It took longer for Michael Palin’s homicidal barber to reveal himself as a man yearning for a brighter life as a lumberjack who presses wildflowers, puts on women’s clothing and hangs around in bars.
Four times as long, in fact, as it was revealed on Monday that tickets for what had been billed as the only date for Monty Python’s reunion sold out in just 43.5 seconds. Four extra dates were immediately added, and these sold out in 55 minutes.
The speed of the sale was not a huge surprise. The newly announced shows represent easily the most clamored-for of any comedy reunions.
It came just 24 hours after John Cleese hinted at further performances.
“It’ll just depend on how the tickets do,” he told Andrew Marr on BBC TV. “If we can add some shows we will.”
The reunion was announced in London last week at a press conference given by Cleese, Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle, who is to direct.
It was initially said to be one night on July 1 at the O2 in London. On Sunday, Cleese said if there was a demand for more shows they would do them, not least because it would be a costly show to put on, with “at least 20 dancers.”
There will undoubtedly be people in next summer’s audiences mouthing every word uttered on stage and Cleese acknowledged they had to be very careful about including new material.
“It’s like a rock concert and when people go to rock concerts they want to hear the old songs, and they are actually literally disappointed if you do new material,” he said.
The reunion is a long time coming. It was 33 years ago that the Pythons last performed live on stage — at the Hollywood Bowl — and nearly 40 years since their last UK performances.
The shows next year will be called One Down Five to Go, a reference to missing Python Graham Chapman, who died aged 48 in 1989.
Cleese said it would be fun.
“When we get together we laugh more than we do at any other time of our lives,” he said.