Monty Python: Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Friday/October/16 2009 Filed in: Weekend Showcase
Their over-the-top take on the Spanish Inquisition is typical of their comedic genius.
This was one of Monty Python's classic sketches. One reason why it stands out is because it's one of the few in which Terry Gilliam -- the animator and sole American-born member of the troupe -- performs in front of the camera.
Monty Python was on stage last Thursday night at New York's Ziegfield Theatre for a reunion performance.
The Full Monty
A brave ten year old girl in the Ziegfield audience had the opportunity to perform the Inquisition sketch solo as the Pythons looked on.
Just think of it as enhanced interrogation.
Over the years, this Monty Python sketch has generated a lot of laughs from but, alas, the real Inquisition wasn't nearly as funny. Stretching, in some form or another, from the 12th to the 14th century, it was a process used not to seek truth but to solidify a diverse Europe for political purposes by getting its victims to abandon their own faiths and admit to false doctrine.
Galileo got caught up in the Inquisition, Italian style. His theory that the Earth was not the center of the universe didn't go over well with Pope Gregory IX.
The Day the Earth Stood Still
As a result of pressure put on him by the Roman Catholic Church of the day, Galileo recanted his heretical theory and professed that the Sun moved around an Earth which stood still.
It has been rumored that as he was led away from the tribunal he muttered, "And yet, it moves..." Good for Galileo, if true.
Imagine, if you will, Galileo and a young asistant standing by a primitive telescope charting celestial movements.
Galileo: We are witnessing the grand wonders of the universe!
Young Assistant: Why didn't you invent something useful like a phone, a videogame or a computer, instead of this dumb telescope?
Galileo: Silence you young upstart! I didn't expect some kind of Spanish Inquisition!
Cue Monty Python...