John Cleese: I watch very little comedy

John Cleese watches "very little comedy".

The 84-year-old star has revived his iconic sitcom 'Fawlty Towers' for a new stage play in London but has lamented the lack of rib-tickling shows that are available for modern audiences.

Speaking to BANG Showbiz and other media at the press launch for 'Fawlty Towers The Play' on Thursday (02.05.24), John said: "I'm watching very little comedy now.

"I was reading something that was written about a month ago when somebody was working out the number of really funny comedies that were on our screens in 1991.

"There was an extraordinary number, there was something like 30 really funny comedies.

"Now, I don't know if people could name more than one or two comedies now."

Cleese has changed very little content from the 1970s TV show in the play – which is based on three classic episodes of the famous hotel comedy – and says that "literal-minded people" are to blame for the spate of old programmes being hit with trigger warnings.

The 'Monty Python' comic said: "Whenever you're doing comedy you're up against the literal-minded, and the literal-minded don't understand irony. That means if you take them seriously, you get rid of a lot of comedy.

"The literal-minded don't understand metaphor and don't understand irony and they don't understand comic exaggeration. The result is if you listen to them, people who are not understanding of what other human beings are saying and doing, they're not playing with a full deck.

"Literal-minded people can only have one interpretation of what's being said and that's the literal-minded one. People who are not literal-minded can see that there are different interpretations depending on different context."