Mom, Rea and I made the drive this weekend from Seattle to Walla Walla, WA so that we could see my oldest niece, Claire, graduate from Whitman College! When we arrived, Claire told us that the Commencement Speaker for the graduation was “some guy from Monty Python” and I said, “WHAT??!! WHO??!!” Claire shrugged and said, “I can’t remember his name…he had something to do with Spamalot; I think he was the director or one of the actors or something? I saw him around campus like, all the time, because his daughter is graduating this year too…” At that point, I figured that maybe he was someone that I wouldn’t even recognize because I’m not familiar with the Broadway version of Spamalot.
What I am familiar with is a little movie called, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and of course “The Life of Brian”. These two movies may even sum up high school and my early 20’s with quotes such as:
“I fart in your general direction.”
“I wave my private parts at your aunties, you cheesy lot of second hand electric donkey-bottom biters.”
“Look, you stupid Bastard. You’ve got no arms left.”
“It’s just a flesh wound.”
“Bring out yer dead.”
“But I’m not dead yet!”
“I’m NOT the Messiah!”
“Blessed are the Peace-Makers…” “Did he say ‘Blessed are the Cheesemakers? Well isn’t that nice? Cheesemakers don’t get nearly enough credit these days…”
I think you get the idea. With all of that said, I look at my program for the Commencement Ceremony and I see a photo of none other than…Eric Idle! HOLY CRAP!!
(I’m not gonna lie; I may have wet my pants a little…)
I whispered frantically to Rea, “Look! It’s the Monty Python guy…It’s THE MONTY PYTHON GUY!!”
My nephew Todd leaned over so that he could say, “Are you a fan Auntie?”
I said, “Um…yeah! Aren’t you?”
Todd: “Well, I’ve heard of them…”
I looked at my youngest niece Dana and she just shrugged and said, “I have no idea who he is.”
I just shook my head with bewilderment because I just couldn’t believe that the younger generation has missed out on Monty Python!
WHAT is this world coming to?!
Even my brother-in-law, Mike, was making fun of me for being so starstruck as well and I was like, “Are you kidding me?!! It’s MONTY PYTHON!!”
MONTY FREAKING PYTHON!!
Needless to say, Eric Idle made the funniest College Commencement speech of all time. His speech included a fart joke about the Queen that went something like this: The Queen’s horse farted loudly while she was sitting in the carriage next to the President of Nigeria. She turned to the distinguished Leader and said, “So sorry…” He replied, “That’s okay, I thought it was the horse!” He mentioned the gun control controversy in the United States by saying, “Don’t worry America, Britain isn’t planning to invade your country again, so you really don’t need so many muskets.” He summed up his speech with, “Now all of you Graduates out there…go out into the World and kick some ASS!” As if his hilarious speech wasn’t enough, he even ended Whitman’s entire Graduation Ceremony by singing, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from “The Life of Brian“.
If I had died at that moment, I assure you that I would have died happy.
When graduation was over I made Rea follow me with her camera so that I could hunt Monty Python down and get my picture taken with him. As starstruck as I was, when I actually spotted Eric Idle on the other side of the lawn, my stomach did flip-flops (I’m sure my belly full of pita, hummus, and chocolate cake didn’t help). Rea encouraged me to stop and breathe for a second before we approached him. That was good advice. Thankfully I saw Claire so that I could go over to her and say, “Claire! Introduce me to the Monty Python guy!!”
This is what I remember from the encounter after Claire made the introductions:
Me: “Hi! I’m a big fan…”
He grinned, and with his extremely British accent he said, “Well thank you. What was your name again?”
Me: “I’m Whitney. And this is Rea.”
Eric Idle shook both of our hands: “Very nice to meet you ladies.”
Me: “I should tell you that I got in big trouble when I was a Christian Missionary because I got a group of my friends together and we watched ‘Life of Brian’…”
Eric Idle: “Well that’s a first! I didn’t realize that missionaries watched any of my movies.”
Me: “Well they don’t. I mean, they’re not supposed to. That’s why I had to show it to them. But of course I got in trouble because the leaders thought that it was pretty blasphemous. But I tried to tell them that Brian was NOT the Messiah! That didn’t seem to help much…”
I actually made Eric Idle laugh.
No big deal.
Rea told him that he gave the most entertaining Commencement speech that she’d ever seen. He seemed pretty happy about all of our compliments.
Then Claire took a picture of Rea and I with MONTY PYTHON!
MONTY. FREAKING. PYTHON.