Monty Python’s promised reunion will be a one-off greatest-hits show happening next summer in London, the comedy troupe said this morning at a press conference. John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin will perform onstage for the first time in decades on July 1st, 2014, at O2 Arena in London.
“If we left it too long, it would be too late,” Idle said of the reunion. The show will be the troupe’s first project together in three decades. The program will feature material both old and new, but Cleese added a caveat: “People really want to see the old hits, but we don’t want to do them in a predictable way.” Cleese said the group would likely revisist classic sketches including Crunchy Frog and the Dead Parrot. “The main danger we have,” he said, according to the BBC, “is that the audience know the scripts better than we do.” Idle told the press conference audiences should expect “comedy, pathos, music and a tiny piece of ancient sex.”
Idle is set to direct the show. Although they’re calling it a one-off, the quintet has not totally ruled out a tour. They’re also planning to record the show. “We’ll be filming it and we’ll try to flog it later,” Idle said.
Cleese said the tricky part was coordinating the members’ schedules, though Palin reported that the five surviving members “still enjoy getting together to be silly,” which is easier “now they are in their 70s.” Jones said, “Silliness is always funny.” And Gilliam said, “After you turn 70, you can be absolutely shameless.”
The last time the Pythons performed together was in 1980 at the Hollywood Bowl, and it’s been 40 years since the group has been onstage together in the U.K. The group’s sixth member, Graham Chapman, died in 1989.