Cuckoo for Coconuts: Spamalot Creates a Coconut Orchestra with 1,199 Knights and Peasants

By Matt Windman
March 23, 2006

In one of the most unusual publicity stunts in recent Broadway history, Monty Python’s Spamalot celebrated its first anniversary on Broadway with a giant clop-clop by setting the Guinness World Record for the “World’s Largest Coconut Orchestra.”

Approximately 1,199 fans packed Shubert Alley on Wednesday afternoon March 22 to bang complimentary pairs of coconut halves together to the tune of the familiar Monty Python anthem “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

“It was amazing to see like 1,200 people with coconuts above their heads,” Spamalot cast member Christopher Sieber told Playbill.com. Sieber personally conducted the symphonic experience with fellow cast member Michael McGrath. “Our producer Bill Haber has wild ideas all the time. And we figured, it’s never been done before. I thought maybe only 300 or 400 people would come.”

Guinness World Record Official Stuart Claxton was on hand to certify that the world record had officially been set. Final confirmation of the official number will occur at a later date.

In Monty Python’s Spamalot, the character of Patsy (Michael McGrath) bangs a pair of coconut halves together in order to imitate the sound of a horse galloping for King Arthur (Simon Russell Beale). The coconuts are also used as a means of instrumentation in many of the show’s musical numbers.

Official sets of Spamalot coconut halves are also available for purchase at the Shubert Theatre lobby for $15. The Spamalot website advertises them with the following description: “Don’t own a horse? Turn any friend or relative into your own galloping sidekick with these coconut halves, or just ride around like the Knights of the Round Table in the privacy of your own home. Genuine coconut halves, instructions included. No assembly required.”