And now for something completely different...
John Cleese leads a fun-filled fall lineup at area theaters
November may bring warm thoughts of Thanksgiving and the holiday season, but this year it will also bring belly-shaking laughter to those lucky enough to spend the night of Saturday, Nov. 14, at Glendale’s historic Alex Theatre.
That night will mark a very rare live appearance by a master of comedy, the legendary John Cleese of Monty Python and “Fawlty Towers” fame, as he presents his latest (and perhaps last ever) work, “A Final Wave at the World (or, the Alimony Tour, Year One)” at the historic vaudeville palace for one night only. If you live in the San Gabriel Valley and are a fan of smart modern comedy, this is the fall season’s prime event.
According to the Alex Theatre’s Web site:
“Professor, Doctor, Doctor Cleese will be discussing his career in the zany and hilarious world of comedy, as well as his most pressing medical problems, his inability to find a suitable female companion, his mistrust of folk-dancing and his latest plan for world peace.”
But what’s it actually about? In keeping with Cleese’s highly private personal life, no one — not even the Alex’s PR maven, Elissa Glickman — seems to know.
“He’s keeping it completely under wraps, but he is taking it to Long Beach and Thousand Oaks as well, so this is a project he’s actually touring with,” says Glickman. “His management contacted us and asked if we’d be willing to have him, and of course the answer was yes. The Alex Theatre has a long history with great comedy, ranging from vaudeville to a special show with Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters, so it’s going to be a perfect matchup for classic comedy.”
Cleese has been finding perfect matches for his talents for over four decades, having co-created “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” back in 1969.
The troupe went on to success in film with “Monty Python and The Holy Grail,” “Life of Brian” and “The Meaning of Life” before going their respective ways in the mid-’80s.
Cleese became the biggest star of them all in his solo years, earning an Oscar nomination for his screenplay of 1988’s hit comedy “A Fish Called Wanda” and in dozens of films, including two turns as the weapons expert Q in the James Bond films “The World is Not Enough” and “Die Another Day.”
Yet, despite these works and his hand in creating what many critics consider the funniest sitcom of all time, the mid-’70s show “Fawlty Towers,” Cleese has largely retreated from major productions in the 2000s in favor of performing solo shows, doing voices for video games and retiring to his private estate in Montecito.
So grab him while you can, comedy lovers. Granted, his three divorces should guarantee this alimony tour will be a long one, but this is a rare treat.
John Cleese appears at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Tickets are $31 to $59. Call (818) 243-ALEX or visit alextheatre.org.