WARNING: PG 13 – Foul language used in this blog
I was fortunate enough to be able to go and see John Cleese‘s new show ‘Alimony Tour’ in 2012.
“Without these ground-breaking, side-splitting writers and actors we might never have broken the barrier of vulgar, fowl and completely insane comedy”
I have always been a huge fan of Fawlty Towers and Monty Python, not to mention A Fish Called Wanda and the latest triumph, ‘Spud’ – a movie made from the South African novel of the same title by John Van De Ruit.
The childhood memories of Basil Fawlty and the ‘deceased parrot’ skit are some of my fondest. This so-called ‘black/dark’ humor has been my life-line in many occasions and it is all due to the genius of pioneer comedians such as Cleese and the Python team, as well as Connie Booth (Cleese’s first wife and co-writer and star of Fawlty Towers).
Without these ground-breaking, side-splitting writers and actors we might never have broken the barrier of vulgar, fowl and completely insane comedy.
Cleese mentioned that he was the first person to say ‘shit’ on the BBC and consequentially went on to be the ‘first’ person to say ‘fuck’ at the church memorial service for his fellow writer/actor/friend, Graham Chapman. A tribute, Cleese declared, that his friend, Chapman, would have wanted him to fulfill at Chapman’s expense *grin*.
“With their light of humor, they shone laughter and mirth into the hearts of millions who needed to be uplifted from their daily grind.”
The Python team went on to push all sorts of boundaries with their completely zany comedy skits and movies. The one thing they did achieve through this was a world-wide fan base and some of the best and most diverse comedy to hit the screens ever!
This opened up new avenues and diverse channels for finding humour in the mundane and darkest of places. What’s life about if we can’t take the Micky out of everything!
Comedic pioneers, with their light of humour, shone laughter and mirth into the hearts of millions who needed to be uplifted from their daily grind.
On With the Show…
The show was about Cleese’s personal and professional history and what a journey it was! From the humble beginnings in a one-horse town to the moment David Frost called him up to be on telly – the show takes you through the trials and tribulations of this mans extraordinary life.
I loved the story of his mother. In a nutshell, she lived to be 101 years old – being born in 1900 and passing away in 2001, she experienced a centuries worth of tumultuous history – living through WW1, WW2 and the cold war – just to name a few major events.
However, according to Cleese, she never really noticed any of it due to her incessant fears, worries and phobias. Something he later turned around when he offered to hire a hitman to ‘take her out’ if it made her feel better. This made her laugh about her situation and from that moment onward they shared a special bond through his talent of ‘black comedy’.
The Effect on the Masses
What stood out for me during the performance was how all the thousands of people in the audience responded to some of the clips he was showing from his various shows. The crowd was applauding, giving standing ovations and laughing merrily.
“When you have the ability to laugh, you have the ability to heal.”
This brought me to think: How wonderful is laughter?! It can unite so many people under its umbrella. It can make us look at situations and find the humor, no matter how diverse in nature.
Laughter is the Best Damn Medicine
The human being has this wonderful gift – to laugh. And, more importantly, to laugh at ourselves. So many times, we take ourselves and situations too seriously. When you have the ability to laugh, you have the ability to heal.
Be lighthearted and find something to laugh about every day. You will reduce stress and you will be a fantastic person to be around.
Go on – have a laugh!
A Parting Word of Thanks (Just Don’t Mention the War!)
Thank you, John Cleese, and all the other comedians who pushed the boundaries and gave us all something to laugh about! The echoes of laughter will linger long after you have moved on.
You leave this planet a much more jolly place to be in. You all deserve medals for your contributions to pant-wetting.
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