Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

IT'S BETTER ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE; Winter in England? John Cleese Would Rather Tour Florida with Fellow Monty Python Comic Eric Idle

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

IT'S BETTER ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE; Winter in England? John Cleese Would Rather Tour Florida with Fellow Monty Python Comic Eric Idle

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Szaroleta

Faced with the prospect of spending the coldest part of the year in his native England, John Cleese did the smart thing - he booked a tour in Florida.

"There is simply no point in being in England in the winter," Cleese said last week from a limo on the way to a date in Fort Pierce. "It's a form of suicide."

Cleese has teamed up with old friend and former Monty Python sidekick Eric Idle for a tour of the Southeast. Their Together Again At Last for the Very First Time Tour stops at the Florida Theatre on Sunday.

Fans can expect a little bit of everything, Cleese said. For the first hour or so of the show, he and Idle will tell some jokes, do a few pre-Python sketches, show a few Python shorts, talk about their old mates and sing a song or two.

Cleese will then take the stage for 20 minutes or so of jokes and stories, then turn things over to Idle, who will do 20 minutes of songs and stories. Then they'll open things up for a question-and-answer period with the audience (and he'd really appreciate it if you didn't ask softball "What's your favorite sketch?" sorts of questions).

"It's a very loose format," Cleese said. "We make a virtue of the fact that it's different every night."

He and Idle try to crack each other up on stage every night. That's no easy feat, Cleese said, considering that they've been friends for 52 years. Even so, there are surprises nearly every night.

"Sometimes Eric tells me things I didn't know."

Mixing it up like that keeps the shows fun for the performers, Cleese said. It's fun making people laugh, but not all that much fun doing it the same way night after night. "It keeps it interesting from our point of view."

Pretty much any topic is open for discussion, particularly during the Q&A session. Cleese said he had just had lunch with his old friend, humorist Dave Barry, and Barry told him that he and Idle were sort of lucky in that they didn't have to worry about being politically correct. …

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