Monthly Archives: October 2014

Cleeseheads Across North America

It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been reading my blogs, tweets, and posts that they have all been gradually overrun by information on John Cleese and his promo tour for his autobiography, So, Anyway… There’s no reason to fight it, and so for the next month or so, I’ll be posting from the road, starting November 4.

I’ll be traveling with John as he tours North America, doing personal appearances, interviews, and showing himself to be far more inexhaustible than I am. But I’ll try my best to keep up with him, and post whatever photos, behind-the-scenes comments, and great thoughts about each of the events as they happen.
If you have a chance to see John interviewed at any of the more than a dozen venues across North America, you’re in for a treat. And even if John is not coming to your town, you’re going to love So, Anyway… which goes on sale in America the first week of November. Stay tuned. #montypythonlive
JC Book cover

Canadian Cleeseheads

I told you these events would sell out quickly. John’s appearance in Victoria is sold out. There are still tickets for Nov. 8 in Toronto, and Nov. 14 in Vancouver, but you’d best act quickly! And tickets include a signed copy of #Soanyway …

JC Book cover

Cleese, Cats, and Taylor Swift…

John Cleese and Taylor Swift both appeared on The Graham Norton Show (part of John’s publicity blitz to promote his autobiography, #soanyway…). Fans might know that John is a huge cat lover. And I suspect it’s general knowledge that Taylor Swift is not known for her sense of humor. Keep these two facts in mind as you watch the following…

Jan Hooks

Shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Jan Hooks. When I used to spend time out at SNL in the late 80s and early 90s, she was one of the most talented members of a talented group, which included Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Kevin Nealon, Nora Dunn, and Dana Carvey, among others. jan hooksI can’t say I knew her at all well, but I knew enough to say that  she was as nice a person as she was talented. And that’s saying a lot.

iO Class 10-14
I spent the weekend substitute teaching for Michael McCarthy's writing classes at the iO. Here, I'm showing the Sketch-writing class Monty Python's Joke Warfare/Funniest Joke in the World Sketch as we study editing (an appropriate choice on the Python anniversary weekend, I thought). 
This was my first time teaching in the new building, and I'm still amazed just walking into the place. I always have to think back to the crumbling, barely building-code legal Crosscurrents cabaret, where the iO (then ImprovOlympic) first started; to say it's come a long way is hugely underestimating it.
I highly recommend anyone in the Chicago area stop by for first-class improvisation (or, in the case of Dave and TJ's Mission Theatre, first-class sketch comedy), and stick around for drinks and dinner as well. It's only been a couple of months in the new building, but it's fast becoming a landmark. In fact, it's the Great Wall of China of Improvisation. Go now and thank me later.

Where it all began…

…On this, the 45th anniversary of the first telecast of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, it seems appropriate to watch the first scene of the first show recorded (though it was broadcast second). While Terry Jones and Graham Chapman were performing this, John Cleese was in the wings with Michael Palin, saying “You know, it’s possible that this will be the very first comedy program that doesn’t get a single laugh.” Fortunately, he couldn’t have been more wrong…