Today I went to see a live broadcast of the final (likely) performance of the Monty Python Troupe. The five living members of the group were performing live at the O2 Theatre in London. It was broadcast live around the world, and I think around 200,000 people were said to be viewing it. It was a funny show, with lots of nostalgia. Considering that Monty Python's Flying Circus started a year before I was born, it is something I can remember from my early childhood. My parents considered it far to risqué for me to watch, but I remember sneaking into the TV room at my grandparents after they had gone to bed and watching grainy broadcasts of it on the PBS station from KC. It would be a long time before I got all of the jokes, but even then I laughed at the silliness and knew it was something special.
It was my first introduction to British humour, and would eventually lead me to the likes Douglas Adams, Steven Fry, Terry Pratchett, Red Dwarf, and many others. It was also one of those shows that would help quickly identify potential friends and groups. If you made a Monty Python reference and they got it, then chances were there was some fertile soil for friendship to grow.
They closed the performance with the song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life", and they asked the audience to sing along, wherever they may be. So I sat in the theatre with a hundred or so people singing and whistling, and watching a couple of thousand of people in a theatre in London doing the same. It was a touching moment, watching these five old men on stage receive such an outpouring of warmth with that song. I couldn't help but stop and think that there were people all over the world singing that same song at the same time. People that maybe had nothing more in common than a love for a relatively obscure group of comedic performers. I've never really been a joiner or someone to identify as part of a group, but I was pretty happy to be part of this one.
I could go on with some pretentious prattle about bringing people together and the beauty of shared experience, but I will save that for another time. For now I will just leave it saying they made a great go of it.
“Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Know what I mean?”