John Cleese Live for “Holy Grail” Q&A
November 2nd, 2017
Omaha, NE—John Cleese, British actor, writer and comedian best known as a founding member of Monty Python, will be in Omaha this month for a screening and Q&A of fan favorite, Monty Python and The Holy Grail.
Monty Python started its run as a TV sketch comedy series on the BBC in 1969, Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The show was known for its biting satire and penchant for absurdity that had no comparison in mainstream media, a style that is integral to Cleese’s work. The comedy group wasn’t sure their experiment would take off, however, until it came time to film.
The first time we ever recorded a show, I remember standing in the wings,” Cleese said. “I wasn’t in the sketch. It was a sketch with Graham Chapman and Terry Jones, so I said to Michael Palin, ‘You know, we could be the first people in history to record a comedy show to complete silence,’ and Michael said to me, ‘I was thinking exactly the same thing.’ And then the show started and after about two minutes the audience started to giggle, and then they started to laugh a little bit and then they started to laugh quite a lot, and I looked at Michael and said something like I think we’re going to be all right, but it had a very mixed response when it first aired. A lot of people had no idea what it was about and just turned it off.”
Aside from Python, Cleese has written and performed in the TV series Fawlty Towers and film, A Fish Called Wanda. His autobiography, So, Anyway, was published in 2015 and he’s currently working on a show called Why There Is No Hope.
Cleese’s targets have not changed since his early career—bureaucratic inefficiency, arbitrary class structures, general incompetence and day-to-day tedium—and he never ceases to point out the parts of life that might just be silly.
“Well I think we live basically in a very, very stupid planet, and I think most people, if you really examine lives—and I’m talking about mine as much as anyone else’s—I think the way most people live is just a way of passing the time till they die. I mean they get very excited about things like new cars and whether their football team has done well, you know, and none of this is really ultimately very important, but people aren’t, these days, very interested in anything. So here we all are running around, buying better cars and bigger houses, and most people don’t have any real purpose to their life and that in itself is quite funny.”
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is the comedic retelling of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and most people can remember at least one iconinc character from the film, whether it’s the indestructible Black Knight, the French taunters, or the coconut clapping patsy.
After the screening Cleese will talk about his life and career, and fans will have a chance to ask anything. Really anything.
“One of the things I like about this show is that I have no idea where it’s going to go. I mean some days it gets all serious, you know? People are talking about politics and things like that. Other days it gets very, very silly indeed. I was doing the show in Norway once and a man said, ‘Mr. Cleese, may I ask you please a serious question?’ and I said of course you may. He said, ‘If you had to choose to be a component part of an aircraft, what component part of an aircraft would you choose to be?” Well, I thought it was the silliest question I’d ever heard in my life. I couldn’t speak for about two minutes. I just sat there howling with laughter.”
John Cleese, Live on Stage with a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail will be Friday, November 17th at 7:30 pm at the Orpheum Theatre. For more information or tickets, visit TicketOmaha.com.
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