Hey, Monty Python fans! Here’s a column for folks over 30 years old. John Cleese and Eric Idle were in Glendale recently for one of those awesome LA Talks events and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try and obtain a signature or two from these legendary comedic performers. For anyone who doesn’t know what a Walkman or rotary phone is, Monty Python is one of the most prolific sketch groups in entertainment history. Started in the late 60s, this group’s influence can still be seen in sketch comedy to this day. The term “Pythonesque” is derived from their brand of dry British humor. Dudes love these guys and I’m one of them.
I knew I was going to miss these guys on the way in due to LA traffic, so I was able to arrive at my leisure with still enough time to grab one of the last parking spots in Glendale. Now these dudes have been in a ton of movies over the years, whether it was in their own Monty Python movies or numerous American comedies. John Cleese is probably best known as Jamie Lee Curtis’ love interest in 1988’s hilarious A Fish Called Wanda, and Idle is popular among my peers as an ill-fated bike rider to Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s European Vacation. He’s also done a ton of voice acting work, and now that I think aboot it, I should’ve brought my Simpsons poster. Damn! Stupid hindsight. Damn, I wish I remembered that sooner! I arrived at the theater just after 8pm and there was nary a soul in sight except for some workers setting up and breaking down various tables. I was a little surprised to see that I was the only “grapher” around. I circled the block and on the start of my second lap I discovered the beloved Mike the Fanboy walking across the street. Cool. This stupid hobby is so much better with good company.
I honestly wasn’t feeling it at first this week in regards to going out. It feels like I’ve been out quite a bit the last few weeks. There have been a ton of appearances and signings lately and I’ve been lucky to attend a nice portion. In fact, I still have to write aboot meeting Willem Dafoe just a couple of days before this event. We spoiled out here sometimes! Anyhoo, all I brought with me was my Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life DVD. I had a couple of blanks too, just in case. Not to be outdone, Mike the Fanboy brought along another one of his classic VHS displays. (Kids, VHS is 80s for Blu-ray.) This was a nice display featuring the aforementioned European Vacation. He also had another item that I can’t remember because it was at least 24 hours ago from the time I’m writing this. I’ll read his column and see what it was. (You should too!) We decided to wait in the back since that was where the cars with the tinted windows were. Seemed like a good enough bet and it’s paid off before. Now would come the waiting game. We both thought the show started a half hour before it actually did so that meant we had a little longer of a wait than we planned for. No biggie. If there’s anything I’m good at, it’s wasting time. (Ask my honey.) For a while it was just the two of us before some older British dude with a very soothing and golden British voice showed up. After that DVD Dave would make his appearance. He reported that Idle signed up a storm when he arrived and Cleese, although arriving late, didn’t even look at the fans. How noble.
For the longest time it was just six of us waiting in a nice quiet calm. We were starting to get ancy. The kind of ancy I see women get when I walk in their direction at a bar. It was nearing what we thought was the end of the evening. A few more folks lined up next to us. Still manageable, we thought. When the talk did finally end our peaceful lil’ line quadrupled in just a few short minutes. All these folks came out of the back entrance where the talent goes in and out of and that kind of threw us off. This didn’t bode well for us. A short time later none other than the great Tim Curry passed us by. I almost didn’t recognize him, as I learned he suffered a stroke a couple of years ago. It was still nice to see him though. He was going inside to mingle with the Pythons for a bit, which meant we were gonna be out there a little bit longer.
A few more looky-loos joined the line and once Mr. Curry left we knew it would finally be near go-time. Eric Idle was the first one out and almost seemed like he was caught off guard. A couple folks asked if he’d sign and he sounded a little hesitant at first as he saw the long line, but quickly relented and came on over. What a dude! He signed anything and everything anyone had and went all the way down the line.
He was very pleasant and generous and calmly moved down the line in just a few short minutes. Unbelievable. Countless celebrities have bristled at doing such a thing, but when the line is orderly, and an actual line, things can work out very smoothly. This was one of those rare instances. I got my DVD slip signed and also a blank. I’ll think of a picture to print over it later. It was a quite a cool experience. We said our “Thank you’s”, and off he went.
Not long after Cleese’s driver started the car and started maneuvering it closer a whole eight feet closer to the building. The writing was on the wall for that one. Cleese walked out and when called he hesitated to even wave his hand at us while not even looking in out direction. That was kind of a bummer, but I wasn’t surprised. The previous encounter was just too cool to top so it could only go down from there. It did. At least I couldn’t complain. I got a couple of nice signatures, had some laughs with DVD Dave and Mike the Fanboy and headed home with just a flesh wound on my heart. Things could always be worse. Good luck out there and always say “Please” & “Thank you”. It goes a long way.
Share on Facebook