Who? What? When? How? Why?
I've been thinking about this since I got such short shrift from HCAO on thina's question game thread, but let's not dwell on the past. Feelings were hurt, true, but time has passed; now let's move on. ;)
Mr. Cleese has, on occasion, expressed surprise at the fact that Python was not picked up and developed by subsequent comedians. I have my own theory why, which is mine and what it is, and I'm not interested in yours: I don't think anyone could have built on the foundations Python laid in quite the same way that the Pythons built on what the Goons, Beyond the Fringe, Not Only... But Also, etc. had achieved because Python was so fundamentally idiosyncratic that it effectively took itself into an evolutionary dead end. Nobody could have picked up that particular baton (although I think Not the Nine O'Clock News probably came closest to doing so successfully) without being seen as a pale imitation of Python.
What I am interested in, however, is that, as HCAO so succinctly, curtly and peremptorily pointed out, many other comedy acts exhibit distinctly Python-ish, if not outright Pythonesque, influences in their acts.
- Who? is easy. I'm sure everyone can point out which comedians are influenced by Python. (HCAO can, that's for sure.)
- What? should be doable - just list those moments when they display Pythonesque tendencies.
- When? by which I mean what particular turn of phrase (writing) or arched eyebrow (performance) reminds you of Python?
- How? I may be disappearing up my own bottom with this one, but it's there if you want to answer it... perhaps: how is it funny - is it funny in its own right or because it's a Python reference? Or maybe: how is it delivered - Python in a straight way (Margaret Thatcher) or a straight line in a Python way (George W. Bush)? Or, perchance, a bizarre Chapmanesque surreal reference in an otherwise satirical or mundane scenario? (I think I got out of that one - no one will notice.)
- Why? Was it deliberate? Did the performer intend to evoke the spirit of Python? Or was it completely unconscious?
- Or - interpret each in your own way.
This doesn't have to turn into a dissection of comedy but I'm interested at least in Who? and either What? or When?