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The Pythons Autobiography By The Pythons

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  2,001 ratings  ·  117 reviews
In 1969, six Englishmen (well, one was Welsh and another was an interloping American) came together to create a television programme about an unscrupulous, untrustworthy and frankly slimy theatrical agent named Monty Python. Monty Python's Flying Circus changed the face of television comedy and now, more than four hundred years later (well, thirty years and a bit, really) ...more
Paperback, 463 pages
Published September 2005 by Orion Books (first published 2003)
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Robert Day
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: knowledge
Forget about the impact of The Pythons on British Culture and The World, what about the impact of The Pythons on My Sense of Humour!

I think it’s fair to say that I have a warped sense of humour, and for this I hold The Pythons to be fully responsible. I mean, one of them is from my home town of Sheffield – it’s clearly a plot!

The thing is, this has infected and affected my entire adult life.

Whereas before The Pythons, the worst thing that could be said about me was ‘Must try harder’; after The
...more
Lorenzo Berardi
Oct 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, british
...and now for something completely different, let me introduce you the Pythons autobiography by... the Pythons themselves (applause).

What you can find in this book is:
John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and yes, ladies and gentlemen, Graham Chapman live-dead from the afterlife talking about the twenty years they spent together.
Plus
What they did earlier.
What they did after.
Plus
Who they were before Monty Python:
their provincial childhoods, their boarding and public
...more
Michaela
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy-related
Despite giving this book 4 stars I must admit I hated it. Not because it was a bad book - it's a brilliant book and obviously the only way to do a Python biography that gives out a true feeling of how the Pythons worked together - I hated it because as a Python fan, or indeed a fan of any comedy group, you have this idea in your head of a very idyllic "behind the scenes" relationship within the group where someone says a funny word, they all laugh, and run off into the sunset together. Perhaps ...more
Shorty
Thank goodness this is almost all recordings of the actual cast members, or I wouldn’t have listened to it. As it is, and since I am a massive fan, I loved it. I just wish there had been more from Chapman, but as he is dead and has been for some time, this wasn’t particularly possible at this time.
It’s not a long listen, and was rather fun. Please check and see if your local library has a copy so you can listen to it also. I feel it was well worth it.

4 stars, and recommended to all.

“The Pythons
...more
Margaret
The Pythons Autobiography is a funny and fascinating history of Monty Python, by the Pythons themselves: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. (Graham Chapman died in 1989; he's represented by excerpts from earlier books and articles, as well as by his longtime companion David Sherlock and his brother and sister-in-law John and Pam Chapman.) Switching back and forth from one member to another, it covers their individual beginnings, their coming ...more
Marco G
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adore the pythons but unfortunately this audiobook was a companion to the huge book of their autobiography. So, I'll give the audiobook 4 stars for what it is and read the book in the near future.
Dustin Reade
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really, this book is great, but beware: it will change the way you see the Pythons. It did for me anyway. I built up this idea that they were all friends, making shows and movies because they spent all their time together, making each other laugh. I had no business doing that. No reason to believe it. No tabloid or interview ever told me that was the case. Turns out: it wasn't/isn't the case. They fought. They were just a writing group/entertainment company type thing. That took a hammer to my ...more
Donna
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
2006:

"Could I love Michael Palin more? No, no I could not. And don't even get me started on the whole getting paid to travel around the world thing and write books about it. Funny books. Between him and Bill Bryson, I -- Oh, but about the book? It's definitely worth reading if you're a fan, although it's a long one, and some of the pages have just the stupidest layouts ever devised - I mean, let us use tiny black print and place it on a background consisting of dark photographs. Or better yet!
...more
Kirsten
Feb 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is sort of like "The Python Anthology." The remaining members of Monty Python, as well as Graham Chapman's brother, sister-in-law, and longtime partner David Sherlock, tell the history of Monty Python in their own words. There are a lot of contradictions; no one can seem to remember who actually picked "The Liberty Bell March" as the theme, for example, and some things have become so legendary that one gets the feeling that everyone is telling the version that makes the best story (case in ...more
Siria
Nov 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A weighty and impressive-looking coffee-table book, The Pythons makes excellent reading for devoted fans, though it's probably too in-depth for those who aren't interested in the nuts and bolts of how the series were produced. Although they don't deal with everything—understandably, after four decades I'm sure there are some things that can't be recalled, and everyone needs some measure of privacy for themselves—what is discussed is frank and honest, even if that honesty seems to have led to ...more
Grig O'
recommended for any python fan, this book covers pretty much all the bases. a quick and interesting read - i would've liked it if the pythons' involvement in this were a little more than just being interviewed, but i guess we can't expect much more from them at this point.



oh and there's plenty of sweet pics, too.
Alberto
Nov 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's... an account of the story of the group since the very beginnings (childhood and all). I personally found Graham Chapman's story (told here with some excerpts from other books and with testimony of his longtime partner, his brother and his sister-in-law) quite amusing. In general, the book is a pretty fast and entertaining read. Recommended even if you are not that much into Monty Python.
J. Bryce
If you're a Pythonista, this is required reading! Lots of fun, lots of photos, diary entries and interviews.
Jim
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would just like to say how much I enjoyed this book. This is a story about four Englishmen, a Welshman, an American (and later on an Englishwoman) who came together to form one of the most influential comedy groups not just of the 1960s and 1970s, but of all time. They did not just change the face of comedy, they managed to influence their own and subsequent generations. It is the words of the Python’s by the Pythons about the Pythons, including the late Dr. Graham Chapman (he is an ex-python. ...more
Realini
The Autobiography of Monty Python by John Cleese, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and the rest of the team
Some say this is the best comedy team ever.

I tend to agree, even if I was not thrilled by the autobiography. To be fair, biographies and autobiographies are not particularly my favorite genre.
To make matters worse, I think I expected this to be as funny as the sketches and films.
And a book which talks about childhood, education in a rather serious manner cannot be.
And besides, the bar had been
...more
John Johnson
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I'm not sure the authors expected people to actually read this book cover to cover, the way I did. It is big and heavy and full of pictures, which leads me to believe it might have been intended as a casual coffee table book. But I read it; all of it. I expected it to be a very funny book, considering it was written by the Monty Python team. It wasn't very funny at all, but it is a very interesting story of how the group came to be and how they managed to stay together and accomplish so much.

...more
Joseph
Aug 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Python’s Autobiography by the Pythons possesses a great balance of their comedic nature along with a poignancy that helps the reader discover how they came about into being and the methods they employed in achieving several occurrences of comic brilliance.

The book begins with sketches of each member's past and posits the impact that certain moments and circumstances (i.e. abuse, failure, and isolation) may have had on their future. Each Python makes a connection between their younger lives
...more
Chris
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
All the Pythons (one from his grave) give a collective account of the career of the owner of one Flying Circus, an account made up of extracts from interviews and extracts from diaries and published memoirs. The late Graham Chapman is represented by his own surreal recollections and comments from family members and partner, while the rest discourse freely on their early lives, education, university experiences (principally Oxbridge) and occupations as comedy writers, actors and (in the case of ...more
Madalena
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great book for Python fans or anyone who wants to know more about then, their journey and the turn that comedy had in the 60s in the UK. Which was when satire and all of that dark humour most of us grew up with was actually born.
This book is great fun but it is also quite informative. The British Pythons were all born during WWII and it is very interesting to read about their experiences growing up.
As you read the book you get this notion that Monty Python burst out of this river of change that
...more
Anna
Sep 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting book about how Monty Python as a collective and the Pythons themselves came to be and what they did and what they didn't do.

But.
The translation seemed to have a few errors, or maybe the original did, I wouldn't know, as I only read the translation.
I'm not sure I wanted to know about all the issues they had with each other and their choices. Not really. In my head they were all one big happy family and now that image is ruined. Which is sort of sad. (Even if the sensible part of me
...more
AL
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
I just saw this recently in the store, liked the structure of the book (ie Please Kill Me) and thought I might finally want to read about the Python members. I found it much more interesting than I thought, but this book did start to lag once Python had begun making movies as the hindsight still seemed emotionally charged and therefore was a bit restrained. Once the people get famous, they tend to obstruct their lives a bit and indulge in some revisionist history from time to time, but all in ...more
Fraser
Aug 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has sat on my shelf (bottom one it is huge) for such a long time I had just about forgotten about it until listing it on Goodreads.

Glad I eventually did get around to reading it. Immersing back into the surreal and ever so slightly absurd, yet familiar world of Monty Python was extremely enjoyable. I cannot recall an autobiography from several points of view, sometimes simultaneous and overlapping and of course all relevant to the tale! The book triumphs at these points, giving an
...more
Jana Eichhorn
Aug 21, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sadly, I'm bailing on this one. I love the Pythons, but there's just no story here.
Neil Cake
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Collecting and editing a series of separate interviews is certainly easier than forming a collective narrative - not least because the recollections of the subjects in question differ - but that doesn't make this loose "autobiography" any less compelling. There are only two laugh-out-loud parts, but I wasn't expecting there to be any, in all honesty. What there is, is a lot of what I wanted to know about; the creative process, how the team worked and collaborated - the act of artistic creation. ...more
Noam
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
In short: if you love the Pythons - read it!!!

I'd also start with a warning: this book is probably not as funny as you'd expect it to be. Which I didn't mind at all.

It wasn't actually written by the Pythons, but their stories were collected and then edited together to form their story. They were interviewed individually, and so in addition to actually reading what went on, you also get each person's pov, in their own clear voice.

It is a great look behind the scenes of a group which changed
...more
John Humber
This edition is quite lengthy and probably not for the casually curious. Each of the Pythons gives their view of their story and it's interesting to see how they did not always agree. The format follows both their individual and group lives chronologically, jumping from one to another on every page. This is at the same time entertaining, informative and irritating. If you want the story from everyone's viewpoint, it does that; if you want to skip the more repetitive parts, you can. The format is ...more
Daniel
Jan 02, 2012 rated it liked it
A very thorough account of the Pythons humble beginnings within the confines of Oxbridge and US Midwest to international stardom and infamy. If you're interested in their backgrounds then this book is a good starting point. The chapters at the start of the book before they were "famous" so to speak, felt disjointed and all over the place. And even at some points VERY BORING. Hence it took me a real while to get into the book but once you get to the point where they are working together on Monty ...more
Dennis
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An indispensable book- comprehensive, encyclopedic, and fairly bursting with anecdotes as charming as only a Python tale can be. So why not five stars? Well, because approximately 7% of this book is completely unreadable. No, not because of the prose, but because the photo-layered layout (where monochrome imprints of Python photos and art underlay/lie the text...OFTEN IN NEARLY THE SAME COLOR AS THE TEXT) renders many pages completely, literally unreadable.
Nonsense.

Great book, though. What I
...more
Al
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook-done
The book was created using interviews with the surviving members of Monty Python troupe. It must pale in comparison to the audiobook. Instead of a narrator reading the text, they use recordings of those interviews. The down side is that it sounds like a small handheld recorder sitting on a table in the middle of a room. A few spots where someone's voice is hard to hear, as if someone across the room turned away from the recorder for a moment. But it's great hearing them reminisce about their ...more
jamie
Nov 28, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i was home sick from work and managed to read this entire book in one day. it was great - especially loved all the photos and the particularly the postcards sent to terry jones from the rest of the guys in amsterdam.

plenty of juicy information for the python fanatic, but i wanted to know more about the sketches and who wrote them. but there's plenty of other information to learn, straight from the mouths of the pythons themselves.

ps: john cleese really loves michael palin, doesn't he? haha.
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Sir Michael Edward Palin, KCMG, CBE, FRGS is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter best known for being one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and for his travel documentaries.

Palin wrote most of his material with Terry Jones. Before Monty Python, they had worked on other shows such as The Ken Dodd Show, The Frost Report and Do Not Adjust Your Set. Palin appeared
...more