Story: In a series of recordings culled from his series of one-man lectures in the 1980s, Monty Python star Graham Chapman talks about life before, during, and after his years with the seminal British TV comedy troupe, including a painful stint with the Dangerous Sports Club, an extreme sports outfit (before that term was even invented) that brought bungee-jumping into the public eye (and certainly right into Chapman’s). Chapman also discusses his battles with alcoholism, his close friendship with The Who drummer Keith Moon, and the inevitable censorship battles that have followed his brand of outrageously silly humor.
Review: I was surprised to see this CD appear so long after Chapman’s death (in 1989, just one day short of Monty Python’s 20th anniversary) – one would have thought that interest had long since waned, and it almost begs one to ask “Why now?” The answer is simply because the man’s humor is still relevant – and still quite silly, thank you. For those of us who didn’t get to take in Chapman’s college lecture tour in the ’80s, this is the next best thing. (There’s also a DVD available, of which more in a moment.) Those accustomed to Chapman’s outrageously iconic Python characters may be surprised to find that the man himself, while still quite silly, can be surprisingly circumspect. This doesn’t stop him from demonstrating some bizarre stunts to pull in a bar (not that one really gets the full impact just listening to it, mind you – one area where the DVD is superior) and poking fun at himself. His discussion of the years he spent fighting alcoholism (and the years before that he spent enjoying it quite a bit) is frank enough that one almost feels like he’s a bit uncomfortable. (On the other hand, he seems to revel in relating tales of the discomfort that his open homosexuality caused some people with whom his career has crossed paths.)
Following the main lecture, the CD contains an audio recording of a one-on-one interview that was apparently also chronicled photographically, as one can tell from the nonstop whirring of cameras that at times make it impossible to hear what in the world he’s saying. This too is interesting stuff, but the cameras become far more distracting than an eager lecture crowd.
Despite that, listening to this will almost certainly make you realize how keenly Graham Chapman is missed in the world of comedy. It’s a totally different side of the man, but still just as funny.
Author: Graham Chapman
Total running time: 59:01