Cleese & Grail vs Gadsby & Nanette: Advantage Cleese

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Cleese & Grail vs Gadsby & Nanette: Advantage Cleese

A few days ago my son and I went to the Lynn Audi­to­rium for a screen­ing of the clas­sic movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail which was fol­lowed by a Q & A ses­sion with com­edy giant and found­ing mem­ber of Monty Python troupe, John Cleese.

Mass­a­chu­setts is a heav­ily blue state (Clin­ton by 28) and one of the most polit­i­cally cor­rect states in the nation so I was pleas­antly sur­prised that as the hall was fill­ing up that the var­i­ous Monty Python skits play­ing over the loud­speak­ers before the start of the movie were uncen­sored leav­ing every sin­gle lib­eral trig­ger­ing utter­ance intact. I was espe­cially sur­prised to hear the song “Never be rude to an Arab” played in its entirety. For those of you who aren’t famil­iar with it, it goes like this:

Never be rude to an Arab
An Isre­ali, or Saudi, or Jew
Never be rude to an Irish­man
No mat­ter what you do

Never poke fun at a Nig­ger
A Spic, or a Wop, or Kraut
And never poke fun at…
(at this point the singer explodes)

Watch­ing the movie was like being at a per­for­mance of the Rocky Hor­ror Pic­ture Show with audi­ence mem­bers join­ing in. It was a very dif­fer­ent dynamic see­ing the movie in a the­ater set­ting as I was too young to see it at the movies when it came out. The round of applause for the film at the end was loud but not as loud as the cheers and applause as Mr. Cleese took the stage.

After the movie Mr. Cleese took writ­ten ques­tions from the audi­ence and ques­tions from his daugh­ter tour­ing with him. One of the things he did near the end of his pre­sen­ta­tion was defend eth­nic humor which drew a round of applause from me and silence from the peo­ple around me. He then told jokes about the French, the Ital­ians and Jews and then stated he was about to tell a Mex­i­can joke not­ing that when he said that in Cal­i­for­nia you could hear a pin drop in the audi­ence which had no objec­tion to jokes con­cern­ing nation­al­i­ties con­sid­ered “Euro­pean” and said word to the effect Do we con­sider Mex­i­cans so weak and frag­ile that they can not take a joke , and pro­ceeded to tell his Mex­i­can joke, which got a pretty good laugh.

I couldn’t help but think of Mr Cleese when I saw this arti­cle at Stacy McCain’s site con­cern­ing a “Come­dian” named Han­nah Gadsby

In Han­nah Gadsby’s highly acclaimed com­edy spe­cial Nanette, she announces that she’s quit­ting com­edy. Jokes are too sim­plis­tic, she says: they con­vert her trauma into humor and obscure the ugly truth of her story. Com­edy, says Gadsby, has pre­vented her from evolv­ing.
Gadsby isn’t the only come­dian tak­ing at least an occa­sional break from humor.…
Hav­ing become polit­i­cal come­di­ans, they’re drop­ping the com­edy act and becom­ing straight­for­ward com­men­ta­tors. Why?
Accord­ing to Gadsby, com­edy is too sim­plis­tic a medium.

To say Gadsby’s show is “highly acclaimed” is to say lib­er­als like it.

Stacy rightly asks

Is this a com­edy rou­tine or a Gen­der Stud­ies lec­ture? To invite an audi­ence to your per­sonal pity party, cel­e­brat­ing your vic­tim­hood — your sta­tus as a mar­gin­al­ized per­son — is stu­pen­dously arrogant.

But Stephen Green at PJ media gets to the heart of the mat­ter in three sentences.

The short answer is: Killing your career is easy; com­edy is hard.

The slightly longer answer is that com­edy has been infested with left­ism, and mod­ern left­ism can­not brook dis­sent. And with­out dis­sent, there is no comedy.

Now full dis­clo­sure, I’ve never heard of Gadsby before today, I don’t know her humor and I’d not heard of her spe­cial Nanette until I read these pieces, but I can make two pre­dic­tions with full certainty.

Right now John Cleese is 78. He sold out the Audi­to­rium in Lynn, peo­ple were lined up to buy swag and oth­ers paid a pre­mium to meet him and get items signed. He will likely sell out any venue around the world that he chooses to do his com­edy for as long as he chooses to do it. Long after he and all the other pythons are dead and gone peo­ple will be recit­ing the Dead Par­rot Sketch, Mim­ic­k­ing his silly walk and laugh­ing at their com­edy and spend­ing their hard earned dol­lars, Pounds and Euro’s to buy them.

Hanna Gadsby grad­u­ated high school in 1995 I’ll guess she’s about 40 so there­fore in 40 years or so she will be as old as Mr. Cleese’s age today. I sin­cerely doubt that at 78 we will see her on tour sell­ing out show­ings of Nanette with ador­ing audi­ences tak­ing Q & A from her, lined up to buy swag or pay a pre­mium to meet her and get items signed. In fact I’d wager thirty years you’d be hard pressed to find peo­ple who know who she is.

A final thought, Cleese, one of the finest com­edy writ­ers and per­form­ers of the 20th cen­tury, noted how dif­fi­cult com­edy is in an era where Kim Kar­dashian is meet­ing with the pres­i­dent of the United States on prison reform, but as tak­ing down the self-​important was a trade­mark of the Pythons I’d wager he would be able to write a hilar­i­ous skit about the self-​absorbed Hanna Gadsby in his sleep with both hands broken.

Cue Terry Jones:

Cue Terry Jones

Update: The dif­fer­ence between Cleese and Trevor Noah? Cleese would have told his crit­ics to C* O and then fol­lowed with a cho­rus of the above men­tioned song. Plus nobody will remem­ber who Noah is in 30 years either


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A few days ago my son and I went to the Lynn Auditorium for a screening of the classic movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail which was followed by a Q & A session with comedy giant and founding member of Monty Python troupe, John Cleese.

Massachusetts is a heavily blue state (Clinton by 28) and one of the most politically correct states in the nation so I was pleasantly surprised that as the hall was filling up that the various Monty Python skits playing over the loudspeakers before the start of the movie were uncensored leaving every single liberal triggering utterance intact. I was especially surprised to hear the song “Never be rude to an Arab” played in its entirety. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it goes like this:

Never be rude to an Arab
An Isreali, or Saudi, or Jew
Never be rude to an Irishman
No matter what you do

Never poke fun at a Nigger
A Spic, or a Wop, or Kraut
And never poke fun at…
(at this point the singer explodes)

Watching the movie was like being at a performance of the Rocky Horror Picture Show with audience members joining in.  It was a very different dynamic seeing the movie in a theater setting as I was too young to see it at the movies when it came out.  The round of applause for the film at the end was loud but not as loud as the cheers and applause as Mr. Cleese took the stage.

After the movie Mr. Cleese took written questions from the audience and questions from his daughter touring with him.  One of the things he did near the end of his presentation was defend ethnic humor which drew a round of applause from me and silence from the people around me. He then told jokes about the French, the Italians and Jews and then stated he was about to tell a Mexican joke noting that when he said that in California you could hear a pin drop in the audience which had no objection to jokes concerning nationalities considered “European” and said word to the effect Do we consider Mexicans so weak and fragile that they can not take a joke , and proceeded to tell his Mexican joke, which got a pretty good laugh.

I couldn’t help but think of Mr Cleese when I saw this article at Stacy McCain’s site concerning a “Comedian” named Hannah Gadsby

In Hannah Gadsby’s highly acclaimed comedy special Nanette, she announces that she’s quitting comedy. Jokes are too simplistic, she says: they convert her trauma into humor and obscure the ugly truth of her story. Comedy, says Gadsby, has prevented her from evolving.
Gadsby isn’t the only comedian taking at least an occasional break from humor. . . .
Having become political comedians, they’re dropping the comedy act and becoming straightforward commentators. Why?
According to Gadsby, comedy is too simplistic a medium.

To say Gadsby’s show is “highly acclaimed” is to say liberals like it.

Stacy rightly asks

Is this a comedy routine or a Gender Studies lecture? To invite an audience to your personal pity party, celebrating your victimhood — your status as a marginalized person — is stupendously arrogant. 

But Stephen Green at PJ media gets to the heart of the matter in three sentences.

The short answer is: Killing your career is easy; comedy is hard.

The slightly longer answer is that comedy has been infested with leftism, and modern leftism cannot brook dissent. And without dissent, there is no comedy.

Now full disclosure, I’ve never heard of Gadsby before today, I don’t know her humor and I’d not heard of her special Nanette until I read these pieces, but I can make two predictions with full certainty.

Right now John Cleese is 78.  He sold out the Auditorium in Lynn, people were lined up to buy swag and others paid a premium to meet him and get items signed.  He will likely sell out any venue around the world that he chooses to do his comedy for as long as he chooses to do it.  Long after he and all the other pythons are dead and gone people will be reciting the Dead Parrot Sketch, Mimicking his silly walk and laughing at their comedy and spending their hard earned dollars, Pounds and Euro’s to buy them.

Hanna Gadsby graduated high school in 1995 I’ll guess she’s about 40 so therefore in 40 years or so she will be as old as Mr. Cleese’s age today.  I sincerely doubt that at 78 we will see her on tour selling out showings of Nanette with adoring audiences taking Q & A from her, lined up to buy swag or pay a premium to meet her and get items signed.  In fact I’d wager thirty years you’d be hard pressed to find people who know who she is.

A final thought, Cleese, one of the finest comedy writers and performers of the 20th century, noted how difficult comedy is in an era where Kim Kardashian is meeting with the president of the United States on prison reform, but as taking down the self-important was a trademark of the Pythons I’d wager he would be able to write a hilarious skit about the self-absorbed Hanna Gadsby in his sleep with both hands broken.

Cue Terry Jones:

Cue Terry Jones

Update: The difference between Cleese and Trevor Noah? Cleese would have told his critics to C* O and then followed with a chorus of the above mentioned song. Plus nobody will remember who Noah is in 30 years either


if you think this site in general and this project in particular is worth supporting please consider kicking in here:



Or even better subscribing.


Choose a Subscription level


Or buying my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer

Either way it’s most appreciated.