Now John Cleese Is Being a Dick to Michael Palin for No Reason

Cleese called his friend ‘boring’ during an interview
Now John Cleese Is Being a Dick to Michael Palin for No Reason

After publicly feuding with Eric Idle, at least John Cleese still seems to be fairly chummy with the other surviving members of Monty Python: Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin. The three comedians even gathered to celebrate Palin’s “181st Birthday” earlier this month, and met up yet again for the opening of Cleese’s new/very old Fawlty Towers play in London.

But soon after their reunion, Cleese was asked how Palin is doing during an interview with the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show, and he responded, “Michael is just the same, sweet, kind, slightly boring man.”

Of course, Cleese didn’t really need to add in the “slightly boring” part. He probably just realized that he was coming close to saying something sincere and kind, panicked, and threw in an awkward insult in order to make sure he didn’t lose his bitter grump cred. 

Not only was Cleese’s low-key dig unnecessary, but it was wildly off-base considering that Palin spending his golden years traveling the globe is arguably way less boring than, say, raging against imaginary controversies and starring in awkward comedy roasts. 

Palin was actually asked about Cleese’s comment during an appearance on ITV’s This Morning, and politely took issue with his friend’s characterization. “John is scintillating, we all know that. It’s in his passport,” Palin told the hosts. “I really enjoy playing boring characters, and I’ve done a few.”

As Palin correctly pointed out, while he played a number of seemingly “boring” characters on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, those roles are what made the more over-the-top characters so funny. “You go back to Python, and I always played the boring character, but John couldn’t have done (it) without me,” Palin claimed. “You had to have someone selling the parrot, or someone in the argument sketch to play off.” 

And try to imagine how insufferable the Dead Parrot Sketch would be with two actors screaming at the tops of their lungs.

Palin concluded: “So I think I’m going to continue to bask in John’s compliment that I’m boring. The more boring I can be, the better.” 

To be fair, although Palin occasionally played the straight man to Cleese, he also took on a number of delightfully colorful characters over the years — from Ken Shabby to the head of the Spanish Inquisition.

The spat with Idle may have been surprising, but Cleese and Palin have always had a playfully contentious relationship with one another. Like the time that Palin randomly slapped Cleese during an interview —

Or the other time that Palin randomly slapped Cleese during an interview, shortly before embarrassing him by praising his “performing balls” after Cleese tried to show off his juggling skills. 

None of which seems all that “boring” by the way.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this).


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