It is said that most comics are angry, frustrated, neurotic or bitter people. As a part-time comedian I don’t hold with that particular view myself; regardless of what Long Suffering Wife says.
But one of my favourite comedians, John Cleese, really is as miffed as Basil Fawlty in mid-tantrum because he’s just discovered that an Aussie theatre restaurant has been dining out for free on the Fawlty Towers name.
Sadly, instead of being flattered by this tribute, JC is fuming because he isn’t getting a cut of the profits from the shows.
Now, it’s no secret that Cleesey is under severe financial pressure, because he collects ex-wives the way some of us collect empty beer cans, so it’s a fair bet that he and the theatre company will lob into court, where the only people sniggering will be the lawyers.
Now, I’m not saying it’s right, but nearly every humourist ‘borrows’ material, either from other comedians, or stuff they hear from folk around them. I do it all the time, which is possibly why everyone clams up when I whip out my notebook.
Even Johns’ early work was inspired by the radio rantings of the Goon Show, written by comic genius/maniac Spike Milligan; boy, there was an angry and bitter man, who just happened to be extremely hilarious… or slightly unhinged.
Anyway, I’m hoping Mr. Cleese will spend a little time watching reruns of his old shows and movies, because he obviously needs cheering up.
And once he’s calmed down, perhaps he might think about doing some guest appearances with the theatre mob and get paid for them. That way everyone wins; John, his ex-wives, his current wife, the theatre company and his remaining fans.
Even better, the lawyers will miss out, and that should make all of us smile!