Monty Python and Philosophy: Nudge Nudge, Think Think!

By Gary L. Hardcastle; George A. Reisch | Go to book overview

14

Existentialism in Monty
Python: Kafka, Camus,
Nietzsche, and Sartre

EDWARD SLOWIK

Unlike any other comedy troupe, Monty Python presents its viewers with a bizarre, unpredictable, and seemingly meaningless world. If one were to try and locate a philosophical message in the shows, recordings, and movies of Monty Python, one might come to the conclusion that the world is incoherent or absurd, such that one can find no meaning or values in it.

In their last movie, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, this possibility is mentioned explicitly in the infamous “Live Organ Transplants” skit: reflecting on Eric Idle's song about the vastness of the universe, Mrs. Bloke (Terry Jones) comments, “Makes you feel so sort of insignificant, doesn't it?”

One might wonder, since this movie is their final group effort, whether Mrs. Bloke's line represents the final judgment of Monty Python concerning the “meaning of life.” Do they really believe that life is insignificant? In short, are the Pythons a band of nihilists who believe in nothing, perhaps simply making a joke at the expense of the average, non-philosophical viewer, who believes that life does have a meaning? Are they really, deep-down, a bunch of skeptical, left-leaning, intellectual agitators who enjoy undermining the common beliefs and values of ordinary, lawabiding citizens? Are they just a horde of snooty, namby-pamby,

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