© 1983 Celandine Films

Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983)

Day 8 of the Tokyo International Film Festival. Today was another busy day for me, and although I was able to attend a short Q&A with Paul Gordon, the director of The Happy Poet, my personal favorite in the festival, I didn’t have time to watch a film today. So arriving home late and tired, I continued with my revisiting of Monty Python films. I have been a fan of British comedy for as long as I can remember, and Monty Python, via the Public Broadcasting System in America, was my initiation. Going back to the old films now, I realize how much later comedy groups like The League of Gentleman are indebted to the Pythons.

The most famous and celebrated scenes in the final Python film are the song “Every Sperm is Sacred,” a send up of musicals in the Sound of Music mold, and the impossibly fat Mr. Creosote who explodes in a tidal wave of vomit. But these have never been my favorites. I have always loved skit in which a waiter (Eric Idle) at the French restaurant where the fat man has just bust beckons the audience to follow him, as he has something to show that will explain his take on life. After a long journey leading to a quaint house in the countryside, he points out the place where he was born, and relates the meaning of life as explained to him by his mother: “the world is a beautiful place. You must go into it and love everyone. Try to make everyone happy, and bring peace and contentment everywhere you go. And so I became a waiter…. Well, it’s not much of a philosophy I know, but well… fuck you! I can live my own life in my own way if I want to! Fuck off!”

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