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Posts Tagged ‘John Cleese’

John Cleese is No Fan of Rupert Murdoch

JohnCleeseLiveTalksLAThis penultimate portion of Live Talks LA’s fifth season sold out quickly a month beforehand. A total of 900 copies of John Cleese‘s autobiography were purchased in conjunction with the November 18 Alex Theatre sit-down. And per the full video of the conversation now posted, nearly an equal amount of scintillating anecdotes were shared.

Event series founder-producer Ted Habte-Gabr has matched up a lot of great authors and interviewers over the years, but the pairing of Cleese with Monty Python pal Eric Idle ranks right at the top. Probably the funniest single stretch is when Cleese and Idle recalled touring New Zealand during their earliest days (“We left England in July 1964 and we arrived in Auckland in…” Cleese began, “…in July 1864,” Idle added.)

There were also during the discussion a couple of notable mentions of Rupert Murdoch. At one point, Idle and Cleese talked about having recently read Nick Davies‘ acclaimed book Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch:

Idle: “It’s a very interesting book of how, we won’t mention his name – Rupert Murdoch! – took over England, really, and was responsible for electing Thatcher, Blair, Major and Brown. That power is really extraordinary.”

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Bill Hader Bows to John Cleese

For the first time since Eddie Murphy in 1983, a Saturday Night Live performer has been nominated at the Primetime Emmys in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Before Bill Hader finds out if he’ll take home the prize, he chatted with Elvis Mitchell for today’s episode of TheTreatment on KCRW.

There’s lots of good stuff about the mysteries of why some SNL skits work and other celebrity hosts don’t, even when they’re killing it in studio. Hader also talks about his admiration for comedians who remained calm amidst the craziness, like Harvey Korman, Gene Wilder and SCTV’s Rick Moranis. In that same vein, he also isolated a formative childhood viewing experience:

“Watching Monty Python and the movie And Now For Something Completely Different in the sketch where John Cleese is the guy teaching people how to defend themselves if anyone attacks with fresh fruit. And the way he plays that is as a real insane person. He doesn’t play it funny, at all. There’s a moment where everyone is listing off – ‘You’ve already told us how to defend us against cherries…’ – but it’s so funny, there’s just a shot of him listening to them and he’s playing it as a psychopath. And that, at a young age, I realized, ‘Oh, that’s what makes it so much funnier.’”

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Russ Stanton’s Keynote Speech at OC Press Club Gala

russstantonmug.jpg LAT editor Russ Stanton, who kind of resembles John Cleese (serious, click here) was asked by the OC Press Club in March to be the keynote speaker at this year’s gala. “It feels like 4 years ago since then.” Said Stanton to the sold out crowd of 80 or so industry professionals. Indeed, in the wake of letting go of 150 staffers he showed up to a press club event. You’d think it’d be awkward. You’d think he’d grovel just a bit. We’d hoped he denounce Sam Zell and shake his fists. Yeah, we were really hoping for some type of fist shaking (“Damn you dessert spoon!”).

Anyway, Stanton was very matter-of-fact about the state of newspapers and the shrinking of his staff. “We have more readers today than in any other time in history.” He stated. “We aren’t sure how to get people to pay for it but there’s clearly a demand for it.”

He said that in spite of all that has happened he is optimistic about working with a new publisher. He didn’t grumble about Zell as we had hoped. “New people who try and fix it all the time are all insiders. Sam can help us see things about our business that we haven’t been able to before.”

Stanton mentioned that one of the top 100 blogs in the world is a blog. Top of the Ticket he said, is written by two of the oldest staffers at the Times, Don Frederick and Andrew Malcolm. And that the Times has had 3 different batches of blogs. Some of them worked and others didn’t and they are open to change them up again. He also mentioned that he admired some of the ‘under 30 staffers’ they have because they are media savvy. “You guys use media all the time. We didn’t have that kind of exposure growing up.”

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