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Michael Palin Now can you guess what member of Monty Pythons Flying Circus has an asteroid, a train carriage, and a stammering children's unit named after of him? Nooo! P*sss Offf! It's not that git, Cheese! It's that nice one. The one that spoke to Dick Cavett for about 60-minutes in 1981. You know... Sarah something.

Dick Cavett - Michael Palin

Now please don't expect the Spanish inquisition when you watch this particular episode of 'the 'Dick Cavett Show', folks. As what you'll get instead it the man with the sandy blond hair -- Dickie boy Cavett himself -- speaking to the nicest man ever born -- Michael Palin.

Yeah! I'm not stroking your cheese, Python fan! In earnest, Dick asks Mike a number of not so engaging questions about: (1) John Cleeses legs. (2) How Gwen Dibley or a stretched owl were once going to grace the name of Monty. (3) The stigma attached to being a member of a group, funny in public, plus comedy in general. And (4) Drag. Rats. Loo. And language.

In turn, Mike answers all of Dick's questions with the grace of a structural engineer emptying his bowels. Well, not only were his responses very jovial and polite in tone. But he and Dick also cracked-up so much during their tête-à-tête, they almost forgot to plug Michael's recent Terry Gilliam film, 'Time Bandits'.

Here, check out some of Palin's prose, why don't you:

  • I suppose you could say that I am more conventional than the rest of Python. Which isn't saying much, ha!
  • I find that some people may be more wary of me because of my job.
  • I can't remember many jokes. I'm useless at it.
  • Communally we were a lot stronger together in Python, than we are apart. But over time it did get a bit too much for some of us, because they did need some space of their own. Particularly John.  
  • I was so bad at performing to a room of physiatrists; I eventually decided to make it my vocation.
  • At the beginning nobody liked Python at all. Even our own friends didn't know what to say to us.
  • The English like uniform I think; and dressing up in general.
  • Rats have had a very bad press. Damn that plague.
  • Outside of the group we all want to be recognised for our own merits. Not our name in lights. Just something that we can take the blame for individually
  • The Parrot Shop sketch came about when I told John a story of when I sent my new car to the mechanics to be fixed.

[ Not The Interview ]

Quite a few weeks ago I watched a vintage episode of 'The Dick Cavett Show' with John Cleese in the hot seat. And because I loved watching this program so much, I thought to myself 'I wonder if Dick spoke to any other member of Monty Pythons Flying Circus?'.

A Young Michael Palin
Yes. He did. Michael Palin. And my God was it one great-great interview.

Honest to Milligan, it was just one of those conversations I dissolved into with every word they said. To me, it just came across like two very polite pals riffing off of each other without any form of 'one upmanship' whatsoever. Heck, you could tell that they were having such a good time by the way they behaved. One part relaxed. One part carefree. Plus all parts funny.

Now out of all the things said in this show, what I loved most about it was how both Dick and Michael kept on poking fun out of 'structured engineers'. It was as though this profession became a common ground so both interviewer and interviewee could communicate their point of view across at any given moment. Moreover, I did like hearing how Michael saw Python as 'a temporary unit', which would one day go on and do their own thing (boy, how true was that).

Also, something else I loved hearing Michael talking about; was 'his origin' of the famous 'Parrot Shop Sketch'. After hearing John's version previously, I enjoyed the way that Mike enhanced this story by giving an example of it roots in Python lore. Namely, 'the car sketch' from the Python prequel 'How to Irritate People'. Here, check this out...

Michael Palin and The Pythons In Holy Grail
See what I mean Monty mavens? This sketch then went on to become 'The Parrot Shop Sketch' all those many years later. Furthermore, did you know: (1) Michael Edward Palin was born in the same year Postmaster General Frank Walker invented the Postal Zoning System -- the 5th of May, 1943. (2) Sometime during the sixties, Michael graduated from Oxford University with a degree in History. (3) Michael first performed with fellow his Python, John Cleese, in the 1968 made for television mockumentary, 'How to Irritate People'. (4) Prior to becoming Pythons, Michael and Terry Jones both wrote comedic material for the 'Ken Dodd Show', 'The Frost Report', 'Do Not Adjust Your Set', and 'The Complete and Utter History of Britain'. Also, after Python, he and Terry wrote the episodic adventure series, 'Ripping Yarns', too. (5) Since 1986, Michael has been the president for the 'Campaign for Better Transport', urging the government to provide sustainable transportation links throughout the more urban areas of the UK. (6) I kid you not; Michael made a cameo appearance on the Australian daytime drama, 'Home and Away', playing a surfer who was scared of sharks. (7) Not only was Michael voted the best looking member of Monty Python, but after he performed with them at the Hollywood Bowl, a female fan fainted in his arms when she attempted to approach him. (8) In the same vein as Jules Verne's fictional character, Phileas Fogg, Mister Palin went around the world in eighty days for a BBC documentary series, starting off at London's prestigious 'Reform Club'.

Michael Palin Around The World

Overall 'Michael Palin on The Dick Cavett Show' is a must see program for any Python fan. It was funny. It was cleaver. And most importantly of all, it gave two men a chance to shine at their prime.

Yep! Say no more. 


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