I guess this started out as a book/DVD review, but evolved into a beautiful Monty Python eulogy. Not sure I hang with this bit, which reads too much like a grumpy oldster shooing kids away from his lawn: During the Python era, writers like Woody Allen were doing similar comedy in America: popular, slapstick stuff that unself-consciously combed history and high culture for inspiration. What a falling-off there has been since then. Most of today’s popular comedy looks willfully malnourished by comparison. It’s poor form, these days, to know more than your audience. A modern comedian’s idea of an obscure reference is to mention Mr. Miyagi, or the cantina scene in Star Wars. These allusions must be okay, because every other comedian makes them too. Not even Tina Fey can escape the pop-culture echo chamber. Her book,Bossypants, is full of arcane but reassuringly junky cultural references—to Jon from CHiPs, to the guy from Arli$$. While I agree with the frustration of the easy Karate Kid ref, I wonder how much of the distinction is actually due to the fact that the Pythons were working in a nearly empty pop culture vacuum. Today, our shared media history has never left us. It’s everywhere, thanks to television reruns and YouTube and the decision (briefly mentioned in the Python article) to start saving TV shows and movies instead of just throwing them away. A comedian mentions Karate Kid today, they’re dropping something that is thirty years past. What kind of 1938 reference could Woody Allen or the Pythons have mentioned in 1968? Would a critic in 1968 have chided the Pythons for the “Mr. Hilter” sketch as being an example of modern comics too easily dipping into the “Let’s Reference WWII” vault?