Andrew Dipper

John Cleese: Modern TV comedy doesn’t excite me

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John Cleese has bemoaned the lack of originality in modern TV comedy and says recent output pales into insignificance compared with the comedy greats.

Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the Monty Python star said the amount of “brilliant new stuff” today is “small” and he has seen most of it before.

He added: “When you’ve been doing comedy for as long as me, you really know most of the jokes.

“You don’t expect anything great – you turn on, you watch it for a few minutes and you think, ‘It’s fine, I’ve seen something like this before and it doesn’t excite me.”

But Cleese, who recently said he was also unexcited by the Python live reunion, did single out Eddie Izzard, Bill Bailey and the late Bill Hicks for praise.

“This lights you up because these guys have done something new and brilliant and that’s marvellous.”

Cleese was promoting his new memoir, So, Anyway.