More Python Classes

Graham Colonel

I’m sorry I’ve been posting less often lately (most of my posts seem to begin this way), but, among other things, I’ve been devoting a lot of my formerly free time to my Python classes at the iO Chicago. And it’s been a blast. To paraphrase something that Graham Chapman once told me, “I don’t let them know how much fun I’m having or they won’t want to pay me.”
Both sessions are winding up; my writing class, The Python Process, will be wrapping up with a staged reading on February 21 at 7 pm at the Chris Farley Theatre at the iO. This group has been turning out some incredibly funny material, week after week, and the audience is going to have a great time. My improv class, PythonProv, will be performing beginning at 7 pm February 26 in the same space, and this one will be just as funny.
Improvising in the style of @montypython is not the easiest thing in the world, and we may be the first group that’s made a serious attempt at it. And it’s going so well that we’re not going to let it drop after this session ends. And that’s why we’re going to continue on to a second level of PythonProv with the same group.
So why am I telling you all this if you aren’t in the group? Because we’re launching another session of PythonProv Level One classes beginning on Sunday, February 28. I don’t want to tell you how we do it, but I’ll give you one hint: while doing a long form improvisation, we chip away at everything that doesn’t look like #montypython. And it’s working!
If you’re interested, contact the iO Chicago. If you like Monty Python and improvising, you’re going to have a blast.

Good news, Cleese news…

The bad news is when your phone rings right in the middle of your Python Process class at the iO Chicago.

The good news is when it’s John Cleese calling, and he offers to talk to your students on speakerphone.

He answered questions about writing, and delighted and inspired the whole group. All classes should be like this. Thanks, John!


Happy birthday Graham

On January 8, 1941, Graham Chapman made his first appearance in Leicester, England. According to his autobiography, however, he was born in Leamington on February 7, 1942. Of course, one should keep in mind that it was titled A Liar’s Autobiography, and that should be enough to give you a pretty good idea of the sort of strangeness that Graham embraced his whole life.

Graham and me City Center

This is a photo of the second time I met Graham, in April of 1976, backstage at the City Center. I would be embarrassed at my leisure suit and ridiculous hair, except I’m with Graham, and Graham was never embarrassed about anything. Boy, do I miss him.

#montypython #grahamchapman

Fawlty Report

Fawlty TowersJohn Cleese is looking to have a very busy 2016. In addition to everything else on his schedule, including an Australian tour with Eric Idle (which I wrote about here), filming a movie, scripting a Feydeau farce for a possible West End production, and lots of writing, The Daily Telegraph is now reporting that a stage production of Fawlty Towers will be opening in Australia in August.

I haven’t had a chance to confirm this yet with @johncleese, but this would undoubtedly be similar to a very successful Scandinavian production that was presented recently. John has found a way to stitch together three episodes of @fawltytowers into a full-length play, and will doubtless be down under overseeing the production this summer. No, John and the rest of the cast of the original TV series won’t be on stage, but if John is involved, this will be good.


Cleese and Idle Down Unda…

@johncleese and @ericidle have just announced another two-man tour, following in the wake of last fall’s tour of Florida and the Southeastern U.S. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that, if you want to see them, you’ll need to be in Australia in February.

Of course, if you’re already living there, or if you’re an Aussie living elsewhere and are looking for an excuse to come home, this should do as well as anything.

If you saw any of the shows last October, you know how much good news this is. Here’s where to get tickets:

#montypython #johncleese #ericidle


Python Classes…


Here’s a reminder for Chicago area improvisers, comedy writers, and Monty Python fans–my January classes at the iO Chicago are filling up very quickly and, in fact, one of them is almost completely sold out.

And I’ll tell you a secret about these classes–the students all seem to have a great time, but I have even more fun than the students.

The Python Process is a class for writers, and it’s one of my most popular long-running classes. Students learn all about the Python writing process–how the group used collaboration and re-writing to craft their legendary comedy sketches. If you’re interested in writing comedy sketches, The Python Process will show you how to do it the Python way, and we wrap up the whole session with a staged reading of sketches produced by the class.

PythonProv is designed for improvisers, and our goal is to learn to improvise in the style of Monty Python. At the end of our eight-week session, we will be trying to improvise Flying Circus episodes in front of audiences. When I told Terry Jones about the class recently, he pointed out that the Pythons didn’t improvise when they were creating their shows. “Of course not,” I agreed, “And Shakespeare’s actors didn’t improvise their shows at the Globe Theatre, either. But somehow, some of us have figured out how to improvise in the style of Shakespeare.” And that’s what this class is about–learning to improvise in the style of Monty Python. Here’s your chance to get in on the ground floor of a whole new style of improvisation.

I learned to improvise at the feet of Del Close, and later, I was able to introduce Del to several of the Pythons (including Terry Jones, pictured). If you’d like to be a part of this latest adventure, just contact the iO Chicago.

I think Del would approve.

#delclose #iochicago #ioimprov #montypython @montypython @Pythonjones @iochicago #improv