Sunday, August 26, 2007

Top 5 Pythons

From wiki: "The group's influence on comedy has often been compared to The Beatles' influence on music." So I think a Top 5 is in order. I came up with this idea when I landed on PBS, which was airing the German episode of Flying Circus. Let me preface this list with the obvious, that there aren't remotely any "bad" Pythons in my book, but I'm assuming we might disagree on the ranking scheme.

Ryan's Top 5:

1. Michael Palin - I give Palin a slight nod over Cleese, so that someone else can change the order. Palin wrote a pretty good novel in Hemingway's Chair. He was, notably, the dead parrot salesman, the transvestite lumberjack, and the lead cardinal of The Spanish Inquisition.

2. John Cleese - Probably the most talented of the bunch, if we're being objective, which isn't exactly something I pride myself on (hi, my name is Ryan). Played loads of roles, but the ones that come to mind are the Minister of Silly Walks and the double vision leader of the proposed expedition to Kilimanjaro. He was also essentially the host of a lot of the episodes and And Now For Something Completely Different, and frequently narrated. Fawlty Towers is also hilarious, and really so is anything else he's in.

3. Graham Chapman - Probably the most dead of the bunch, if we're being objecti... oh, wait. Played King Arthur and Brian, and he was The Colonel.

4. Eric Idle - He wrote "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life," which really could make him #1. Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more.

5. Terry Gilliam - I thought about putting Jones here but The Pythons really wouldn't have been the same without their trademark cartoon animation, which even now is eminently and immediately recognizable. He was also great as Patsy in The Holy Grail.

It feels wrong not including Terry Jones, because he was a principal writer of some of the best sketches and also earns bonus points for penning the Labyrinth screenplay. But someone had to go to fit in the animator.

Dan's Top 5:

1. Michael Palin - Unlike Ryan's reasoning, mine is that he truly is my favorite Python. He seemed the most versatile, as well as the most Charismatic. Played practically everything in The Holy Grail, and a number of memorable roles in the television series.

2. Graham Chapman - Probably my favorite of what seemed to be the two "leaders," Chapman and Cleese. I loved the juxtaposition of straight-faced and absurd. Co-wrote “The Ministry of Silly Walks”, "Raymond Luxury Yacht", and “Dead Parrot.” Oh, and here is part of his memorial service.

3. Eric Idle - The musical talent of the group (apart from Neil Innes) and perhaps the most unique of the bunch (he wrote his material alone). Also responsible for "Spamalot," which I would love to see.

4. John Cleese - I really feel bad putting him this low, as it seems like he's one of the smartest of the bunch. However, he's been tremendously successful outside of Monty Python, so I'm sure he'll cope.

5. Terry Jones - I hate to leave out Gilliam, but half of my esteem for him comes from his non-Python directing efforts. So, I feel it's better to have Jones included for his terrific acting and cross-dressing.

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