Insights from John Cleese & Michael Palin

On the scriptwriting process of the Pythons :

It’s the laughter—we go for the jokes first. I mean the reason that it sounded like an interesting…territory to go into, to explore—because when you go in there, you really don’t know what you’re going to write. 

 We usually sit around for about three days discussing theoretically what we’re going to write—then we go and write something completely different. And the film actually starts when somebody comes in halfway through the second week and reads something out, and we all laugh. And that’s the first point on the graph—do you see what I mean?

Then we may wait another week and then somebody else writes something funny and then we have two points on the graph. And when we’ve got about six or seven—we start writing stuff to join it together. It’s pretty slow process, because it’s sort of democracy gone mad.

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On the faulty foundation of Christianity’s gospels:

Largely, it insulted my intelligence—the sermons that were given at the age of eleven and twelve—I felt insulted my intelligence. When I got into writing this film (and we all had exactly the same reaction), we started to discover a lot of stuff about Christianity and I started to get angry. Because I started to think, “why was I given this rubbish? This tenth-rate series of platitudes?”—when there are more interesting things to have discussed—these were factual things:

Nobody ever told me that they don’t know what language the gospels were written in. And they don’t even know who wrote them! They’re not even sure what cities they were written in!

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These insights are from this interview and debate, done in 1979 during the release of their film, Life of Brian:

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:

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