LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: John Cleese during a book signing at Waterstones Piccadilly to promote his book "Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide" on September 10, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
John Cleese Remembers Monty Python As A 'Democracy Run Riot'
With social satire, absurd jokes, and pervasive silliness, Monty Python is hilarious, especially considering the comedy group’s general rejection of punchlines. With six creators — John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, and Terry Gilliam — the Monty Python team handled the work democratically, but that doesn’t mean it was peaceful.
As Cleese recalled, “Python always was democracy run riot. There was no senior person, no pecking order, no hierarchy. It was always a question of reading things out, and if they made people laugh, they were put in the show.” However, balancing the voices of six creatives was no easy feat, and Cleese and Jones were known to deliberately goad each other into fights.
However, despite their riotous natures, the team worked well together. Cleese explained, “I do believe that when you collaborate with someone else on something creative, you get to places that you would never get to on your own. The way an idea builds as it careens back and forth between good writers is so unpredictable […] you never know where it might lead.”