We all love Amy Schumer, everyone knows how brilliant Key &; Peele are, and you’ve watched Will Ferrell’s classic SNL sketches countless of times. But in this weekly column Sketchy MVPs, The Laugh Button shines a light on comedians from our favorites shows and troupes who don’t often get rightful credit for their contributions to sketch comedy.
Last month, comedy fans were saddened to learn that Terry Jones was diagnosed with a severe variant of dementia (and then even more heartbroken while reading Michael Palin’s touching tribute to his Monty Python comrade). Anyone who knows the history of the iconic Monty Python knows the important role Jones has played in its legacy, having directed the films Life Of Brian and The Meaning Of Life while co-directing Holy Grail with Terry Gilliam. As a performer on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, though, Jones had a gift for making the most reserved characters stand out amongst a crowd of rowdy scene stealers, while also somehow being able to make even the most obnoxiously shrill sounding people loveable.
So in honor of Jones in light of tragic news, we take a look back at a few of our favorite moments from his time in Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
“I’d Like To Buy A Mattress”
Jones’ reactions to the absurdity surrounding him in the above sketch (from sales clerks unable to pronounce correct prices to other sales clerks literally putting a bag over his head) is exactly how we’d imagine ourselves reacting in such a scenario… so much so that you almost completely forget how absurd it is that his character literally rushed into a mattress store with his new bride to buy a mattress for them to immediately consummate their recent vowels on.
“Dead Bishop on the Landing”
Sure, everyone in Monty Python played various sorts of women in sketches. But Jones may have been the best at playing disheveled and simply loud middle-aged housewives, as proven in the above sketch (as an added bonus, watch Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl to see a live performance of this particular sketch, where technical issues make it hard for Jones to keep a straight face).
Another great example of Jones’ take on “rat-bag” women… but with more spam.
“Army Protection Racket”
There’s something utterly silly about watching two wise guys attempting to scare the military into protection… so silly, that the Colonel cuts the sketch short because of its silliness.
“Upper Class Twit of the Year”
If hearing a sports announcer say “Simon Zinc-Trumpet-Harris, married to a very attractive table lamp” doesn’t make you laugh, then you probably shouldn’t bother watching the above sketch of upper-class twits competing in an obstacle-course race… in fact, you probably shouldn’t even bother watching Monty Python Flying Circus if you don’t laugh at all during this sketch.
“The Piranha Brothers”
Only Jones could steal the scene twice in a sketch about a documentary covering the exploits of two violent gangster brothers, first as the newscaster interviewing the gangsters’ English teacher and then as Harry “Snapper” Organs, a detective who seems more concerned about the theatrical reviews of his disguises.
Bonus – “Mr. Creosote” (from The Meaning Of Life)
Okay, so this is somewhat cheating because it’s actually a sketch from The Meaning Of Life (a film which essentially was one long Flying Circus episode tying together a bunch of funny sketches). However, seeing Jones as the obese Mr. Creosote continuously vomit before exploding in a fancy restaurant is a classic Python moment in cinema.