Monty Python's Flying Circus featured some very well-educated clowns.
Most of the group met at Cambridge University where all of them, except
for the transplanted American animator Terry Gilliam, were members of The
Footlights, a celebrated performing society. Cleese and Gilliam—then a
cartoonist for the humor magazine Help!—met during the US tour of "The
Footlights Revue." In 1967 Idle, Palin, Jones and Gilliam wrote and
starred in the English TV series, "Do Not Adjust Your Set." In
1968 Cleese and Chapman provided additional material for the unruly satire
"The Magic Christian." They all came together the following year
to form Monty Python's Flying Circus.
Monty Python invaded America with rebroadcasts on PBS, two ABC late-night
specials in 1975 and a 1988 video release. They found a relatively small
but devoted and appreciative audience stateside. The success of their inspired
lunacy has generated five films to date, each featuring the performers
in multiple roles before and behind the camera.