No Naughty Bits

September 24th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

No Naughty Bits is a play about a copyright lawsuit, specifically Gilliam v. American Broadcasting. Now you might wonder why anyone would see a play about a copyright dispute, but when you realise Gilliam is Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame, and the lawsuit was about ABC editing their shows in such a way that they were basically no longer funny, and hence it damaged their reputations, then the appeal becomes clear.

Monty Python were the comic geniuses of my generation, and their influence on comedy has been compared to the influence of The Beatles on Music. I can recite the script of Life of Brian almost word perfect, having viewed it over a dozen times.

Andrew Foster plays Michael Palin, the lead character in the play. He nails the part, as you can almost believe it is the real Michael Palin there at times. A wigged Gavin Rutherford plays Terry Gilliam to some great comic effect.

The other stand out actor for me was Stephen Papps as Judge Lasker.

No Naughty Bits by Steve Thompson. Directed by: Ross Jolly. Circa Theatre, 14 September to 12 October 2013. Wellington, New Zealand. http://www.circa.co.nz/

 

Photo by Stephen A’Court

The play is an engaging exploration of comedy, US vs UK differences, creative types vs executives and more.

It isn’t a recital of famous Monty Python lines, even though a fair few of them do make an appearance. It is about the right of a bunch of iconic comedians to say to a network that if you edit us so we no longer think it reflects our work, we want the right to withdraw permission to use our work. Through that you get to hear of the many edits ABC tried to make, and why. You are of course always on the side of the Pythons as they fight for their gags to remain. You do also however have some sympathy for the studio as dealing with a bunch of stubborn creatives can be a challenge to put it mildly.

If you are a Monty Python fan, you won’t want to miss No Naughty Bits. And if you are not a Monty Python fan, well you don’t know what you have missed out on!

Threatreview also has a review.

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15 Responses to “No Naughty Bits”

  1. 103PapPap (131 comments) says:

    So what did the Romans ever do for ….. who?

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  2. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    The aquaducts?

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  3. MT_Tinman (3,186 comments) says:

    Monty Python were the comic geniuses of my generation

    I’ve heard you young whippersnappers claim this before.

    In fact Python was of my generation – my son, born Xmas eve’, is, named after THE movie.

    And if you are not a Monty Python fan, well you don’t know what you have missed out on!

    Heartily agree!

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  4. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    You named your son Holy Grail?

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  5. Longknives (4,741 comments) says:

    Python fan eh?
    Then what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

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  6. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    All I know is that it must be a bit slower with the coconut attached

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  7. James Stephenson (2,176 comments) says:

    @Longknives – Tim? Is that you?

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  8. Nigel Kearney (1,012 comments) says:

    I don’t even remember any naughty bits. Clearly I need to watch it again.

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  9. john (47 comments) says:

    Python fan?

    Not a King so don’t know the answer. kings know those sorts of things, part of the job.

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  10. MT_Tinman (3,186 comments) says:

    mikenmild (7,192) Says:
    September 24th, 2013 at 8:03 am
    You named your son Holy Grail?

    Nope, he is called “The Meaning of Life ………….”. ;-)

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  11. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    ABC were part of the JFK coverup, so they clearly can’t be expect to comprehend real humour.

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  12. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    @DPF – another Circa production opened up on Friday too- “Midsummer” – hilariously funny I went to opening night. Check it out if you have the room in your diary.

    Incidentally, are you going to post some insights from your China trip?

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  13. Fentex (973 comments) says:

    When I saw Life Of Brian I literally, not the slightest exaggeration, fell out of my seat into the aisle laughing.

    These days when driving along the street behind the cinema I saw it in one can look into the seats as the wall upon which movies were projected collapsed in the earthquakes, exposing the interior making the world but a stage.

    People interested in this sort of thing may want to seek out “Holy Flying Circus”, a kind of suitably weird documentary/drama/comedy made a couple of years ago by a group of British comedians about the furor “Life Of Brian” raised culminating in a live debate on TV between John Cleese, Michael Palin, the Archbishop of Canterbury and someone else whom I forget the name of.

    It’s a wonderful piece of work with a lot anachronisms in it that highlights ongoing tensions.

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  14. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Wait, wasn’t downstage closed because the government wouldn’t give them enough money? Wasn’t that the end of all stage productions in Wellington?

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  15. chuk (40 comments) says:

    Fentex – the other blimp who made a fool of himself in the live TV debate was Malcolm Muggeridge. Here’s a quote from Wikipedia:

    In 1979, he criticised John Cleese and Michael Palin during a television debate concerned with the perceived blasphemy of the film Life of Brian, despite having arrived late for the showing, thus missing the two scenes in which Jesus and Brian were shown as two separate people at the same time. The comedians expressed disappointment in Muggeridge, whom all in Monty Python had previously respected as a satirist. Cleese expressed that his reputation had “plummeted” in his eyes, while Palin commented, “He was just being Muggeridge, preferring to have a very strong contrary opinion as opposed to none at all.”

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