Having threatened to sue an Australian theatre company for a ‘shameless rip-off’ of his award-winning comedy show, John Cleese has been forced to take out a similar injunction against his own creative output over the last forty years. Likewise the entire Monty Python team have been accused of repeatedly plagiarizing the same hackneyed theme of a cross-dressing grumpy northerner ‘with a deceased pet’.
A lawyer acting for the writer said: ‘Mr. Cleese needs to protect the legacy of Mr. Cleese; which is why he has issued Mr. Cleese with a cease and desist notice. Mr. Cleese cannot expect to be subsidised by Mr. Cleese. One is a beloved comedy genius and the other is the star of a ‘Specsaver’s advert’.
Earlier this week Chancellor George Osborne announced further cuts to ‘Comedy benefit payments’; which has seen ex-members of Footlights avoiding gainful employment in order to stay on the welfare system – or ‘panel show circuit’ as it is known. One fan commented: ‘It’s a shame more comedians don’t die young – at least Connie Booth had the decency to quit the profession while she was ahead. Cleese should have gone out in a blaze of glory or in a pool of his own vomit – like Hendrix, Joplin or Jim Davidson.’
Ironically Cleese (in a 2015 interview) advised young artists to ‘steal’ from others but clearly he meant ‘steal from someone less litigious’. Having sullied the memory of ‘Fawlty Towers’, Cleese is also guilty of frequently imitating the same failed marriage; making many alimony payments but giving himself no royalties. As one critic said: ‘Having seen his last show, at least there’s nothing worth stealing.’