by Dave Kenson

Note:  Bear with me through the discussion of British entertainment and humor.  There is a lesson at the end!

“Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” is the title of the autobiography of Monty Python member, Eric Idle.  Confession:  I really enjoy British television, movies, and especially British humor.  The logical reason for this affection would be that my maternal grandfather’s ancestors came from Great Britain, but that really wasn’t a factor.  None of my living relatives spoke with a British accent, and I wasn’t really sure of this part of my ancestry until I became an adult.  But, as a kid, I read all the James Bond books and laughed at Benny Hill.  My favorite TV show back then was “The Avengers”, the John Steed (Patrick MacNee) and Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) version, not the comic book superheroes.  Because of the internet, I became familiar with comedians like Dave Allen, Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, The Two Ronnies, Morcombe and Wise, Tommy Cooper, Peter Kay and many others.  Oh, and I do like baked beans for breakfast.

Netflix and Amazon Prime delivered many more choices.  I have watched and would recommend all of the following British TV shows:

The Bodyguard


Doc Martin

Downton Abbey

Father Brown

The Fall

Falty Towers

Foyle’s War

Inspector Lewis

Jack Taylor

Last Tango in Halifax



Midsummer Murders

Peaky Blinders


The Split


My favorites, however, are from Monty Python.  The group included the late Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gillian, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin.  Admittingly, their humor appeals more to guys.  Most women think they are silly, which is the whole point of their humor.  The TV show, “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”, produced such legendary sketches as Dead Parrot, Ministry of Silly Walks, Spam, Cheese Shop, Argument Clinic and many more.  Their most famous movie, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” tells the story of the search by King Arthur and his knights for the chalice used at the Last Supper.  They travel on horseback (the budget didn’t allow for horses so they just galloped to the sound of clapping coconut shells).  Memorable lines from the movie include:

“Throw out your dead; I’m not dead yet; You will be!”

“Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries.”

“Its just a flesh wound.”

Another Monty Python movie, “The Life of Brian”, tells the story of mistaken identity.  Brian, an average Jewish man living during Roman times, gets mistaken for the Messiah.  Contrary to criticism from people who have not seen the film, the Pythons were extremely careful to NOT make fun of Jesus in the film.  Instead, they focused on the ineptitude of the investigation of Brian.   While he was hanging on a cross (in the last scene, The Crucifixion), Eric Idle sings “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”, which he wrote.  In recent times, the song has become popular at British Funerals, starting with Graham Chapman’s.  You can Google the lyrics.

The point, other than being silly, is that no matter what your circumstances, you can always control your attitude.  Even if you cannot control the situations of your life, you can determine, for yourself, your reaction to them.  If you want to change your life, first change your attitude.  Change happens from the inside out.  People say, “When I am successful, I’ll be happy.”  That is not how it works.

When you DECIDE to be happy, you will become successful.