John Cleese Wants Australia to Roast Him, Then Listen to Him Talk About Heaven
John Cleese has shaped a leg of his upcoming Australian tour around the idea that, “If people feel that something goes on after death, it makes life itself more meaningful.” We could have sworn he already covered the whole “meaning of life” thing in a certain Monty Python movie.
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The 83-year-old comedy icon’s down under tour show, named “An Evening With The Late John Cleese,” is an eclectic event that will take his upcoming Aussie audiences through his entire famed filmography, from his early work in Monty Python to his recent forays complaining about being canceled on Twitter. Cleese will share clips and stories from his six decades at the top of British comedy beginning with a show in Launceston, Tasmania on July 24.
Also on the schedule for his upcoming Australia tour is an on-air roast of Cleese to be shot in Melbourne, as well as some vague, undefined opportunities for Cleese to espouse his belief in the afterlife and wax philosophical about his own mortality. Apparently, no one told him that he could just, like, retire — Eric Idle already secured the Monty Python pension fund with Spamalot.
“An Evening With The Late John Cleese” will reportedly cover such comedic topics as “his experiences in the afterlife and what the audience can expect when they get there.” As an octogenarian with an all-time great career in his rearview, it seems strange that Cleese would have to hop on a 22-hour flight to the other side of the planet just to perform eight shows about death, but, somehow, it won’t be the first time Cleese flew to Australia to talk heaven.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald in 2020, Cleese revealed his research on near-death experiences, speculating on the existence of something approaching a “soul” by saying, “"Once you start reading about that, you begin to realize it may be that consciousness is not produced by the brain. … I've seen enough evidence that something goes on, certainly for some people, after they die.”
At the time, Cleese had hoped that his mortality obsession could eventually turn into a larger project, saying, “I would like to do a TV series, trying to get people to open up to the idea of a life after death,” clarifying that the show would have “nothing to do with religion at all, purely to do with science. Because I think if people feel that something goes on after death, it makes life itself more meaningful."
Now, Cleese is ready to explore his fascination with death through stage shows in the country where every frog, flower and dinner plate-sized spider ensures that the reaper is never far. Obviously, Cleese still has something he feels needs saying if he’s willing to cross the globe just to get insulted on live TV and talk about death to strangers, but this down under adventure seems like a strange career turn for a comedian who has had nothing but strange career turns in the last few years — from launching a show on U.K. Fox News to rebooting Fawlty Towers with his kid to the Australian afterlife extravaganza, Cleese’s career arc in recent years has felt like one of those old Monty Python sketches that went on way too long.
We understand it's not an easy thing to confront, but at some point careers are meant to die and live on in people's memories.