Category Archives: Monty Python

Happy Python Birthday! …

On this date in 1978, I was in Tunisia, and wished Michael Palin a Happy Monty Python birthday. He seemed a little surprised, and I suspect it may have been the first time he realized that anyone paid attention to things like Python anniversaries. (In fact, he was so surprised that he commented on it in his published Diaries.) At that time, Python was 9 years old. Today is the 48th anniversary of the first airing of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. A lot has changed over the years, but Python is still as funny as ever. If you haven’t watched an episode in a while, this might be a good day to enjoy it. If you’re lucky enough for your city to be on John Cleese’s current tour, don’t miss it. Happy Python birthday!

#montypython #johncleese #montypythonsflyingcircusPython Showtime group

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At Last the 1948 Show Live in Chicago!

1948 Top of the Class photo

It’s the moment that I’ve been waiting for–At Last the 1948 Show Live! is opening for the first time ever, at the iO Theatre in Chicago! Shows begin at 7:30 Friday, Sept. 8, and end on Sept. 15. If you’ve ever wondered what John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Marty Feldman would be doing if they had been born 50 years later in Chicago with ovaries, this show will answer your rather strange questions. And our special guest star is Camilla Cleese, who is no relation to Graham, Tim, or Marty.

For more information and to order tickets, click here. And to see more with Camilla Cleese in the Chicago Sun-Times, click here or to watch her on WGN, click here.

At Last the 1948 Show!

1948 Show photo Ant

Another great rehearsal today for At Last the 1948 Show! Lauren Pizzi and Bill Russell are going to kill with “The Wonderful World of the Ant.” We’ll be opening on September 8th at the iO Chicago, featuring the lovely and talented Camilla Cleese–you won’t want to miss it. Nuff said!

1948 Show poster

At Last the 1948 Show–Live!

1948 Show poster

I’ve been waiting a long time to make this announcement, and at last I can tell you what I’ve been working on lately.

Have you ever wondered what sort of comedy show John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Marty Feldman would be writing if they had been born 50 years later in Chicago with ovaries? Well, wonder no more.

Coming soon to Chicago’s iO Theatre is the first-ever stage production of At Last the 1948 Show, fully authorized by John Cleese, and directed by yours truly. It will star Camilla Cleese and a cast of Chicago’s finest sketch actors, along with yours truly.

I’ll be writing more soon about this once-in-a-lunchtime production, but if you want more information or a link, here’s a link, or just keep reading:

 

After 50 years of preparation, rare sketches from one of British television’s silliest shows are being presented in America for the very first time for two weeks only.

At Last the 1948 Show—Live” is written by John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Marty Feldman, and the cast is headed by Camilla Cleese (who is no relation to Chapman, Brooke-Taylor, or Feldman), with Isabeau Dornevil, Iris Kohler, Lauren Lonergan, Kristen Lundberg, and Lauren Pizzi—an all-female cast (if you don’t include Kim “Howard” Johnson, Michael McCarthy, and Bill Russell, although they are also in the cast).

The live show is produced and directed by Johnson in association with Wing Commander Muriel Volestrangler, F.R.H.S. and Bar, and the iO Chicago.

At Last the 1948 Show” aired on British television in 1967. Afterward, the network realized they could save a little money by recording over these comedic masterworks, and it was only through the tireless efforts of Wing Commander Volestrangler and others that copies have been found and scripts reconstructed. While a few of these sketches were later re-recorded by Monty Python, and others can be found in the darkest corners of the internet, many simply don’t exist anymore. But now, Chicago audiences can experience them live on stage for the first time ever.

Camilla Cleese, with Isabeau Dornevil, Iris Kohler, Lauren Lonergan, Kristen Lundberg, and Lauren Pizzi—an all-female cast (if you don’t include Kim “Howard” Johnson, Michael McCarthy, and Bill Russell)

Call 312 929-2401 to purchase tickets or purchase them online.

 

Happy Birthday Michael!

Palin globesA ridiculously Happy 74th to Arthur Putey, Mr. Gumby, the It’s Man, Cardinal Ximenez, Heinrich Bimmler, Mr. Pither, Sir Galahad the Pure, Ex-Leper, Ken Pile, Luigi Vercotti, Debbie Katzenberg. And so many more…

 

At Last Absolutely Anything!

U.S. Fans of Terry Jones, Monty Python and Robin Williams have been waiting a while to hear this news: at last there is a U.S. release scheduled for Absolutely Anything, written and directed by Terry. Here are the details.

TJ

 

School’s In…

If you’ve been putting off taking classes at the iO Chicago, wait no further. A new session is starting, and if you’re not careful, you may even find yourself in one of my classes. Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6:30, I’ll be teaching Talk Show Packet (part of Michael McCarthy’s writing program), in which, if you put in the time and the work, you’ll find yourself with a packet of material to submit to your favorite TV talk show!

But that’s not all. Next Sunday will be the first session of both of my Monty Python-inspired classes, The Python Process and PythonProv. The former will show you how to use the same writing techniques utilized by the members of Monty Python to improve your own sketch writing. It’s a great adjunct to Michael’s SNL Sketch class, and we’ll present a show at the end of the eight-week session! And let’s not forget PythonProv, a brand new type of long form improvisation in which you’ll learn how to perform Python-influenced improv.

If you’re interested, you’ll need to contact the iO very soon to sign up, and please let me know if you have any questions.

 io Old sign

 

Happy Birthday Graham

Scan23_0023_023

Been a little while since I’ve posted. Sorry. In the past month, I’ve had one graduation, the holidays, getting the kid ready for a move and a new job, and getting ready for another Cleese trip, not to mention my 103-year old Aunt Betty passing away unexpectedly.

But this would have been Graham Chapman’s 76 birthday, and that’s always worth a thought. Graham was an active member of Python for 20 years, and a considerably less active Python for 28 years now. It took nothing less than death to slow him down, and even then, he’s still been popping up in places like the O2 show, and making an ash of himself in various reunions. In fact, one thing that Graham never was, was inactive, and I’m glad that trend continues.

I’ll start posting more regularly as I travel with Mr. C this month. If you’re in the Northeast or parts of the Midwestern US, keep watching–John Cleese is coming your way. And in keeping with our theme, he’ll doubtless have lots to say about Graham.

 

RIP Andrew Sachs

I would be remiss if I didn’t pause to note the passing of the wonderful Andrew Sachs, known best to the world as Manuel in “Fawlty Towers.”

I’d like to write about what a talented actor he was, but that’s obvious to anyone who has ever seen an episode of Fawlty Towers. I can’t tell you all what a great person he was, because I was never lucky enough to actually meet him. But I do know the high regard in which John held him, and I know that his comic portrayal will live forever. And that’s a pretty great legacy, isn’t it?

#johncleese #fawltytowers