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Monty Python

The television series, broadcast by the BBC from 1969 to 1974, was conceived, written and performed by Graham Chapman, John Cleese (1969-1973), Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Loosely structured as a sketch show, but with a highly innovative stream-of-consciousness approach (aided by Terry Gilliam's animations), it pushed the boundaries of what was then considered acceptable, both in terms of style and content.

The group's influence upon comedy has been compared to that which The Beatles had on music (George Harrison regarded them as taking over where The Beatles left off and in fact became friendly with the cast). Their influence on the British comedic spectrum has been apparent for years, while in America it is especially evident in more recent absurdist trends in television comedy.

The name was chosen simply because they thought it sounded funny. In 1998's ''Live at Aspen'' documentary, the group revealed how it came about. 'Monty' was selected as a tribute to Field Marshal Lord Montgomery, a legendary British general of World War II, and the team agreed that it wanted a 'slippery-sounding' name as well. The word 'Python' fit the bill. These ex...

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