Liberal Arts Blog — Entertainers XVIII: John Cleese: Quotes, Clips, Bio Notes
Liberal Arts Blog — Sunday is the Joy of Humor, Food, Travel, Practical Life Tips, and Miscellaneous Day
Today’s Topic: Entertainers XVIII: John Cleese: Quotes, Clips, Bio Notes
His real name was Cheese. His father changed it. Wouldn’t you? Another question: did you ever watch Monty Python? Did you find it funny? How about British humor in general? I confess that I find most of British humor incomprehensible. However, John Cleese is an exception. Today some random quotes, notes, and clips. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
BUSINESSMEN, EATING ANIMALS, LIFE
1. “I find it rather easy to portray a businessman. Being bland, rather cruel and incompetent comes naturally to me.”
2. “If God did not intend for us to eat animals, then why did he make them out of meat?”
3. “Life is a terminal disease, and it is sexually transmitted.”
A CHILDHOOD CHRISTMAS MEMORY
1. “The one thing I remember about Christmas was that my father used to take me out in a boat about ten miles offshore on Christmas Day, and I used to have to swim back.”
2. “Extraordinary. It was a ritual. Mind you, that wasn’t the hard part.
3. The difficult bit was getting out of the sack.”
PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE HUMOR (not funny)
1. “A good sense of humor is the sign of a healthy perspective, which is why people who are uncomfortable around humor are either pompous (inflated) or neurotic (oversensitive).”
2. “Pompous people mistrust humor because at some level they know their self-importance cannot survive very long in such an atmosphere, so they criticize it as “negative” or “subversive.”
3. “Neurotics, sensing that humor is always ultimately critical, view it as therefore unkind and destructive, a reductio ad absurdum which leads to political correctness. Not that laughter can’t be unkind and destructive. Like most manifestations of human behavior it ranges from the loving to the hateful.”
NB: “The latter produces nasty racial jokes and savage teasing; the former, warm and affectionate banter, and the kind of inclusive humor that says, “Isn’t the human condition absurd, but we’re all in the same boat.”
FOOTNOTES — parents, education, career highlights
1. Parents: father an insurance salesman, mother “the daughter of an auctioneer.”
2. Education: studied law at Cambridge, where he joined the “Cambridge Footlights” comedy troop.
3. Three Monty Python films: “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975), “Life of Brian” (1979), and “The Meaning of Life” (1983)
NB: The sitcom “Faulty Towers” (co-written with his first wife Connie Booth) ran on the BBC for only two seasons with six episodes each but has been rated the “greatest ever British sitcom.” Cleese plays the star, Basil Faulty, who has been rated the second greatest TV character of all time (after Homer Simpson) in a British television poll. Basil is a cynical and misanthropic snob.” Do you have a favorite episode?
THREE CLIPS TO WATCH
For the last three years of posts organized by theme:
So what is the best cartoon you have seen lately? or in the last 10 years? or the last 50? or your favorite joke? Or what is your famous holiday food? Main course? Dessert? Fondest food memories? Favorite foods to eat or prepare? Anything miscellaneous to share from anywhere? Best trip you ever took in your life? Practical life tips? Random facts? Jokes?
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your mind a memory that might otherwise disappear. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.