Friday, January 08, 2010

The Bright Side of Life

All day long I thought I had done by hero post, and was sitting on my ass smug in the knowledge that I had done my work for the day, when "A Fish Called Wanda" came onto to the telly, and suddenly it struck me that today is also the clever fellow above birthday as well. His name is Graham Chapman, and he is number 138 on my list. Looks like today is making up for yesterday's dearth of heroes by providing us with two wildly different types of heroes. He was born in Leicester, England on this day in 1941, and is, of course, known for being one of the six members of Monty Python. That group was formed in 1969, and included his fellow Cambridge student John Cleese. Chapman was a qualified doctor, but never practiced medicine, instead he and Cleese became writers for the BBC, and eventually formed Python, and comedic history was soon to be made. Cleese has said that Chapman, while technically the co-writer for many sketches, contributed were little actually writing. It was his sense of was was funny or not that made Chapman a major contribution to the Python madness. Chapman was an alocholic from his time in medical school, and would often need a drink or two just to face the day, and would often forget lines written in the morning for the afternoon sketches. After one particularly drunken, and erractic interview he went sober on Boxing Day 1977. He came out as a gay (one of the first "stars" to do so), in the mid 70's, and in 1989 died of a rare form of spinal cancer. I outright steal the lines below said by John Cleese at his Python Memorial Service.

"Graham Chapman, co-author of the Parrot Sketch, is no more.

He has ceased to be. Bereft of life, he rests in peace. He's kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last, and gone to meet the great Head of Light Entertainment in the sky. And I guess that we're all thinking how sad it is that a man of such talent, of such capability for kindness, of such unusual intelligence, should now so suddenly be spirited away at the age of only forty-eight, before he'd achieved many of the things of which he was capable, and before he'd had enough fun.

Well, I feel that I should say: nonsense. Good riddance to him, the freeloading bastard, I hope he fries.

And the reason I feel I should say this is he would never forgive me if I didn't, if I threw — threw away this glorious opportunity to shock you all on his behalf. Anything for him but mindless good taste"

So, for making millions of people laugh, and still being able to sing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" while freezing his ass off tied to a cross, Graham Chapman (January 8th-1941- October 4th, 1989, at the age of 48), you are my (second) hero of the day.

No comments: