Monty Python were the Comedy equivalent of the Beatles. Wonderfully talented, always inventive, and always willing to break the rules. Their tv show and the subsequent movies changed the face of the late twentieth century, even though many of us don’t realise that. In fact, modern comedy owes more than half its current form to these people.

In 1999, thirty years after they first got together, and ten years after their number was reduced from six to five by the death of Graham Chapman, they got together for a special stage show – all six of them, because Graham’s ashes came in an urn.

Today, I got that show on DVD – it’s called Live at Aspen. I was literally jumping for joy through the whole thing. I had the transcript, but not the actual show. (Here’s the Transcript, for anyone interested. And here’s a BBC article about them as well.)

When I watched this, one thing struck me hard. However much you might say that today’s comedians are talented, there’s just no one like the Pythons – their creative energy hasn’t dimmed over thirty years. It’s like they’re pulling you by the collar and saying, “Look, you silly arse, we’re the best and you can take everybody else and shove ’em somewhere rude.”

Surprisingly, my father was watching it with me. I turned on the subtitles for him, and he was riveted throughout. He said that he didn’t understand half of it, but the very vibe was addictive. He now wants to watch Life of Brian.

I’d just like to take this opportunity to bow my head towards Python – without them there would be no Douglas Adams, no Terry Pratchett, no Jasper Fforde or Robert Rankin, no South Park, no Hot Shots, and, surprisingly, there would be no Braveheart either, because it was The Holy Grail that showed that history can be muddy and bleak, not clean and sterile.

I’d just like to pass the word to any humour enthusiasts out there. Watch Python. They’ve even got a word in the dictionary named after them, ‘pythonesque’, meaning something that is weird without any apparent reason for being so.