Home' In The City : In the City Autumn 2012 Contents Jeff Lewis & Melinda Schneider present
Doris Day – So Much More Than The Girl Next Door
SAT 17th MARCH – 7.30pm
© 2012 The Wiggles Pty Ltd.
Individual artists may be substituted.
WED 4 APRIL 1pm THU 5 APRIL 10am & 1pm
CANBERRA THEATRE CENTRE
Monday February 20, 2012
"The last eight months have been
busier than any other part of my life
and to say that about my 71st year is
For comedy legend John Cleese, a
trip to Australia to play a 43-date tour
is a chance to explore the country,
to relax -- and to pay his ex-wife's
After his high-profile divorce in
2009 from Alyce Faye Eichelberger
left him a rumoured $23 million
out of pocket, Cleese - most famous
for his Monty Python and Fawlty
Towers days - decided to alter his
comedic writing to the stage setting,
embarking on a massive global stand-
And while the bitterness is still in
his voice, Cleese believes a different
career turn has re-energised him.
"I got annoyed with Hollywood
executives when they rejected good
scripts of mine; I thought 'why do you
think you understand comedy better
than I do?'.
"Just at that time, I got an offer
from New Zealand to go on a tour
and thought it was great fun, so I
started off in Invercargill on this great
"I did California, nine shows in
Norway, then South Africa and it went
on from there.
"A lot of (the touring) is about
paying the alimony every year."
For the best part of five decades,
Cleese has been at the helm of
English comedy, developing cutting
edge series like Monty Python and
Fawlty Towers and movies, including
the Oscar nominated A Fish Called
Cleese's writing skills and
impeccable timing and sense of
humour in the Python TV series and
four movies brought him a legion of
fans across the world, who loved his
combination of dry wit and slapstick
He's appeared in two James Bond
films, twice in Harry Potter movies
and leant the voice of King Harold to
three Shrek films but has also been
seen in the Muppets Show and Cheers,
showing his versatility across many
streams of comedy.
In bringing his stand-up show,
An Evening With John Cleese, to
Australia for the first time, Cleese has
set himself the task of exploring the
Australian psyche and the country's
"I've always felt very comfortable
here in Australia; I find Australians
very comfortable to be around.
"There's no bullshit and I always
feel more comfortable here than I do
"Australia still feels Australian,
there's something about it but I don't
know a lot about the comedy to be
honest so there's always something to
The show is based around his life,
but focusses prominently on his recent
divorce, and subsequent financial
strife. He also talks openly about his
new love, Jennifer Wade, who -- at 32
-- is some 40 years younger than the
Three shows in Canberra are on the
cards at the Canberra Theatre, which
Cleese describes as a "nice theatre"
which "gives a real contact with
the audience". Local demand in the
national capital meant a third show
was added to the run, which wraps up
the three-month marathon.
"I came to Canberra about
three years ago on a short visit to
do a creativity seminar, I think I
understand creativity more than most
people, and the people of Canberra
struck me as a very creative bunch,"
"I think my advantage is that I
can do most things creatively and I
understand it from the outside and
inside so I like doing those kinds of
Brutally honest as ever, Cleese
admits some scenes of the Monty
Python TV series to be "terrible",
fellow Python member Eric Idle
as "always complaining about the
money" and making movie Fierce
Creatures with the same cast that was
used in A Fish Called Wanda to be
"my biggest mistake".
As to what makes a comedian with
50 years in the business laugh, he
admits laughter is now a rarity.
"It's a pretty sad thing to report that
when you have been doing comedy for
this long, you can see where each joke
is going," Cleese said with a sigh.
"About four times a year people say
a joke that makes me laugh. To be
honest, I feel jaded by it all.
"The 1 1/2 hour movie isn't as good
as it once was and comedy movies
don't really work anymore.
"It's relatively unusual for me to get
excited about a single performer other
than Bill Bailey, Jimmy Carr and Louis
CK -- who is absolutely outstanding.
"In fact, the last thing to make
me laugh was the Leveson media
inquiry in Britain, the sloppiness and
unprofessionalism of journalism is
But while age may weary him, the
show must go on.
"Five years ago 80 per cent of my
work was in the US, now 80 per cent
is outside the US," he laughed.
"We went to Monaco and fell in love
with the place and will move there
"Obviously, taxation is virtually non-
existent there, which is a good thing
with the ex-wife looming."
He's one of Britain's finest comedians but John Cleese
finds himself at home in Australia. BY RICHARD FOX
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