11 Best Monty Python Moments

It’s been 30 years since the Flying Circus gang parted ways. With news that the five surviving members are reuniting for a stage show, take a look back at some of their best moments.

Python Pictures/Everett Collection

1. Dead Parrot

Arguably one of the most well-known sketches, Dead Parrot teaches us that if it looks like a dead parrot, and feels like a dead parrot, it’s probably a dead parrot—but that won’t stop someone from trying to convince you that it’s not.

2. Ministry of Silly Walks

John Cleese put his long legs to good use in this sketch. As a civil servant working for the Ministry of Silly Walks, Cleese is responsible for providing grants to others who seek to develop silly walks that rival his own. Try them out on your morning commute—we promise you’ll never look cooler.

3. The Black Knight

Here’s a lesson worth heeding for those who suffer from overconfidence. While the Black Knight is noble in his refusal to give up, “‘tis but a scratch” has never been more of an understatement.

4. Spam

Good luck avoiding spam in this café. As Mrs. Bun quickly realizes, trying to order anything without spam will only get you into trouble. Apparently this sketch is also where the term for spam emails originated. So you can thank Monty Python for that one.

5. Knights Who Say Ni

King Arthur and his knights are thwarted in their attempt to cross the woods when they encounter the terrifying Knights Who Say Ni, until of course they find that these Knights are powerless against some seemingly harmless words themselves. But good luck erasing the sound of their high shrilled “NI!” from your memory.

6. Lumberjack Song

Some people just dream of being a lumberjack. This song has been performed in several forms, but the theme is always the same: “I’m a lumberjack and it’s OK, I sleep all night and I work all day!” Power to you, lumberjack.

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7. The Spanish Inquisition

No one, I repeat, no one, expects the Spanish Inquisition. And if you are still expecting it, you’re a couple hundred years too late.

8. Four Yorkshiremen

If you can’t stand it when your parents try to one-up you in the hardship department, you have this gaggle of fools to blame. “You were lucky to have a lake! There were 150 of us living in a shoebox in the middle of the road!” Yeah, no one had it that bad.

9. Northern Playwright

Ah, the pain of drinking at noon, meeting celebrities, and attending gala luncheons. In the ultimate reversal of roles, the successful playwright father tells off his mining son for not understanding the meaning of hard work.

10. Argument Clinic

Leave it to the British to find a civilized way to argue. Until of course even they reach the limit of their politeness.

11. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

You can’t but smile while listening to this catchy tune. If these guys can stay positive while tied to the stake in the middle of the desert, then you can probably find a way to look on the bright side, too.