The Naked Guy at the Organ

When I was a teenager, I discovered Monty Python’s Flying Circus, a British television comedy series. My local public TV station, I later learned, was the first in America to broadcast the show. It came on Sunday night, after my bedtime.

I would sneak into the living room, turn the TV on at a low volume, and watch comedy like I’d never seen before. It was stream-of-consciousness comedy, one sketch flowing right into the next, with occasional interludes from animator Terry Gilliam.

And it was hilarious, I thought. Unabashedly silly nonsense, and I loved it. The writing was sharp and brilliant, and so were the performances by the Pythons: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Gilliam, Eric Idle, Michael Palin…

…and Terry Jones, who passed away yesterday at age 77, due to complications from a rare form of dementia.

Terry brought many funny characters to life: the waitress reading a menu which included Spam in every single item, the naked man sitting at an organ in the unlikeliest of places (a boxing ring, a battlefield, etc.), the Spanish Inquisitor torturing with “the Soft Pillows!”, the dangerously obese Mr. Creosote in the movie “Monty Python’s Meaning of Life”, and the mother of Brian in the movie “Life of Brian”, who famously chides Brian’s followers who have mistaken him for someone else, “He’s not the Messiah! He’s a very naughty boy!”

R.I.P., Terry. Long live Spam Monty Python Spam!