Graham Chapman; John Cleese; Terry Gilliam; Eric Idle; Terry Jones; Michael Palin
Monty Python did very few live performances, and even fewer tours, but when this show was recorded at Manhattan's City Center during the week of Easter, 1976, the off-beat comedy troupe was at the peak of their popularity. The group's weekly BBC TV series was in its third year of U.S. syndication, and the group's first feature film, The Holy Grail (1975) was a runaway box-office smash. Needless to say, when they decided to take their live act to New York City, it was huge news for American Python fans.
The group did several standing-room only matinee and evening performances. George Harrison, who went on to executive produce and appear in the Pythons' brilliant Life of Brian (1979) attended, as did several other celebs. The shows were taped for the King Biscuit Flower Hour and for a live album, Monty Python Live! At City Center
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and Terry Gilliam, who created the group's iconic animation and art design, were in top form. However, the humor doesn't always work without the visual aid of seeing the actors at work. Though "Albatross / Colonel Stopping It," "Nudge, Nudge," "Bruce's Song," "Travel Agent," "Argument Clinic," and the hilarious take-off on Bob Dylan, "Protest Song," work just as well in an audio-only format, not all the sketches translate that well. However, "Lumberjack Song," probably their best known bit, presents the Pythons at their uproarious best.
The comedy team came together in 1969, when comedian Barry Took brought them to the BBC TV network and pitched them for a comedy sketch show. The BBC added the word "Circus" because the members were often referred to as a circus as they ran around the BBC complex developing the show.
The group added the word "Flying" to give it a World War I barnstorming air show persona. In fact, the initial name was to be Baron Von Took's Flying Circus, after the man who brought them together. It was changed to Monty Python's Flying Circus because the group felt the name Monty Python sounded more like a terrible theatrical agent, which Took, obviously, was not.