The Monty Python FAQ

Version 1.2

Last Modified: 21 March, 1994

  This FAQ has been skillfully crafted by well informed Python fans using
ancient, well-known, classical hand-tooled knowledge.  It has been specially
designed to sit at the back of some ftp sites amongst the other Python files;
to be brought out and posted every so often.  Any complaints about the
humourous quality of the FAQ should be addressed to British Airways,
Ingraham's Drive, Greenwich.

  Any additional contributions and comments may be sent to:
Simon Rooney  
Brian Johnson 

The most recent version of this file may be found at the following sites:

* (  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US
      20568 monty.python.faq

* ( Edinburgh University, Scotland, UK
       8459 MontyPython.faq.gz

Thanks to the following people for their contributions:
* Greg O'Beirne for answering Robert Ashcroft's NSU question.
* Martyn Hawker asking about the "_narco-syndaclist commune"
* Victor Hodge for "It's a fair cop"
* The many others who have pointed out typos and have offered new suggestions
  and answers, including:
  - David W. Sanderson, Deryk Barker, Alex M Stevens, Ivan D. Reid

And now for something completely different.

Q: What is a FAQ?
A: FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions.  These files are created
        for the purpose of reducing the amount of redundant questions
        being asked.  By reading this file, you should have many of your
        questions answered or be able to find what you are looking for.

Q: Who were the members of the Monty Python comedy troupe?
A: There were six core members and a few others that helped out on quite
        a number of occasions.

   Core members:
     John Cleese  Born in Weston-Super-Mare on 27 October, 1939.
                  Married Connie Booth on 20 February 1968.  They
                  divorced shortly after the first series of Fawlty
                  Towers was broadcast.

   Terry Gilliam  Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 22 November, 1940.

  Graham Chapman  Born on 8 Jan, 1941 and died of cancer on 4 October
                  1989. :(  

     Terry Jones  Born 1 February, 1942.

       Eric Idle  Born 29 March, 1943.

   Michael Palin  Born 5 May, 1943.

     The extras:
 Carol Cleveland  Appeared with the Pythons in almost all the Flying
                  Circus TV series as well as in the films and
                  stage performances.

      Neil Innes  Gained popularity originally as a member of the
                  Bonzo Dog (Doo Dah) Band.  Wrote and performed
                  songs and appeared with the Pythons in their films,
                  stage shows and a few Flying Circus episodes.

    Connie Booth  Appeared in a few episodes of the Flying Circus and
                  also in the film "... the Holy Grail."  Best known
                  as "Polly" from Fawlty Towers.  She was married to
                  John Cleese from the late 60s to the mid 70s (see

   There were also many others who appeared in the Monty Python events,
      but these are the most notable ones.

Q: When did Monty Python become a comedy troupe?
A: Most probably on 11 May, 1969.  John Cleese and Graham Chapman were
       introduced to Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael
       Palin after a filming of "Do Not Adjust Your Set."  Their next
       meeting was the 23 May, 1969 where the BBC gave them the go-ahead
       to begin creating 13 episodes of a programme for the BBC.

Q: What is the real name of the "Monty Python's Flying Circus" theme?
A: The "Liberty Bell March" by John Philip Sousa.

Q: How many episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus are there?
A: There were 13 shows from each of the first 3 series and 6 shows in
       the 4th series for a total of 45.

Q: When were these episodes originally shown in the U.K.?
A: Monty Python's Flying Circus was shown on:

       Series 1: 5 October 1969 - 11 January 1970
       Series 2: 15 September 1970 - 22 December 1970
       Series 3: 19 October 1972 - 18 January 1973

   Since John Cleese left the group after the third series, the fourth
       was just called "Monty Python."

       Series 4: 31 October 1974 - 5 December 1974

Q: What is the translation of the world's funniest joke ...
        "Wenn ist das Nunstuck git und Slotermeyer?  Ja!  Beiherhund das Oder
        die Flipperwaldt gersput!"?
A: There is no translation since it is just gibberish.  A few of the words are
        German but others are just made up.  The same is true for ...
        "Die ist ein Kinnerhunder und zwei Mackel uber und der bitte schon ist
        den Wunderhaus sprechensie. 'Nein' sprecht der Herren 'Ist aufern
        borger mit zveitingen'."

Q: What is the correct pronunciation of the name "Raymond Luxury Yacht"?
A: The name is pronounced "Throatwarbler Mangrove".

Q: How many films have Monty Python done and what are they about?
A: Five.

   1971 And Now For Something Completely Different

        The Pythons made this film for about #80,000 (GB) and recorded it
        at various locations over a period of five weeks during November
        and December of 1970.  Most of the interior shots were filmed in a
        former milk depot in north London.  The film opened on 28 September,
        1971 and consisted of highlights from the first two series of the
        "Monty Python's Flying Circus" television programme.

   1974 Monty Python and the Holy Grail

        This film was also shot in about five weeks on a budget of just under
        #230,000 (GB).  The locations used for the film were mostly in Scotland
        in and around Doune Castle, Castle Stalker, Glen Coe, Arnhall Castle,
        Bracklinn, Killin, and Sherriffmuir.  The scene with the "Black Knight"
        was shot in a forest outside of London.  The film first premiered in
        March 1975 in Los Angeles and opened in London on 3 April, 1975.  The
        movie is based upon King Arthur's quest for the Holy Grail.

   1979 Monty Python's Life of Brian

        Shot entirely in Tunesia, this movie was filmed from 16 September to
        12 November, 1978.  The script had gone through a number of revisions
        before the final version was settled upon.  Funding was also a major
        problem since EMI, who originally said it would fund the film, withdrew
        its support.  Luckily, Handmade Films, which was created by George
        Harrison and Denis O'Brien, stepped in and saved the project.  The movie
        premiered 17 August, 1979 in New York and is about a contemporary of
        Christ who is mistaken as being the Messiah.  The film caused quite a
        stir amongst the religious communities in many countries because they
        believed that it was blasphemous towards Christ.  The book "Monty
        Python: The Case Against" gives an excellent detailing of these events.

   1982 Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl

        While struggling trying to write the script for their next film, the
        Pythons decided to take a break and raise some more money for their
        project.  The idea of performing a show at the Hollywood bowl was
        struck upon.  The concert was videotaped and later transferred to
        film, re-edited, then released in New York on 25 June, 1982.  The
        movie contains some of their best sketches and also footage from the
        German TV specials that they did in 1971 and 1972.

   1983 Monty Python's The Meaning of Life

        By far the most difficult movie for the Pythons to agree upon.  Filming
        began on 12 July, 1982 and continued throughout that summer.  The movie
        went through a number of screenings and re-edits before finally being
        released on 30 March, 1983.  The film examines the different stages of
        life and attempts to answer the question of the meaning of life.

Q: What does the witch say after she has been tried and found guilty by the
        logician in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail?"
A: "It's a fair cop."  The phrase is thieves cant for "you've got me dead to
        rights" which means that there has been no entrapment and the person
        was fairly caught in the act.  The line has also been used in a few
        other Flying Circus sketches like "Dead Bishop on the Landing / The
        Church Police" and "Whizzo Chocolates."

Q: At the beginning of the film, the guard speaking to Arthur says, "Pull the
        other one."  What is the guard implying?
A: In essence, the guard conveys his disbelief of what Arthur had just said.
        The phrase might also be taken as a challenge to Arthur to tell yet
        another, even more exaggerated lie.  The origin of the phrase most
        likely comes from "You're pulling my leg" (i.e. "You're lying to me").

Q: What is an anarcho-syndicalist commune?
A: Anarcho: relating anarchism; the rejection of the state or any other forms
        of authority for a society based upon voluntary cooperation of
   Syndicalist: relating to syndicalism; originally, a socialist doctrine that
        emphasized the workers taking control of the factories where they
        worked; the term has been broadened to include many other doctrines
        that support worker control.
   Commune: A settlement of people based upon the common ownership of material
        goods which have a tradition of self government.

Q: What do the monks chant in the film?
A: The language they are chanting is in Latin and the phrase is ...
        "Pie Iesu Domine.  Dona Eis Requiem."  It means "Holy Lord Jesus.
        Grant them rest."  The phrases are included in many Catholic funeral

Q: What do the knights who no longer say "NI!" now call themselves?
A: They are now the knights who say "Ekki ekki ekki ekki pikang zoom-boing
         ."  This is more of a phonetic spelling since what was
        actually said does not match what was printed in the script.

Q: In the Medical Love Song there is a reference to "NSU."  What is this?
A: Non-Specific Urethritis.  That is, any inflammation of the Urethra, caused
        by an organism not otherwise covered in any other disease. 

Q: What are the words to the "Philosopher's Drinking Song?"
A: Grab a Fosters, Bruce, and join in!

   Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
        who was very rarely stable.
   Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
        who could think you under the table.
   David Hume could out consume
        Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, (Other versions: "Shoppenhauer and Hegel")
   And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
        who was just as sloshed as Schlegel.

   There's nothing Nietzsche couldn't teach ya
       'bout the raisin' of the wrist.
   Socrates himself was permanently pissed.

   John Stewart Mill, of his own free will,
        after half a pint of shandy was particularly ill.
   Plato, they say, could stick it away,
        'alf a crate of whiskey every day!
   Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle,
        and Hobbes was fond of his Dram.
   And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart:
        "I drink, therefore I am."

   Yes, Socrates himself is particularly missed;
   A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he's pissed.

Q: What is shandy?
A: Shandy is a mixed drink of beer with ginger beer or lemonade (for the US
        readers, substitute "lemonade" with "7-UP").

Q: What are the words to the "Lumberjack Song?"
A: The Larch!

       Lumberjack: (sings)
   Oh, I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK,
   I sleep all night and I work all day.

       Mounties: (sing)
   He's a lumberjack and he's OK,
   He sleeps all night and he works all day.

       Lumberjack: (sings)
   I cut down trees, I eat my lunch,
   I go to the lavatory.
   On Wednesdays I go shopping,
   And have buttered scones for tea.

       Mounties: (sing)
   He cuts down trees, he eats his lunch,
   He goes to the lavatory.
   On Wednesdays he goes shopping,
   And has buttered scones for tea.

       Lumberjack/Mounties: (sing)
   I'm/He's a lumberjack and I'm/he's OK,
   I/He sleep/sleeps all night and I/he work/works all day.

       Lumberjack: (sings)
   I cut down trees, I skip and jump,
   I like to press wild flowers.
   I put on women's clothing
   And hang around in bars.

       Mounties: (sing)
   He cuts down trees, he skips and jumps,
   He likes to press wild flowers.
   He puts on women's clothing
   And hangs around in bars ... ?

       Lumberjack/Mounties: (sing)
   I'm/He's a lumberjack and I'm/he's OK,
   I/He sleep/sleeps all night and I/he work/works all day.

       Lumberjack: (sings)
   I cut down trees, I wear high heels,
   Suspenders and a bra.     (Other versions: "Suspendies and a bra.")
   I wish I was a girlie     (Other versions: "I wish I'd been a girlie")
   Just like my dear Papa.   (Other versions: "Just like my dear Mama.")

       Mounties: (sing)
   He cuts down trees, he wears high heels,
   Suspenders ... and a bra? (Shocked, the Mounties start to mumble)

   [Note: some versions end here, some include dialogue, and others continue
   with the song.]

   (Piano vamp)

       Lumberjack/Mounties: (sing)
   I'm/He's a lumberjack and I'm/he's OK ...
   I/He sleep/sleeps all night and I/he work/works all day.

Q: I've heard that the philosopher's drinking song and the lumberjack song
       both have different lyrics for a few phrases.  What are the correct
       lyrics for these songs then?
A: Actually there is no one correct version.  Usually if someone posts a tran-
       scription of a song or sketch, it has been taken from only one source.
       The Pythons on many occasions performed songs or sketches differently by
       changing lyrics or adding different conclusions and transitions.  An
       excellent example of this is the Parrot Shop sketch which can be found
       on many of the Python's recordings.

Q: What are the names of the Monty Python albums and when were they released?
A: I will not buy this record.  It is scratched.

   1970 Monty Python's Flying Circus
        (This album was recorded before a live studio audience.  Contains
        sketches from the first season of "Monty Python's Flying Circus")

   1971 Another Monty Python Record
        (Their second album consists mostly of sketches from the second series
        of MPFC but it does include some original material)

   1972 Monty Python's Previous Record
        (Contains an equal mix of original material and third series work)

   1973 Monty Python's Matching Tie and Handkerchief
        (The original album was the world's first 3 sided LP record.  One side
        had two separate groves that played different material depending upon
        where the needle had been dropped.  Contains original material and
        sketches from the third series)

   1974 Monty Python Live at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
        (Live sketches performed during their 1973 tour of England.  Contains
        some original material)

   1975 The Album of the Soundtrack of the Tralier of the Film of Monty Python
        and the Holy Grail
        (Mostly contains bits from the movie but they are linked together with
        new material)

   1976 Monty Python Live at City Center
        (Concert performance of sketches in New York.  New songs by Neil Innes)

   1976 The Worst of Monty Python
        (A repackaging of "Another Monty Python Record" and "Monty Python's
        Previous Record")

   1977 The Monty Python Instant Record Collection
        (The first collection of Monty Python's best sketches.  No original

   1979 Monty Python's Life of Brian
        (Contains bits from the film but has many original links joining the
        sketches together)

   1980 Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album
        (Many songs but everything is original)

   1981 The Monty Python Instant Record Collection (Vol II)
        (Another collection of Monty Python's greatest hits)

   1983 Monty Python's the Meaning Of Life (soundtrack)
        (Bits from the movie with original introductions and links)

   1988 The Final Ripoff
        (A double length compilation of the best of Monty Python.  Contains a
        brief original introduction by Michael Palin)

   1990 Monty Python Sings
        (Contains almost all of the songs that the Pythons have ever released)

   Note: There are also a number of singles and compilation albums that
         contain Python material.

Q: What are the Monty Python books and what years were they first published?
A: Wait!  I can't read!

   1971 Monty Python's Big Red Book

   1973 The Brand New Monty Python Bok

   1974 The Brand New Monty Python Papperbok
        (Rerelease of the above title)

   1977 Monty Python Ik Den Holie Gralien (Bok)

   1979 Monty Python's Life of Brian/MONTYPYTHONSCRAPBOOK
        (One side has the script from the film, the other side has bits from
        the script plus photos and more)

   1979 Monty Python's Life of Brian
        (The film script with scenes cut from the film and much more)

   1981 The Complete Works of Shakespeare and Monty Python: Volume 1 - Monty

   1983 The Meaning of Life

   1988 The Monty Python Gift Boks
        (Repackaging of the first two books with a poster)

   1989 Monty Python's Flying Circus: Just the Words - Volume 1  aka
        The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus: All the Words - Volume 1

   1989 Monty Python's Flying Circus: Just the Words - Volume 2  aka
        The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus: All the Words - Volume 2

   1990 Monty Python's Flying Circus - Just the Words (Volumes 1 & 2)

Q: Are there any reference books dealing with the subject of Monty Python?
A: Yes.  Quite a few, actually.

   1980 From Fringe to Flying Circus
        Author: Roger Wilmut
        (Covers the more recent history of British comedy and includes a
        section on Monty Python.  Contains many photos and excerpts from some

   1981 Monty Python: The Case Against
        Author: Robert Hewison
        (Deals with the many cases where Monty Python has "crossed the line" of
        what was considered humour.  Includes the BBC concern over the under-
        takers sketch, the ABC injunction and court case, and the controversy
        surrounding the release of the film, "The Life of Brian.")

   1982 Monty Python: Complete and Utter Theory of the Grotesque
        Author: John O. Thompson

   1983 Life of Python
        Author: George Perry
        (Gives an overview of British comedy's history and origins along with
        a personal history of each Python member.  Lots of photos)

   1989 The First 200 Years of Monty Python
        Author: Kim "Howard" Johnson
        (Has many interesting facts from each Flying Circus episode, profiles
        of each member, lists of Python stuff, and more)

   1991 And Now For Something Completely Trivial: The Monty Python Trivia and
        Quiz Book
        Author: Kim "Howard" Johnson
        (Tests how well you know your Python)

   1992 Monty Python: A Chronological Listing of the Troupe's Creative Output
        and Articles and Reviews About Them, 1969-89
        Author: Douglas L. McCall
        (Gives a day-by-day account of the accomplishments of the Pythons and
        other events concerning them)

   1993 Life Before and After Monty Python: The Solo Flights of the Flying
        Author: Kim "Howard" Johnson
        (Contains just about everything else that the Pythons have ever done.
        Excellent companion to "The First 200^H Years ..." book.  Has a special
        chapter devoted to Chapman)

Q: Where can I get the script to ... ?
Q: Where can I get sounds from ... ?
Q: Where can I get pictures of ... ?
A: Well, assuming you are able to and know how to use "ftp", you can get a
   copy of the most current Monty Python FTP list from the following location:

        Site: (
   Directory: /pub/cathouse/humor/british.humour/monty.python
        File: monty.python.ftp

Q: Will the Monty Python comedy troupe ever get back together again?
A: No.

Q: What would it take to get them back together?
A: Well, since Graham Chapman has already died, I'd imagine a couple of bullets
        each would do the trick.  

Q: Why is it the world never remembers the name of Johann Gambolputty de von
        gumberaber-shoenendanker-kalbsfleisch-mittler-aucher von Hautkopft of
A: Good question.

   Here endeth the lesson.

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