Cleese answers questions after ‘Monty Python’ showing in McCain

John Cleese at McCain Auditorium in Manhattan, Kansas. Oct. 5, 2017. (Photo by Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State welcomed John Cleese, British actor and co-founder of the Monty Python comedy group, to McCain Auditorium on Thursday night as part of his latest tour across America. The production began with a screening of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” followed by commentary from Cleese and a question and answer segment.

After the showing of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” Cleese came on stage and critiqued his work.

“I think the first 15 minutes are really good,” Cleese said. “The ending is so drawn out.”

Cleese then showed a sarcastic re-edit of the film’s climax because the theatrical ending is “so f***ing boring” and “it’s clearly s***.”

Cleese finished his self-critique and responded to questions and prompts from audience members. During the question and answer segment, he mimicked various animals and ridiculed an article about a dead animal printed in the Manhattan Mercury on Thursday.

When asked if there is anything that should not be joked about, Cleese said the President of the United States should not be laughed at. Cleese then made several jokes about President Donald Trump.

“The traits of comedy include verbal wit, absurd situations with a surreal bent, violent physicality, alternation between subtle and broad comedy and the subversion of dominant powers,” Shannon Skelton, assistant professor of music, said.

Cleese has toured in the past to repay various personal financial debts. Two of the tours were “alimony tours” to pay his nearly 20 million U.S. dollars of alimony to his ex-wife, Skelton said.

Cleese also told the audience that it is important to laugh and have a sense of humor.

“If you can laugh, it’s much easier to get through,” Cleese said.

Many students said they came just for the opportunity to see Cleese in person.

“I came because I’ve always been a fan of Monty Python since I was a child,” Lorna Hurt, freshman in secondary education, said. “I liked the edit of the end of the movie.”

According to the official Monty Python website, K-State was the 13th stop on Cleese’s tour out of 31 total shows. Cleese’s next destination is the Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis.