To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Monty Python's Flying Circus and IFC's 6-part documentary (airing part one on Sunday,) here's a silly list of favorite sketches from the series' time on the air.
10. Upper Class Twit of the Year
Episode 12 - first aired January 4, 1970
The troupe having a go at upper class British society, featuring a obstacle course like race involving hilarious events tasks like kicking a beggar, waking the neighbor, humiliating a waiter and the ultimate ending. Monty Python's Flying Circus was cancelled in Finland in 1970s after this sketch appeared. It's rumored that the sketch was offending people who had cerebral palsy. If it offends, that's why it's here.
09. Vocational Guidance Counsellor
Episode 10 - December 21, 1969
"It's a bit of jump, don't you think? Chartered Accountancy to Lion Taming in one go." Enough of this gay banter, let's watch the clip.
08. Nudge Nudge Wink Wink (aka Candid Photography)
Episode 3 - first aired October 19, 1969
Eric Idle often wrote his sketches alone, and had a hard time selling this one on paper. It's all in the delivery (say no more, say no more).
07. The Fish Slapping Dance
Episode 28 - first aired October 26, 1972
Probably not technically a sketch, but more an interlude between sketches, its silliness still deserves is place in the upper ends of the Python echelon.
06. The Argument Skit
Episode 29 - First aired November, 1972
It's obvious why this sketch made the list. "No it isn't." "Yes it is." "No it isn't." Yes. It. Is.
Episode 25 - First aired December 15, 1970
We've got this sketch to thank for the term we use to describe all the email we'd rather not receive. The perfect demonstration of why Terry Jones was the best Python in a dress.
04. The Spanish Inquisition
Episode 15 - First aired September 22, 1970
A wondrous parody of the phrase "I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition," involving some of the silliest forms of torture one could imagine. "Fetch... the comfy chair!"
03. The Lumberjack Song
Episode 9 - First aired December 14, 1969
One of Monty Python's more lasting songs, some deem it a bit homophobic, but like all Python classic sketches, it has aged pretty well.
02. Ministry of Silly Walks
Episode 14 - First aired September 15, 1970
John Cleese was a master of physical comedy and it's on full display in this often mimicked silly sketch. Those looking for this as a satire for government are looking too hard.
01. Dead Parrot
Episode 8 - First aired December 7, 1969
The most popular Python sketch as far as the world is concerned, it was actually a recycled version of a sketch that John Cleese and Michael Palin did originally for How to Irritate People. Even Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher used it to describe the Social and Liberal Democratic Party merger.
Don't forget to watch the 6-part documentary on IFC, Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer's Cut), beginning Sunday Night.