The main attraction at this year’s LLF was Monty Python writer Michael Palin. And while the star studded event had an impressive roster, Michael Palin was both the opening and closing performance, and effectively the main act of the show.
Opening up the much awaited event, Palin sat down with Kamila Shamsie at 10 am for an hour long chat titled “Not a nice man at all.” The first talk began with Shamsie bringing up Palin’s childhood which was overshadowed by a Britain recovering from the Second World War.
In a highly engaging session, the comedy legend began by describing the extremely bleak post war atmosphere in Britain. Growing up in a Britain reeling from war, Palin expressed his fascination with the idea of doing things for absolutely no reason or purpose other than for the sake of it.
It was through this fascination that he said he realised his love for America and its spontaneity. He went on to give personal antics from his childhood of sneaking behind his father’s back to hear comedy shows on the radio and going to watch Jerry Lewis films.
The talk remained very interactive as Palin thoroughly entertained the crowd with his over the top impressions as he answered Kamila’s questions about the Monty Python writing method and how he got along with Terry Jones and Spike Miligen.
However the talk did turn to more serious and contemporary matters as Kamila asked Palin, much to his chagrin, to comment on US President Donald Trump and the role satire and comedy played in coping with such events. The Monty Python writer chose to answer the query by bringing up the universality of comedy and how laughter was one of the most instant forms of connection that humans could make.
The conversation concluded with Palin speaking regarding his experience as a novelist saying it had been a wonderful experience and that he hoped work on more novels in the near future.
After being sent off in a standing ovation from the first session, Palin returned to address the final part of the programme titled “Up your Himalayas” at 6 in the evening. In a fast pace talk filled with witty remarks, Palin talked about his widely acclaimed travel show for the BBC. In the session he talked about his 2003 visit to the Himalayas and specifically his time in the Northern parts of Pakistan, which he described as one of his favourite travel experiences.
The British star kicked off his talk by appreciating the audience and telling them that it was “wonderful to be here in Lahore.” Describing his journey in the Himalayas, he began as his usual, humorous self, talking about being dropped into the snow by a military helicopter.
Palin shared pictures of his trip in a slideshow, telling stories regarding each photograph. He went on to recall fond memories of his visit to Peshawar and being the guest of Prince Malik Atta who introduced him to feudal sports such as bull racing.
The talk ended with Palin bowing out to thunderous applause and expressing his love for Lahore and taking pictures with attendees of the festival.