I met Terry Jones of Monty Python fame this weekend.
I sold him a new car. He was very grateful for the good deal I was able to get him.
But seriously, this past Mother’s Day (Hi, Mom!) I went to a comedy writing seminar/interview session with Terry Jones, one of the writers and performers for Monty Python and director of all of their movies. He talked about his theories on writing comedy and the audience got to ask him questions. Of course I partook in the action….
ME: “First of all, I just want to say that besides Carol Cleveland, you were the best woman on Monty Python.”
TERRY: [closes his eyes, bows his head and crosses his legs] “Why, thank you.”
ME: “Given the ‘questionable’ content of some of Monty Python’s material, especially Life of Brian and Meaning of Life, did you or the group in general have an internal barometer — or at least discussions while writing — to question whether what you were writing was funny or just profane for the sake of being shocking?”
He went on to say that they (himself especially) never analyzed what they were doing; they basically just wrote to be funny. (“You don’t know if a joke is funny or not until you put it out there.”) They gave their individual ideas to the group and if the jokes weren’t working, they scrapped them. He then said that they never found anything that they didn’t think they could make funny.
Overall, a pretty good weekend and decently informative. I leave you with his advice on how to break into the writing industry….