“Austin’s a great city. It will be nice once it’s finished.”
Eric Idle and John Cleese are not for you if you can’t take a joke.
Dumb Americans, dumb film producers, Donald Trump, John Cleese’s ex-wife, and especially poor Michael Palin were all targets for the pair’s visit to Bass Concert Hall.
John Cleese Eric Idle Together Again At Last…For The Very First Time was a casual look back at the careers of 2 members of the most influential comedy troupe of all time (according to me and sensible people.) The show followed a timeline of the two careers and was interspersed with classic and obscure clips, light conversation in easy chairs, and live performances of music and sketch comedy.
Keep in mind everything was done by only the two men, both in their 70s.
Sometimes I get tired climbing the stairs. They did a 2+ hour show.
Anyway, to describe it in another way, it was a dream come true for me and all the other Monty Python nerds in the audience. And there were a lot of nerds.
The show started with a Idle/Cleese voice-over and a picture of the lovable Michael Palin. Idle matter-of-factly welcomed us to “An Evening Without Michael Palin”. The audience roared. I laughed enough for the people sitting next to me to realize that I was going to be the annoying guy who laughs a lot. But screw them, these are heroes.
When the two first walked on stage, there was an immediate change in energy and the crowd practically sprung to their feet and showered the men with thunderous applause and adoration. That’s the silly walker! That’s nudge-nudge guy! That’s Dirk McQuickly! That’s Basil Fawlty!
We had no choice but to unload our joy on them.
Ok and yes, their silly voice-over told us to stand and applaud.
Actually, made us feel guilty if we didn’t stand.
But we would have stood anyway.
I won’t spoil all of the moments, but I will say they read a rejected sketch of Eric’s (that John apparently hated) and it was hilarious. It involved urine.
Another personal highlight was hearing that they are like me and think “Fish Slapping Dance” is the funniest thing Python has ever done.
There was a surreal moment when John introduced a clip of one of his earliest television appearances. The lights dimmed and a young, dark haired John Cleese was projected onto the screen. The sketch was funny but all you could focus on was how gifted John Cleese was, even as a young man. I also found myself looking down at present day John Cleese who was looking up at young John Cleese. My brain saw the beauty of this singular moment. And I am not a brain specialist.
What do you think about when you’ve had a career that’s spanned six decades? That young John could never even dream of the success that he and his fellow Monty Python members would end up with.
It’s hard not to be a little sad at the end of a show like this. You realize how many laughs the two have given you in your lifetime. You attach a film or a sketch to a certain time period in your own life. And the end of the show had you feeling nostalgic. The last standing ovation was not requested by Eric. We wanted to. We had to.
And when eventually John and Eric pass on, the world will mourn and debate their finest comedy.
But I’ll just say good riddance to them, the freeloading bastards. I hope they fry.
And then I will cry a lot.