Monty Python hits the Internet

Posted by Samantha Rose Hunt

Chicago (IL) - Back in the 1980s, Monty Python was a living comedy troupe for the last time with the release of “The Meaning of Life.” Eric Idle, an English comedian and former member of the group, has worked for decades to ensure that Monty Python is not lost. The name continues through books, DVD’s, a Broadway show, video games, concert tours, and even ringtones. He is now making an effort to place Monty Python on the Internet, launching Pythonline.com.

Pythonline.com is a social network that offers fans clips of old material for the creation of mash-ups, chat boards, and open forums. Membership is free of charge.

Just don’t expect too much from it. The content on the site isn’t very funny. And there is not much participation in the forums. The classic clips have been made available for viewing on YouTube, where it is expected that a younger generation will view them, finding them both fresh and comical.

Eric Idle is the driving force behind the website, and none of the other Pythons- John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Pain, and Terry Jones are active on the site. The sixth Python, Graham Chapman died in 1989. Though the other group members are not participating, they will still be able to reap royalties from Idle’s efforts, because they own the rights to the majority of the Monty Python catalog.

Throughout the late 90’s, Idle worked to get Pythonline.com started, but continuously set the project aside. In 2007, Idle signed a partnership with the New Media Broadcasting Company, a small firm located in Glendale California. The two companies decided to work together to build the site, which has been in beta testing mode since the spring. The site will officially be introduced at the end of December, 2008.

The Python channel on Youtube has recorded 4.5 million video views and 52,000 subscribers within its first two weeks live online.
New Media Broadcasting hopes to make Pythonline profitable with revenue from advertising and paid subscriptions to the site. Currently the company is working on “substantial” private financing. Eventually the company hopes to run sites where artists will be able to communicate with his or her fans directly.

Once Pythonline makes its debut, it will have to compete with websites such as funnyordie.com, and collegehumor.com. Sketch comedy is making a comeback through the internet, so the site might just have hope.

Fans shouldn’t expect to see any new material from Eric Idle however, he currently prefers spending his time writing songs, he finds sketch comedy boring, but wants fans to enjoy the works from the past.