Ridiculously happy birthday wishes to Michael Palin, the last of the Pythons to turn three-quarters of a century! That’s 75 years of being the Nicest Man Alive (and I’m happy to say that I’ve known him for over half of them). I’m going to celebrate by watching Michael’s brilliant performance in The Death of Stalin, where he portrays the nicest of the brutal Soviet despots. Happy birthday Michael, and many more!
Hard to believe that I am older now than #ericidle when this was taken, backstage at the City Center (note the lumberjack shirt)!
A 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…
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.
My Python Process writing class and PythonProv improvisation classes at the iO Chicago are getting ready for their graduation shows, and I couldn’t be prouder. If you want to see why I’m so happy with them, stop by the Jason Chin Cabaret at 7 pm at the iO Tuesday, April 18 for PythonProv, and next Sunday night at 7 pm at the Chris Farley Cabaret at the iO. You will laugh.
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.
People often ask me “Would John Cleese recap all six seasons of The Walking Dead? Please?”
Because you asked so politely:
Looks like it’s okay to announce this now.
If you’re disappointed because your part of America didn’t have a chance to see Eric and John last year and this year. you’re still out of luck. But if you’ve always wanted to see Monty Python and the Holy Grail presented by John, with a full discussion of the film and audience Q&A, you’re in luck. During the month of January, there will be lots and lots of opportunities. Only three have been announced so far, but there will be more. Honest.
20 January – The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, Maine. You can access the PRE-SALE tickets using the password: GRAIL here. Pre-sale ends Monday 10 October at 10pm.
Sunday night saw Terry Jones honored by BAFTA for Lifetime Achievement, which you can read about here. If you viewed it while it was live streamed or simply saw clips of it since then, I think you’ll agree it was a touching night, made more so by Terry’s announcement of his dementia diagnosis. Michael Palin gave a great speech, as did Terry’s son Bill. Even John Cleese was touched–and John isn’t a man consumed by sentiment! While Terry may begin to fade from the public spotlight, his contributions will only become more obvious as time goes on. But as I’m sure he’d want me to remind you–he’s not dead yet!
I know Terry Jones will be very excited and happy to see all of the well-wishes from his fans from around the world, and I’ll make sure his family is aware of them. Even though they are dealing with a lot nowadays, the outpouring of love, affection, and support is pretty incredible.
In the midst of the announcement of Terry’s dementia, however, another bit of sad news for Python fans may be overlooked. Terence Baylor, one of the rep company for Life of Brian, passed away this week.
I got to spend many jolly hours with Terry B on the set of Brian in Tunisia, and he couldn’t have been nicer—I’m glad I was able to interview him for my Monty Python’s Tunisian Holiday book. He appeared in numerous roles throughout the film, from Carol Cleveland’s husband in the Sermon on the Mount scene, to the crucifee who said “I’m Brian and so’s my wife.”
One indication of how much the Pythons valued him was evident when keeping in mind how little the Pythons improvised on any of their projects. When we were filming the crowd scene outside Brian’s window, the crowd responds to Brian’s “You’re all different” with “Yes, we are all different.” Terry B, who was standing near John, suggested something to him, and there was a brief discussion. The next thing I knew, when the hundreds of people shouted “Yes, we are all different,” Terry raised his hand and said “I’m not.” It worked, and it stayed in the final edit. Terence Baylor had just improvised in a Python film!
The last time I saw him was at a Python anniversary party in London in 1989, where he and some of the other rep company members were commenting (and rightly so) on how good Carol Cleveland still looked. I didn’t see much of him afterward, as he was a busy working stage, film, and TV actor, as evidenced by his appearance in the first Harry Potter film. But even Harry Potter didn’t let him improvise!