The Monty Python FAQ

                                  Version 2.0.1

                        Last Modified: 23 February 1996


This FAQ has been skillfully crafted by well informed Python fans using
ancient, well-known, classical hand-tooled knowledge. It has been specially
designed to sit at the back of some web sites amongst the other Python pages;
to be linked to and read every so often. Any complaints about the humourous
quality of the FAQ should be addressed to British Airways, Ingraham's Drive,

Any additional contributions and comments may be sent to:

   * Noims Rooney:
   * Brian Johnson:

The most recent plain text version of this file may be found at the following

   * Brian's Page
   * Sir DarkWolf's site


The FAQ Index

Here is a quick look at all the topics that this file covers.

  1. What is an FAQ?
  2. Who was Monty Python?
  3. Questions About the Flying Circus
  4. The Films of Monty Python
  5. Monty Python's Songs
  6. Sources of Monty Python Information
  7. Miscellaneous Questions

And now for something completely different.


Q: What is an FAQ?
A: FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions. These files are created for the
purpose of reducing the amount of redundant questions being asked. By reading
this file, you should have many of your questions answered or be able to find
additional resources that can help. For questions relating to the newsgroup,, point your web browser at:


Who was Monty Python?

Q: Who were the members of the Monty Python comedy troupe?
A: There were six cast members and a few others that helped out on a number of
Cast members:

   * John Cleese
     Born in Weston-Super-Mare on 27 October, 1939. Married Connie Booth on 20
     February 1968. They divorced shortly after the first series of Fawlty
     Towers was broadcast.
   * Terry Gilliam
     Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 22 November, 1940.
   * Graham Chapman
     Born on 8 Jan, 1941 and died of cancer on 4 October 1989.
   * Terry Jones
     Born 1 February, 1942.
   * Eric Idle
     Born 29 March, 1943.
   * Michael Palin
     Born 5 May, 1943.

The extras:

   * Carol Cleveland
     Appeared with the Pythons in almost all the Flying Circus TV series as
     well as in the films and stage performances.
   * Neil Innes
     Gained popularity originally as a member of the Bonzo Dog (Doo Dah) Band.
     Wrote and performed songs and appeared with the Pythons in their films,
     stage shows and a few Flying Circus episodes.
   * Connie Booth
     Appeared in a few episodes of the Flying Circus and also in the film Monty
     Python and the Holy Grail. Best known as Polly from Fawlty Towers. She was
     married to John Cleese from the late 60s to the mid 70s (see above).
   * The Fred Tomlinson Singers
     Did just about all of the group singing stuff in the Flying Circus,
     including such things as Summarising Proust, and The Lumberjack Song.

Q: Who else has received writing credits for Python material?
A: Neil Innes and Douglas Adams (yes, the Douglas Adams) have both helped with
material in the fourth series.

Q: When did Monty Python become a comedy troupe?
A: Most probably on 11 May, 1969. John Cleese and Graham Chapman were
introduced to Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin after a
filming of Do Not Adjust Your Set. Their next meeting was 23 May, 1969 where
the BBC gave them the go-ahead to begin creating 13 episodes of a programme for
the BBC.


Questions About the Flying Circus

Q: What is the real name of the Monty Python's Flying Circus theme?
A: The music is from the Liberty Bell March by John Philip Sousa.

Q: How many episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus are there?
A: There were 13 shows from each of the first 3 series and 6 shows in the 4th
series plus 2 specials made for German television for a total of 47.

Q: When were these episodes originally shown in the U.K.?
A: The broadcast dates for Monty Python's Flying Circus are as follows:

       Series 1: 5 October 1969 - 11 January 1970
       Series 2: 15 September 1970 - 22 December 1970
       Series 3: 19 October 1972 - 18 January 1973

Since John Cleese left the group after the third series, the fourth was just
called Monty Python.

       Series 4: 31 October 1974 - 5 December 1974

Q: What is the translation of the world's funniest joke, "Wenn ist das Nunstuck
git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!?"
A: There is no translation since it is just gibberish. A few of the words are
German but others are just made up. The same is true for "Die ist ein
Kinnerhunder und zwei Mackel uber und der bitte schön ist den Wunderhaus
sprechensie. 'Nein' sprecht der Herren 'Ist aufern borger mit zveitingen'."

Q: What is the correct pronunciation of the name "Raymond Luxury Yacht"?
A: The name is pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove".

Q: Who are Reginald Maudling and Reginald Bosinquat?
A: Reginald Maudling was the English Tory home secretary under MacMillan, Home,
and Heath. Reginald Bosinquat was a newscaster on News at Ten, also during the
sixties and seventies.

Q: What is a pooftah?
A: A poofter is slang for a (male) homosexual.


The Films of Monty Python

Q: How many films have Monty Python done and what are they about?
A: They made five full-length features. A description of each follows.

  1. And Now For Something Completely Different (1971)
     The Pythons made this film for about 80,000 (GBP) and recorded it at
     various locations over a period of five weeks during November and December
     of 1970. Most of the interior shots were filmed in a former milk depot in
     north London. The film opened on 28 September, 1971 and consisted of
     highlights from the first two series of the Monty Python's Flying Circus
     television programme.
  2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974)
     This film was also shot in about five weeks on a budget of just under
     230,000 (GBP). The locations used for the film were mostly in Scotland in
     and around Doune Castle, Castle Stalker, Glen Coe, Arnhall Castle,
     Bracklinn, Killin, and Sherriffmuir. The scene with the Black Knight was
     shot in a forest outside of London. The film first premiered in March 1975
     in Los Angeles and opened in London on 3 April, 1975. The movie is based
     upon King Arthur's quest for the Holy Grail.
  3. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
     Shot entirely in Tunesia, this movie was filmed from 16 September to 12
     November, 1978. The script had gone through a number of revisions before
     the final version was settled upon. Funding was also a major problem since
     EMI, who originally said it would fund the film, withdrew its support.
     Luckily, Handmade Films, which was created by George Harrison and Denis
     O'Brien, stepped in and saved the project. The movie premiered 17 August,
     1979 in New York and is about a contemporary of Christ who is mistaken as
     being the Messiah. The film caused quite a stir amongst the religious
     communities in many countries because they believed that it was
     blasphemous towards Christ. The book Monty Python: The Case Against gives
     an excellent detailing of these events.
  4. Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982)
     While struggling trying to write the script for their next film, the
     Pythons decided to take a break and raise some more money for their
     project. The idea of performing a show at the Hollywood bowl was struck
     upon. The concert was videotaped and later transferred to film, re-edited,
     then released in New York on 25 June, 1982. The movie contains some of
     their best sketches and also footage from the German TV specials that they
     did in 1971 and 1972.
  5. Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life (1983)
     By far the most difficult movie for the Pythons to agree upon. Filming
     began on 12 July, 1982 and continued throughout that summer. The movie
     went through a number of screenings and re-edits before finally being
     released on 30 March, 1983. The film examines the different stages of life
     and attempts to answer the question of the meaning of life.

Q: In the film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, what does the witch say after
she has been tried and found guilty by the logician?
A: "It's a fair cop." The phrase is thieves cant for "you've got me dead to
rights" which means that there has been no entrapment and the person was fairly
caught in the act. The line has also been used in a few other Flying Circus
sketches like Dead Bishop on the Landing / The Church Police and Whizzo

Q: At the beginning of the film, the guard speaking to Arthur says, "Pull the
other one." What is the guard implying?
A: In essence, the guard conveys his disbelief of what Arthur had just said.
The phrase might also be taken as a challenge to Arthur to tell yet another,
even more exaggerated lie. The origin of the phrase most likely comes from
"You're pulling my leg" (i.e. "You're lying to me").

Q: What is an anarcho-syndicalist commune?
A: Anarcho: relating anarchism; the rejection of the state or any other forms
of authority for a society based upon voluntary cooperation of individuals.
Syndicalist: relating to syndicalism; originally, a socialist doctrine that
emphasized the workers taking control of the factories where they worked; the
term has been broadened to include many other doctrines that support worker
Commune: A settlement of people based upon the common ownership of material
goods which have a tradition of self government.

Q: What do the monks chant in the film?
A: The language they are chanting in is Latin and the phrase is Pie Iesu
Domine. Dona Eis Requiem. It means "Holy Lord Jesus. Grant them rest." The
phrases are included in many Catholic funeral masses.

Q: What do the knights who no longer say "NI!" now call themselves?
A: They are now the knights who say "Ekki ekki ekki ekki pikang zoom-boing
 ." This is more of a phonetic spelling since what was actually
said does not match what was printed in the script.

Q: What is the name of Biggus Dickus' wife in the film Monty Python's Life of
A: Incontinentia Buttocks. If you don't understand the reference, drink a lot
of Guinness, or eat a lot of curry (of course, you could just look incontinence
up in the dictionary, but the other methods are more fun!).


Monty Python's Songs

Q: In The Medical Love Song, there is a reference to "NSU". What is this?
A: Non-Specific Urethritis. That is, any inflammation of the Urethra, caused by
an organism not otherwise covered in any other disease.

The lyrics for this song can be found at:

Q: What are the words to The Philosopher's Drinking Song?
A: Grab a Fosters, Bruce, and join in!

   Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
        who was very rarely stable.
   Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
        who could think you under the table.
   David Hume could out consume
        Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, (Other versions: "Shoppenhauer and Hegel")
   And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
        who was just as sloshed as Schlegel.

   There's nothing Nietzsche couldn't teach ya
       'bout the raisin' of the wrist.
   Socrates himself was permanently pissed.

   John Stewart Mill, of his own free will,
        after half a pint of shandy was particularly ill.
   Plato, they say, could stick it away,
        'alf a crate of whiskey every day!
   Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle,
        and Hobbes was fond of his Dram.
   And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart:
        "I drink, therefore I am."

   Yes, Socrates himself is particularly missed;
   A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he's pissed.

To download a .au sound file of the song (412686 bytes), point your web
browser at:

Q: What is shandy?
A: Shandy is a mixed drink of beer with ginger beer or lemonade (for the US
readers, substitute "lemonade" with "7-UP").

Q: What are the words to The Lumberjack Song?
A: The Larch!

       Lumberjack: (sings)
   Oh, I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK,
   I sleep all night and I work all day.

       Mounties: (sing)
   He's a lumberjack and he's OK,
   He sleeps all night and he works all day.

       Lumberjack: (sings)
   I cut down trees, I eat my lunch,
   I go to the lavatory.
   On Wednesdays I go shopping,
   And have buttered scones for tea.

       Mounties: (sing)
   He cuts down trees, he eats his lunch,
   He goes to the lavatory.
   On Wednesdays he goes shopping,
   And has buttered scones for tea.

       Lumberjack/Mounties: (sing)
   I'm/He's a lumberjack and I'm/he's OK,
   I/He sleep/sleeps all night and I/he work/works all day.

       Lumberjack: (sings)
   I cut down trees, I skip and jump,
   I like to press wild flowers.
   I put on women's clothing
   And hang around in bars.

       Mounties: (sing)
   He cuts down trees, he skips and jumps,
   He likes to press wild flowers.
   He puts on women's clothing
   And hangs around in bars ... ?

       Lumberjack/Mounties: (sing)
   I'm/He's a lumberjack and I'm/he's OK,
   I/He sleep/sleeps all night and I/he work/works all day.

       Lumberjack: (sings)
   I cut down trees, I wear high heels,
   Suspenders and a bra.     (Other versions: "Suspendies and a bra.")
   I wish I was a girlie     (Other versions: "I wish I'd been a girlie")
   Just like my dear Papa.   (Other versions: "Just like my dear Mama.")

       Mounties: (sing)
   He cuts down trees, he wears high heels,
   Suspenders ... and a bra? (Shocked, the Mounties start to mumble)

   [Note: some versions end here, some include dialogue, and others continue
   with the song.]

   (Piano vamp)

       Lumberjack/Mounties: (sing)
   I'm/He's a lumberjack and I'm/he's OK ...
   I/He sleep/sleeps all night and I/he work/works all day.

To download a .au sound file of the song (1323442 bytes), point your web
browser at:

Q: I've heard that The Philosopher's Drinking Song and The Lumberjack Song both
have different lyrics for a few phrases. What are the correct lyrics for these
A: Actually there is no one correct version. Usually if someone posts a
transcription of a song or sketch, it has been taken from only one source. The
Pythons on many occasions performed songs or sketches differently by changing
lyrics or adding different conclusions and transitions. An excellent example of
this is The Pet Shop Sketch (a.k.a. The Dead Parrot Sketch) that can be found on
many of the Pythons' recordings.  To download this text, point your web
browser at:


Sources of Monty Python Information

Q: What are the names of the Monty Python albums and when were they released?
A: I will not buy this record. It is scratched.

  1. Monty Python's Flying Circus (1970)
     This album was recorded before a live studio audience. Contains sketches
     from the first series of Monty Python's Flying Circus.
  2. Another Monty Python Record (1971)
     Their second album consists mostly of sketches from the second series of
     Monty Python's Flying Circus but it does include some original material.
  3. Monty Python's Previous Record (1972)
     Contains an equal mix of original material and third series work.
  4. Monty Python's Matching Tie and Handkerchief (1973)
     The original album was the world's first three sided LP record. One side
     had two separate groves that played different material depending upon
     where the needle had been dropped. Contains original material and sketches
     from the third series.
  5. Monty Python Live at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (1974)
     Live sketches performed during their 1973 tour of England. Contains some
     original material.
  6. The Album of the Soundtrack of the Tralier of the Film of Monty Python and
     the Holy Grail (1975)
     Mostly contains bits from the movie but they are linked together with new
  7. Monty Python Live at City Center (1976)
     Concert performance of sketches in New York. New songs by Neil Innes.
  8. The Worst of Monty Python (1976)
     A repackaging of Another Monty Python Record and Monty Python's Previous
  9. The Monty Python Instant Record Collection (1977)
     The first collection of Monty Python's best sketches. No original
 10. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
     Contains bits from the film but has many original links joining the
     sketches together.
 11. Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album (1980)
     Many songs but everything is original.
 12. The Monty Python Instant Record Collection (Vol II) (1981)
     Another collection of Monty Python's greatest hits.
 13. Monty Python's the Meaning of Life (soundtrack) (1983)
     Bits from the movie with original introductions and links.
 14. The Final Ripoff (1988)
     A double length compilation of the best of Monty Python. Contains a brief
     original introduction by Michael Palin.
 15. Monty Python Sings (1990)
     Contains almost all of the songs that the Pythons have ever released.
 16. The Instant Monty Python CD Collection (1994)
     A six CD box set containing all the material from Another Monty Python
     Record, Monty Python's Previous Record, Monty Python's Matching Tie and
     Handkerchief, Monty Python Live at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, The
     Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the
     Holy Grail, Monty Python's The Life of Brian, Monty Python's Contractual
     Obligation Album, and Monty Python's the Meaning of Life. The set also
     includes a 40 page booklet.

Note: There are also a number of singles and compilation albums that contain
Python material.

Q: What are the Monty Python books and what years were they first published?
A: Wait! I can't read!

  1. Monty Python's Big Red Book (1971)
  2. The Brand New Monty Python Bok (1973)
  3. The Brand New Monty Python Papperbok (1974)
     A paperback printing of The Brand New Monty Python Bok.
  4. Monty Python And The Holy Grail (Book) (1977)
     Also known as Mønty Pythøn Ik Den Hølie Grälien (Bok). Film script for the
     movie that also contains the first draft, pictures, and more.
  5. Monty Python's Life of Brian/MONTYPYTHONSCRAPBOOK (1979)
     One side of the book has the script from the film, the other side has bits
     from the script plus photos and more.
  6. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
     The film script with scenes cut from the film and much more.
  7. The Contractual Obligation Songbook (1980)
  8. The Complete Works of Shakespeare and Monty Python: Volume 1 - Monty
     Python (1981)
  9. The Meaning of Life (1983)
     The film script.
 10. The Monty Python Gift Boks (1988)
     A repackaging of the first two books with a poster.
 11. Monty Python's Flying Circus: Just the Words - Volume 1 (1989)
     Released in the US as The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus: All the
     Words - Volume 1. Includes the scripts from the first 23 episodes of Monty
     Python's Flying Circus.
 12. Monty Python's Flying Circus: Just the Words - Volume 2 (1990)
     Released in the US as The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus: All the
     Words - Volume 2. Includes the scripts from the last 22 episodes of Monty
     Python's Flying Circus.
 13. Monty Python's Flying Circus - Just the Words (Volumes 1 & 2) (1990)
     Combines the two previous volumes into one book.
 14. The Fairly Incomplete Rather Badly Illustrated Monty Python Song Book
     Released in the US as The Monty Python Songbook in 1995. The original UK
     publication included a CD single with The Spam Song and The Lumberjack

Q: Are there any reference books dealing with the subject of Monty Python?
A: Yes. Quite a few, actually.

  1. From Fringe to Flying Circus (1980)
     Author: Roger Wilmut
     Covers the more recent history of British comedy and includes a section on
     Monty Python. Contains many photos and excerpts from some scripts.
  2. Monty Python: The Case Against (1981)
     Author: Robert Hewison
     Deals with the many cases where Monty Python stepped over the line of what
     was considered humour. Includes the BBC concern over the undertakers
     sketch, the ABC injunction and court case, and the controversy surrounding
     the release of the film The Life of Brian.
  3. Monty Python: Complete and Utter Theory of the Grotesque (1982)
     Author: John O. Thompson
  4. Life of Python (1983)
     Author: George Perry
     Gives an overview of British comedy's history and origins along with a
     personal history of each Python member. Lots of photos.
  5. The First 200 Years of Monty Python (1989)
     Author: Kim "Howard" Johnson
     Has many interesting facts from each Flying Circus episode, profiles of
     each member, lists of Python stuff, and more.
  6. And Now For Something Completely Trivial: The Monty Python Trivia and Quiz
     Book (1991)
     Author: Kim "Howard" Johnson Tests how well you know your Python.
  7. Monty Python: A Chronological Listing of the Troupe's Creative Output and
     Articles and Reviews About Them, 1969-89 (1992)
     Author: Douglas L. McCall
     Gives a day-by-day account of the accomplishments of the Pythons and other
     events concerning them.
  8. Life Before and After Monty Python: The Solo Flights of the FlyingCircus
     Author: Kim "Howard" Johnson
     Contains just about everything else that the Pythons have ever done.
     Excellent companion to The First 200 Years of Monty Python. Has a special
     chapter devoted to Graham Chapman.

Q: What other projects have Python members been involved in?
A: Lots of them. There are books, films, television shows, computer games, and
public lavatories that have involved them in one way or another. For a complete
listing of these, have a look for Hans ten Cate's bibliography (available, most
probably at the cathouse ftp site (address to follow)). The most notable have
been the films Jabberwocky, Yellowbeard, Erik The Viking, Brazil, and A Fish
Called Wanda; and the computer game Monty Python's Complete And Utter Waste Of

Q: Where can I get film and television scripts, song lyrics, sounds and
A: Look no further! Use your web browser to connect to one of the best
Monty Python sites on the internet.

   * Scripts
   * Songs
   * Sounds
   * Pictures

Q: Are there any World Wide Web pages that have links to Monty Python material?
A: The best place to start is at The Official Home Page.
Point your Web browser at:


Miscellaneous Questions

Q: Will the Monty Python comedy troupe ever get back together again?
A: No.

Q: What would it take to get them back together?
A: Since Graham Chapman has already died, I'd imagine a couple of bullets each
would do the trick.

Q: Why is it the world never remembers the name of Johann Gambolputty de von
luber-hundsfutgumberaber-shönendanker-kalbsfleisch-mittler-aucher von
Hautkopft of Ulm?
A: Good question.

Here endeth the lesson.

<-- Return to Web Site