The Fawlty Towers star rails against the government, the BBC and British newspapers in an platform appearance for Hacked Off
It was hard to know what to expect of a solo show by John Cleese, organised by the campaign group. On 29 June, the comedian tweeted that it would be a “speech” but, by 5 July, he was calling it a “new one-hour comedy show”.
Cleese has experimented with standup as crowd-funding before. The audience helped to pay for his third divorce. The £30 ticket for this event (including an entry in a draw for a dinner with Cleese) was bankrolling Hacked Off’s campaign to seek judicial review of the government’s decision to leave the planned second phase of the Leveson probe into journalistic ethics, which would investigate the relationship between the press and police.
On Sunday at 7.30pm, there were 250 people in the at London’s Royal Geographic Society, which seems popular with former members of Monty Python: Michael Palin has been the society’s president for three years.
Above the stage hung a vast black and white photograph of Cleese looking gloomy, next to the words, “Why There Is No Hope”. It soon became clear that anyone drawn in by the love of would get only the intemperate manner, as Cleese read a 45-minute lecture from a large Autocue screen about how culture has been engulfed by stupidity.