this is Monty Python...who knows.
- Hypocritical Humor: A promo video for the show featuring Mick Jagger.Who wants to see that again, really? It's a bunch of wrinkly old men trying to relive their youth and make a load of money the best one died years ago!
- Mythology Gag: Oh so many. Makes sense with this being the Pythons' final farewell.
- Non Sequitur: The following is explained by Terry Jones saying, in character, "I panicked":Old Lady Cleese: Penguins don't come from next door! They come from the Antarctic.
Old Lady Jones: Burma!!
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Played for Laughs during "Blood, Devastation, Death, War, and Horror".
- Precision F-Strike:
- Cleese does it thrice, once in "Why Michelangelo Didn't Paint The Last Supper"...His Holiness Pope Cleese I: Look, I'm the head of the fucking Catholic Church, I am, so watch it!
- ...During "Crunchy Frog"...Inspector Cleese: Fuck your sales; we have to protect the general public.
- ...And during "Albatross".Vendor Cleese: 'Course you don't get fucking wafers with it! It's an albatross!
- Cleese does it thrice, once in "Why Michelangelo Didn't Paint The Last Supper"...
- Serial Escalation: The "Four Yorkshiremen" spend almost the entirety of said skit trying to outdo each other with stories of their respective troubled upbringings as youth. Eric Idle gets the final word on this occasion.
- Shout-Out: During the Hurricane of Euphemisms near the end of the "Dead Parrot" sketch, John Cleese adds the line, "He's expired and gone to meet Dr. Chapman." Both Cleese and Palin look to the heavens and give a thumbs-up.
- Stock British Phrases: The word "bugger" is all over the place in this one, but the qualifier for this trope is at the end of "Galaxy Song".Eric Idle: And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space
'Cos there's bugger all down here on Earth
- Take That!: Eric Idle delivers one to English beer during the "Bruces" sketch.Head Bruce: We find, over here, your English beer is a little like making love in a canoe... It's fucking close to water!
- Take That, Critics!: The final show included Cleese and Palin mocking the Daily Mail and its editor, after they published a negative review of the show.
- Unusual Euphemism: "Intercourse the penguin." from Terry Jones.
Monty Python 1969-2014