cover image Everything I Needed To Know About _________*  I Learned From Monty Python

Everything I Needed To Know About _________* I Learned From Monty Python

Brian Cogan and Jeff Massey. St. Martin's, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-00470-3

Monty Python fans will applaud the efforts of fellow fans Cogan and Massey who introduce the surreal comedy group to the uninitiated by exploring the historical, political, literary, artistic, and even religious contexts for many of the troupe's sketches. When the first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus premiered in 1969, it resembled no other TV show at the time, mystifying its audiences as well as the BBC. The Pythoners succeeded so wildly, in the words of the members, because they were a "unique combination of individuals working together in a context and time period where challenging authority was possible and supervision was minimal." After traversing the territories of theory, art, and sports, among other topics, the authors share some of the lessons they've learned from Monty Python, such as "most of the things that you see in other people that look ridiculous or sound silly reflect how ridiculous and how silly you are," as well as "how to defend myself if anyone attacks me with a piece of fresh fruit." In the end, the narrative is often too cheeky, and their examination of Monty Python is thin compared to the show itself. (Mar.)