79. MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS - TIE
Conceived and Written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Neil Innes, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
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Aired: PBS, 1969-1974
Greatest comedy in the history of television? You wouldn’t get an argument in some quarters. Though it didn’t invent the comedic topography in which it played – sketch, slapstick, absurdist, cross-dressing – Python did, like anything with the atmosphere of being the first of something, excite, inspire, and dare comedians and comedy into new risks. Beyond its most popular sketches and oft-repeated lines (“Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?”) the show seemed almost illegal for its frenetic energy and the way in which its wit careened from the historical to the quotidian. Though Python debuted on BBC One in England in 1969 and ran for four seasons, the series did not make it across the Atlantic – Dallas was the first public television affiliate to air it – until 1974, its growth in popularity coinciding with the group’s first feature, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
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