Monty Python star John Cleese says that, contrary to reports, he won’t cut a scene out of the stage version of “Life of Brian” that woke critics frowned upon.
“A few days ago I spoke to an audience outside London,” Cleese wrote on Twitter. “I told them I was adapting the Life of Brian so that we could do it as a stage show (NOT a musical). I said that we’d had a table-reading of the latest draft in NYC a year ago and that all the actors – several of them Tony winners – had advised me strongly to cut the Loretta scene. I have, of course, no intention of doing so.”
A recent example of this misreporting !
A few days ago I spoke to an audience outside London.
I told them I was adapting the Life of Brian so that we could do it as a stage show ( NOT a musical ). I said
that we'd had a table-reading of the latest draft in NYC a year ago…(tbc) https://t.co/VPWJGdUZtJ
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) May 25, 2023
..and that all the actors – several of them Tony winners – had advised me strongly to cut the Loretta scene.
I have, of course, no intention of doing so
So someone in the audience had called a journalist and misreported me. Amazingly none of the British media called to check
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) May 25, 2023
According to the erroneous reports, Cleese was set to cut a scene from his stage revival of the irreverent comedy during which “Stan” declares he wants to be a woman named “Loretta” and have babies.
“According to Cleese, the ‘Loretta’ scene, in which a male member of the People’s Front of Judea demands his right to have babies, raised eyebrows at a read-through in New York last year,” Spiked reported last Wednesday. “‘We love the script, but you can’t do that stuff about Loretta nowadays,’ the Americans told Cleese.”
“That was what was so surprising,” Cleese wrote in response. “These were absolutely top-class Broadway performers and they were adamant that we would not get away with doing the scene in NYC!”
“I asked them ‘Are Python fans not going to come because we’re doing a scene they’ve been laughing at for 40 years?'” he wrote.
“Producers tend to be scaredy-cats, and they don’t remember that the protests in NYC when ‘Brian’ was released meant we never needed to do publicity!!” Cleese added.
The scene is a brilliant bit of surreal comedy in which Stan declares “it’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.”
In the scene, Stan and three others do a rat-a-tat-tat exchange that made Monty Python famous. For the record, Cleese plays Reg, Michael Palin is Francis, Sue Jones-Davies plays Judith, and Eric Idle plays Stan. Just enjoy the timing:
Francis: Why you always on about women, Stan?
Stan: I want to be one.
Stan: I want to be a woman. From now on, I want you all to call me Loretta.
Stan: It’s my right as a man.
Judith: Why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?
Stan: I want to have babies.
Reg: You want to have babies?!
Stan: It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.
Reg: But you can’t have babies!
Stan: Don’t you oppress me.
Reg: I’m not oppressing you, Stan. You haven’t got a womb. Where’s the fetus going to gestate? You gonna keep it in a box?
Judith: Here, I’ve got an idea. Suppose you agree that he can’t actually have babies not having a womb, which is nobody’s fault, not even the Romans, but that he can have the right to have babies.
Francis: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother — sister. Sorry.
Reg: What’s the point? What’s the point of fighting his right to have babies when he can’t have babies?
Francis: It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression.
Reg: Symbolic of his struggle against reality.
Cleese has grumbled before about the plight of the modern comedian. When asked in July of 2022 if they still have the unfettered freedom to be funny, he said, “No. I think it’s particularly worrying at the moment because you can only create in an atmosphere of freedom where you’re not checking everything you say critically before you move on.”
“A lot of comedians now are sitting there and when they think of something, they say something like, ‘Can I get away with it? I don’t think so. So and so got into trouble, and he said that, oh, she said that.’ You see what I mean? And that’s the death of creativity,” Cleese said.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.