Me and Mr. Cleese.
We got a thing going on.
We both know that it's wrong
But it's much to strong
To let it go.
Actually I'm the one that has the hot Jones for Mr. John Marwood Cleese. I'm sure he'd be squicked out to know that my 61 year old ass was still crushing on him, but I am. And I will. I've told my children that he should have been their real father, and they were both grossed out by my frank admission of thwarted carnal love, and said 'Too much information, ew."
I bought a buddleia because it was named 'The Black Knight'. Fine, it's also beautiful, but if it had been named 'Really Dark Purple' or something else, I would have walked by. The 'Holy Grail' reference was the kicker for me.
I've seen John Cleese perform live. One man show. I still have the ticket stub.
He is glorious.
And yesterday out of nowhere, the Biker presented me with a t-shirt with a picture on it of the Black Knight himself, bleeding all over hell, proclaiming 'Tis but a scratch!' and I slept in it. I am wearing it now. It smells. I should wash it. I should change shirts. I won't, though.
I've had this crush going since 1973, when PBS began broadcasting 'Monty Pythons' Flying Circus.' At first, I was all about Eric Idle, but Johnny...was it the tar-black vitriol, the mania, or the genius? I submit that it was all three, plus I am a sucker for a cute, balding, long, tall drink of water with a British accent. The fact that he'll get naked without a second thought is just...well, nowadays it'd be icky, but back then, I was just all like daaaaaaaaaamn, six foot four and a half, and worth the climb! Yeah baby, yeah!
It hasn't been a smooth ride. I've been mad as hell at him on and off for years. He'll say something or do something so shitty that I'll just go on a Cleese strike. Fuck'im. But I always come crawling back. I even watched a children's animated movie recently because he did the voice of an evil walrus in it.
The thing I like about the Black Knight is the fucker has no quit in him. Not an ounce. Cut off all his limbs, he'll gnaw on your ankles. And that's a lot like me. I'm absolutely indifferent to the futility of my situation, but I have no quit in me, and I will gnaw on your ankles. So I will wear this shirt until it rots off me, just like I wore my John Cleese concert t-shirt until it rotted off me.
That's not an overstatement. I was forbidden to wear that shirt off the property. I did anyway. My psychiatrist remembers watching it age over the years. I finally had to consign it to the flames, because there was more hole than shirt. I could not just throw it away, no. NO no no. I gave it a Viking funeral. (Well, a Sumas funeral, burned in a tractor wheel covered in waste paper with some gasoline to get things whuppin'.)
I don't know how he's thought about in in the UK, particularly since he defected to our side of the pond. What I know is that in 1973, all we here in America had to hang onto in the way of smart, funny comedy was the Flip Wilson Show. One show. One.
...until the public access station started playing Doctor in the House and Monty Python's Flying Circus. And you had to stay up until 10:00 on a Thursday, I think it was, to catch them.
My mother adored Doctor in the House. I have her to thank for turning me on to British Comedy, in fact! She had a crush on the character Michael Upton. I liked the Eric Idle character, the ridiculously wealthy 'who gives a fuck' professional student. And the Monty Python show came on right after Doctor In The House. That came right at moms' bedtime. It was a long while before she ever saw 'The Queen Victoria Races' or The Battle of Pearl Harbor by the Batley Townswomen's Guild.'
I owe a good part of my sanity to John Cleese. Remember that 'funny' and 'smart' were for the most part mutually exclusive terms on this side of the Atlantic back in 1973. We had shit like 'Green Acres' and 'My Mother The Car' and 'Gilligans Island' over here. Y'all had The Goon Show, The Two Ronnies and Marty Feldman.
And Python. Let's all sing:
Who was very rarely stable
Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
Who could think you under the table
Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
Who was just as sloshed as Schlegel
'Bout the raising of the wrist
Socrates, himself, was permanently pissed
On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill
Plato, they say, could stick it away
Half a crate of whiskey every day
Hobbes was fond of his dram
And René Descartes was a drunken fart
"I drink, therefore I am"
A lovely little thinker
But a bugger when he's pissed!