Michael Palin says John Cleese “couldn’t have done without” him in ongoing ‘Monty Python’ feud


Michael Palin has fired back after being called “slightly boring” by John Cleese, claiming that his Monty Python colleague “couldn’t have done without him”.

Cleese had made the comment during Zoe Ball’s BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show earlier this month, when he spoke about joining Palin for his 81st birthday.

When Ball asked him how Palin is, Cleese joked: “Michael is just the same, sweet, kind, slightly boring man.”

And now Palin has sent back his own barb during an appearance on ITV’s This Morning. “John is scintillating, we all know that. It’s in his passport,” he said.

Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, John Cleese, Eric Idle, John Oliver, and Terry Jones in 2015. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival)

“I really enjoy playing boring characters, and I’ve done a few, including the most boring man in Yorkshire, Eric Olthwaite [from Palin’s comedy series Ripping Yarns].

“But you know, you just talk about rainfall all the time, and shovels. And putting a shovel next to the other one. It really irritates people who think they’re interesting.

“You go back to Python, and I always played the boring character, but John couldn’t have done without me,” he continued. “You had to have someone selling the parrot, or someone in the argument sketch to play off. 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.”

Monty Python, made up of Cleese, Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam, made their debut on television with the BBC sketch series Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which ran from 1969 to 1974. They later turned their attention to the big screen, making Monty Python and the Holy Grail in 1975, Monty Python’s Life of Brian in 1979, and Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life in 1983.

Last month, Palin revealed how often the Python members argued during their time together, even saying that Terry Jones once threw a typewriter at Cleese during a heated row.

“Since Python split up, and even in our time together, we have all had huge arguments,” he said.

The troupe split up in 1999 before briefly reuniting in 2014 for the variety show Monty Python Live (Mostly).  However, a row between Idle and Cleese and Gilliam over the way the group’s finances have been handled emerged earlier this year.

Palin, who has become known for his various travel programmes, said he wasn’t surprised to see the remaining group members fight over finances.

“What’s happening with Python now doesn’t surprise me greatly. It’s just a pity it’s not to do with comedy any more. It’s to do with people’s lifestyles,” he said.

Cleese, meanwhile, said last month that he is “surprisingly poor” despite his long and successful career, blaming his $20million divorce for making him have to work into his eighties.

Among his recent projects are stage adaptations of both Life Of Brian and Fawlty Towers. He is also working on a musical version of A Fish Called Wanda, and recently hosted a programme on GB News called The Dinosaur Hour.


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