It sounds crass to indicate marking the death of Monty Python alum terrycloth Jones by sharing a laugh. But there’s a strong chance it’s specifically what the Welsh comedian would have wanted.
You are watching: Laughing in the face of death
Jones, that was also a director and historian, died Tuesday in ~ 77, four years after being diagnosed with a form of dementia referred to as primary steady aphasia.
Eight years earlier, a month shy of his 70th birthday, Jones sat down v Zoomer to talk about a website that comedy sketches he developed with friend Dr. Robert Buckman come entertain and inform human being living v chronic medical conditions. Throughout the interview, Jones recalled a story where Buckman had to phone call a married couple that the woman had actually terminal cancer.
“And the husband leaned forward and whispered, ‘But doctor, what around sex?’ and also Rob assumed for a moment and also said, ‘Well, hadn’t we better wait till your mam leaves the room?’”
Jones’ laughter in ~ the story offered as an exclamation point on his id in the power of humour. The idea the undercutting tragedy with comedy ongoing when that talked around Buckman, who passed away in his sleep on a airplane before the website launched. “He’d been the life and also soul the the party,” Jones told me, “and it was just a large shock. Ns think it was a shock come him, actually.”
The comedy good took his very own health worries in stride, including a ahead bout through bowel cancer. “It never ever worried me,” that said. “I don’t recognize why. It ought to have, however I just couldn’t take it seriously.” He then laughed together he explained how his “unique ” anatomy actually aided in his treatment. “Because they believed the (cancer) was really close come the anus, however actually, instead of having a regular rectum, favor a right-angle thing, I’ve gained this long, wiggly thing. And so that was more away than they thought. So give thanks to God for having actually an odd rectum.”
Another One Bites the Dust
Of course, the idea the diffusing life’s doom and gloom moments v humour is a Monty Python staple. Initial troupe member Graham Chapman died at 48 just before the group’s 20-year tv anniversary in 1989, and also Jones reportedly quipped that his fatality from cancer was “the worst instance of party-pooping in every history.” Meanwhile, other Python and writing partner John Cleese started Chapman’s funeral eulogy this way:
“He has ceased come be, bereft of life, the rests in peace, he has kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, little bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last, and also gone to accomplish the an excellent Head of light Entertainment in the sky, and also I guess that we’re every thinking how sad that is the a man of together talent, such capability and kindness, of such intelligence should currently be so unexpectedly spirited away at the period of only 48, prior to he’d achieved many of the points of which he was capable, and before the had sufficient fun. Well, ns feel the I need to say, ‘Nonsense. Good riddance to him, the freeloading bastard! i hope he fries.’”
There’s also the 1998 live phase interview with the 5 surviving Python members, who lugged an urn with them that supposedly contained Chapman’s ashes. In ~ one point the urn gets knocked over, the ashes pour out everywhere and the Python members scurry to clean it all up together the audience howls in hysterics (watch the for you yourself in the video clip below).
And we can’t forget the 2014 Python phase reunion, title Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, 5 to Go.
On screen, few of the many beloved Python sketches revolved approximately laughing in ~ death, from the famed “Dead Parrot Sketch” to the Grim reaping machine who crashes a dinner party in Monty Python’s The an interpretation of Life — which Jones directed and co-starred in — and barks at his latest victims: “You Americans, all you perform is talk, and talk, and also say ‘let me tell you something’ and ‘I simply wanna say.’ Well, you’re dead now, therefore shut up!”
Always watch On the Bright side of Life
Following Jones’ death, the BBC quoted john Cleese saying “of his countless achievements, because that me the best gift he provided us every was his direction that Life that Brian. Perfection.” In the Monty Python classic — in i m sorry Jones also co-starred — the eponymous Brian is crucified and a guy on an additional cross (Eric Idle) attempts come cheer him increase by singing, “Always look on the Bright next of Life.” The lyrics include the lines:
Life’s a piece of sh*t,
When girlfriend look in ~ it.
Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true,
You’ll view it’s every a show,
Keep ’em laughing together you go.
Just remember that the critical laugh is on you!
And always look ~ above the bright side of life.
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Keep ‘em laughing together you go. It’s a sentiment that Jones taken on in life and also one the resonates currently that Jones has actually ceased come be.
“My referee is if something’s funny, climate it’s funny,” that told me. “And if that funny, it is why you have to do it.”
Terry Jones and also Laughter: A Potent Prescription
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