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From Monty Python to Santa Barbara, John Cleese is set to be 'silly' again on stage

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Roy Thompson Hall
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John Cleese is performing in Santa Barbara on Wednesday

John Cleese is keeping it in the family for his live show on the South Coast as he's joined by his stand-up comedian daughter Camilla.

He’s a comedy legend, who has been making us laugh for fifty years - as the co-founder of Monty Python, the ill-tempered hotelier Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers, to his Oscar-nomination for A Fish Called Wanda. And he's also reaching new audiences as Nearly Headless Nick in two Harry Potter movies.

John Cleese, 82, is live on stage on Wednesday in Santa Barbara, in a show that features not one, but two of the Cleese clan.

His daughter Camilla is a stand-up comic and she's opening the show.

"Camilla warms the audience up, which she did two nights ago in Seattle and she got the most enormous laughs," John Cleese told KCLU.

"Then I come on and do about 40 minutes and then she takes over and we have a Q&A and people can ask anything they like provided it's rude," said John.

"People in California tend to say, 'Mr. Cleese you're so wonderful,' and all we want is rude questions, like, 'Why can't you stay married?'" joked the British star, who has been married four times.

They’re quite the double act, and Camilla said nothing is off-limits in the Q&A - especially for her father.

"I will not bring up certain things...I'm a lady of class," said Camilla.

"Economy Class," was her father's quick fire retort.

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Camilla Cleese

After two years where performing live was out of the question because of the pandemic, they say it feels good to be back in front of a live audience.

"I feel rusty if I'm not on stage for four or five days, but it comes back quickly," said Camilla.

"I didn't notice the rustiness," John said, of Camilla. "If I don't see it I don't think many people do. It's certainly a little bit strange to be in front of 2000 people when I haven't been for two years."

John reflected on performing a live comedy show in the wake of a tragedy, such as Tuesday's shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, which left 19 children and two adults dead.

"Laughing is not disrespectful. It's cathartic," said John. "If we can make people laugh tonight, I don't think that's a problem."

The show is like a home-coming said Cleese, who lived in Santa Barbara with Camilla for over ten years.

An Evening Of Exceptional Silliness with John Cleese is Wednesday at the Granada Theater.