Michael Palin: 'Monty Python' Could Never Do a Parody of Islam

Michael Palin of the Monty Python comedy troupe was interviewed by London's Daily Mail as the Python gang plans a lucrative reunion, and he announced that there's no way Islam could be mocked today in the way Python ripped into Catholicism and Christianity in their heyday in films like "The Life of Brian" and "The Meaning of Life" (with its "Every Sperm Is Sacred" satire).

He said: ‘Religion is more difficult to talk about. I don’t think we could do 'Life of Brian' any more. A parody of Islam would be even harder."

"We all saw what happened to Salman Rushdie and none of us want to get into all that. It’s a pity but that’s the way it is. There are people out there without a sense of humour and they’re heavily armed." Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1989 insisting on a death sentence for Rushdie, who wrote a novel titled "The Satanic Verses."

Palin tried to dismiss the idea that they had an animus or an agenda when it mocked religion: "Python has always been about dealing with things you’re not meant to deal with. It’s like being at school - as soon as the teacher said ‘it’s not funny’ you started laughing."

He added: "We didn’t target people and say “We’re going to have a go at this or that”. We were just writing what would make the six of us laugh.”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis