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History of Monty Python / Open Lines

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Date Host Ian Punnett
Guests Open Lines, David Morgan

Writer David Morgan joined guest host Ian Punnett (Twitter) to discuss stories from his book on the oral history of comedy troupe Monty Python. Monty Python's Flying Circus (broadcast by the BBC from 1969 to 1974) presented a groundbreaking mix of absurdist, stream-of-consciousness comedy that pushed the traditional boundaries of format, style, and content. The six members, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin, were given free rein by the BBC to develop their show, Morgan explained, noting the comedy troupe took an anarchic approach.

"They realized they didn't need a punch line if they had a really good setup," he continued, adding that was something you did not see in televised American comedies. Their humor broke conventions and remains timeless because it primarily dealt with archetypes, Morgan suggested. The show came to America in 1974 airing on only a handful of PBS stations, he reported. The show became increasingly popular in America and their fanbase in the US ultimately eclipsed the number of fans of the program in England, he noted. According to Morgan, the closest equivalent American sketch comedy show to the stream-of-consciousness style of Monty Python is Whitest Kids U' Know (aired on IFC from 2007 to 2011).

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During Open Lines, Paul in Washington State reminisced about growing up watching comedic entertainers Red Skelton and Jackie Gleason perform on television. "Those two guys could do some comedy skits without the four-letter words that are so common with comedians nowadays," Paul said, noting they were extremely funny. Ian commented on how Skelton could get laughs using no words at all while performing pantomime skits on his television show.

John from Youngstown, Ohio, suggested the alphabet agencies are out to get President Trump and behind the Russiagate witch-hunt against him. John claimed to be a progressive liberal who is no fan of the president. "If you're going to be anti-establishment, you've got to oppose the most dangerous and sinister forces in our society, the CIA and the FBI and the military-industrial complex," he said.

Danny in Nevada phoned in to share the tragic story of his father, Bobby Ray Moore, who died on August 27, 2019, after pointing a loaded gun at deputies - a method of dying sometimes referred to as 'suicide by cop.' According to Danny, his father's wife had left him and he had received a terminal cancer diagnosis prior to the incident. Danny was quite upset as he recounted details, including the guilt he feels for purchasing the firearm his father used to get the police to shoot him.

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