The comedian and actor on his pet hates and staying with the real Basil Fawlty
Yes, John Cleese is as tall as we think, and he still has that gait as he strides on stage to Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. He obliges with occasional oral explosions and outrageous comments, as we require. As he leaves, he snatches his notes from the podium, intentionally all Fawlty-like.
He’s casual, wearing a navy polo short and jacket, and, delightfully, (I’m almost sure) no socks under what look like navy moccasin slippers.
Talking with the Monty Python member about Peter Sellers, failure, and why he prefers disrespectful interviewers.
It was absurdist. It didn’t try to be intellectual, yet it at its core it still was. I always had an affinity for the silly, and the humor of The Goon Show was just that. It was also very subversive. Spike and [co-creator Harry Secombe] were in the armed forces during the Second World War, you see, and they had developed a rather disrespectful attitude towards authority and the officers, and that was always coming through in the show — just a disrespect for the pompous old-style English guys and the upper class. And that anti-authority really spoke to us [in Python]. People used to ask us to describe what sort of humor Monty Python was because they didn’t know how to categorize us. We’re just silly. Other people who come across us can give us labels if they want.
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone working in comedy that hasn’t creatively cribbed from Monty Python. The influential British comedy troupe’s trademark surrealism, self-referencing, and artistic anarchy has been coded into the DNA of many modern architects of America’s absurdist comedy Zeitgeist, from Doug Kenney to Amy Sedaris to the minds behind Mr. Show. [ . . . ]
British comedy legend visits the ‘Fan Theory’ podcast
Comedy legend John Cleese, a founding member of the iconic British comedy troupe Monty Python, is back on the road.
At the age of 77, the Academy Award nominee is crossing the country this fall, screening the stupendously silly 1975 cult classic film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and engaging in question-and-answer sessions following the movie.
“I was amazed how easy it was to sell tickets,” Cleese told the Asbury Park Press’ “Fan Theory” podcast, “because Americans like ‘Holy Grail’ best of all …
“And the nice thing is the questions afterwards. You see, when I’m doing my one-man show I say pretty much the same thing every night, but when I’m answering questions from the audience they can be completely different. I can do two shows and they’re completely different because it just depends on the direction the audience takes it. That makes it much more interesting for me.”