Monty Python

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Matthew Coady

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Not all the Python funnies work [in Monty Python's Big Red Book]. In print one is more aware of a sagging jest than on a screen which, in the next instant, is manically alive with Terry Gilliam's animations…. [A] deal of the material is no more than a reworking of gags which the addicted viewer has already tasted. Even so, the Big Red Book embodies that consistently savage view of the universe which characterises the programme at its devastating best. It depicts a world in which the Haves are for ever on the make, the Have-nots are ceaselessly gulled and a comic randiness informs almost every action. The ageing are left with a suspicion that many of their cherished values are being mocked, while the young are reminded that by joining the Army they can not only climb mountains in Cyprus and play football in Germany, but can have a decent military burial as well. (pp. 794-95)

Matthew Coady, "Pro Bono Pubico," in New Statesman (© 1971 The Statesman & Nation Publishing Co. Ltd.), Vol. 82, No. 2124, December 3, 1971, pp. 794-95.∗

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