An audience of 16,000 cheered for the dead parrot and the Spanish Inquisition, and sang along to Always Look on the Bright Side of Life in London's O2 arena on Tuesday for the premiere of what has been billed as Monty Python's last stand.
For tickets that cost up to $160, and were sold out in 44 seconds, Python fans saw Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam, all in their 70s, perform together for what they have said is probably the last time.
The first of 10 nights of Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down Five to Go was pretty much what it said on the tin — a medley of famous sketches performed by the people who created them. The last show, on July 20, will be broadcast worldwide.
The Pythons were aided and abetted by a live orchestra and a chorus line of singing and dancing men and women. Carol Cleveland, the only woman who made regular appearances in the 1960s show, which brought a new style of British humour to a global audience, was there to reprise her popular roles.
Graham Chapman, the sixth Python, who died in 1989, appeared on film clips, along with some of the original television footage of Python sketches shown on a huge video display.
British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, a professed Python fan, made a guest appearance on film while the popular British comedian Stephen Fry was onstage for the Pythons' spoof television game show Blackmail, in which dark secrets of viewers are revealed unless they mail in large sums of money.
Some of the numbers worked better than others, but there was uproarious laughter for several skits.
The Pythons did their famous lumberjack song, with Palin as a supposedly manly woodcutter who reveals in song that he enjoys dressing up in women's clothing.
They did the sketch that has provided a catch phrase for the English language: No one expects the Spanish Inquisition with three inquisitors who threaten their prey with the torture of having to sit in the comfy chair.