We'd never get Monty Python onto television today: Jones

Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:03pm EST
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By Henrique Almeida

LISBON (Reuters) - Terry Jones says being funny as a member of Monty Python's Flying Circus was just a byproduct of the real aim: subversion.

The 64-year-old writer, director and actor told Reuters in Lisbon ahead of the world premiere of his new musical "Evil Machines" that he is still surprised by the popularity of the Monty Python series of television shows and films.

"I think one reason was that with Python we purely wrote for the six of us," he said. "Our message was: don't believe anything people say."

Jones, who co-wrote and performed in the British television series during the late 1960s and early 1970s alongside Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle said their absurd brand of humor would never make it past today's television programmers.

"Nowadays it would be impossible to do that. You really have to satisfy the needs of television stations which carry out audience surveys before they commission shows," he said.

Jones -- whose many madcap characters include the lynch-mob happy mother in "Life of Brian" and the obscenely obese diner Mr. Creosote who explodes after a touch too much supper in "The Meaning of Life" -- said he doesn't see himself as a comedian and would hate to do a stand-up routine.

"I'm not really that funny, but I do like to laugh."

Python's original name -- "Bun, Whackett, Buzzard, Stubble and Boot" -- was rejected by the BBC, which urged Jones and his friends to come up with an easier name for viewers to digest.   Continued...

<p>Former Monty Python star Terry Jones gestures in front of a "time machine" before an interview with Reuters in Lisbon January 10, 2008. REUTERS/Nacho Doce</p>