In an interview with Robert Klein 1998, the cast of Monty Python had and “unfortunate” urn mishap with the cremains of Graham Chapman. Although these were not the real cremains, the skit was absolutely hilarious at the time. Graham Arthur Chapman (8 January 1941 – 4 October 1989) was an English comedian, writer, actor, author, and one of the six members of the British surreal comedy group Monty Python. He played authority figures such as the Colonel and the lead role in two Python films, Holy Grail (1975) and Life of Brian (1979).
Chapman was born in Leicester and was raised in Melton Mowbray. He enjoyed science, acting, and comedy, and after graduating from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College, he turned down a career as a doctor to be a comedian. Chapman eventually established a writing partnership with John Cleese, which reached its critical peak with Monty Python in the 1970s. He subsequently left Britain for Los Angeles, where he attempted to be a success on American television, speaking on the college circuit and producing the pirate film Yellowbeard (1983), before returning to Britain in the early 1980s.
In his personal life, Chapman was openly homosexual and a strong supporter of gay rights, and was in a relationship with David Sherlock. He was an alcoholic during his time at Cambridge and the Python years, quitting shortly before working on Life of Brian. He later became an enthusiast and patron of the Dangerous Sports Club. Chapman died of tonsil cancer on 4 October 1989, on the eve of Monty Python’s 20th anniversary, and his life and legacy were commemorated at a private memorial service at St Bartholomew’s with the other five Pythons.
Monty Python (also collectively known as The Pythons) were a British surreal comedy group who created their sketch comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which first aired on the BBC in 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four series. The Python phenomenon developed from the television series into something larger in scope and impact, including touring stage shows, films, numerous albums, several books, and musicals. The Pythons’ influence on comedy has been compared to the Beatles’ influence on music. Their sketch show has been referred to as “not only one of the more enduring icons of 1970s British popular culture, but also an important moment in the evolution of television comedy.”
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