LONDON - Comedy is a bit like history. It repeats itself, and what started out as satire can mellow into farce.
The Monty Python troupe burst forth from Britain as the 1960s became the '70s, with a delirious blend of satire, surrealism and silliness. Almost 35 years after their last live performance, they have reunited for 10 farewell shows at London's O2 Arena.
Were they comic geniuses? The evidence of Tuesday's opening night says yes. Should geniuses stage affectionate send-off shows for their fans? Maybe not.
"Monty Python Live (Mostly)" features performances of many of their best skits, interspersed with saucy song-and-dance numbers and clips - both live-action and animated - from the classic TV series "Monty Python's Flying Circus." Like aging rock bands, the Pythons have lost a member along life's highway - Graham Chapman, who died in 1989. The five surviving Pythons are now over 70. Like the Rolling Stones, they're more wrinkled than you remember, but still perform with gusto.
The only thing missing is surprise. It's inevitable - fans have waited decades for this - but the Pythons get a standing ovation before they open their mouths. Many fan-favorite sketches are here: the dead parrot, Spam, "The Lumberjack Song," the four Yorkshiremen, the Spanish Inquisition.