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Watch > Episode > John Cleese - Creativity: How Modern Culture Has Stifled Comedy & Shifted What Is "Funny"

John Cleese - Creativity: How Modern Culture Has Stifled Comedy & Shifted What Is "Funny"


Legendary British Actor, Comedian and Producer

First Broadcast: October 6, 2020

John Cleese is an iconic British comedian, actor, screenwriter, author, and founding member of Monty Python and now he returns with his new book ‘Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide’, which explores the skill of imaginative thinking and explains how we can all develop our creative unconscious.

John’s early success came from Monty Python’s movies such as ‘Life Of Brian’, and ‘The Meaning Of Life’, and ‘Monty Python and The Holy Grail’. He also starred as a host of characters in Monty Python’s Flying Circus; a sketch show which went on to tour across the world with some of John’s stand-out characters featured in ‘Argument Clinic’, ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’, and ‘Dead Parrot sketch’.

One of John’s stand-out pieces of work was ‘A Fish Called Wanda‘, a comedy heist film which John won a BAFTA for in the category of Best Actor in a Leading Role in 1988.

Following the success with his university classmates, John went on to create one of the most iconic characters in British comedy in Basil Fawlty from ‘Fawlty Towers’, for which he won the 1980 BAFTA for Best Entertainment Performance.

With a television career spanning six decades, John has had his fair share of run-ins with censorship and cancel culture to a point where the BBC recently removed his Fawlty Towers episode titled ‘The Germans‘, originally aired back in 1975, because it contained a so-called racial slur.

Another incident included Monty Python’s ‘Life Of Brian’ being banned from cinemas in the UK in 1979 because of its blasphemy where a passionate debate unfolded with the Bishop of Southwark on BBC’s ‘Friday Night, Saturday Morning’.

John is an advocate for writing jokes about anything, but believes it is becoming much harder to be creative with political correctness – a subject he believes has gone too far to where any form of criticism of an individual or group is labeled as cruel.

Enjoy this classic episode in which John Cleese discusses topics including his new book, Monty Python, writing comedy, censorship and cancel culture.

Download clips

A number of clips from this groundbreaking interview are now available to download, share and repost. Spread the word and defend our human rights: grab these clips today!

  1. Censorship in social media
  2. Criticising the press
  3. Censoring history
  4. Comedy has to offend some people
  5. Comedy can say things that other people can’t say
  6. Getting the funding for movies
  7. BBC, fear-based decisions in film making
  8. The book ‘Creativity’
  9. Logical thinking kills creativity
  10. Career highlights
  11. Writing and performing
  12. What’s next for John Cleese?
  13. Meaning of life, consciousness and the afterlife


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