Update: The John Cleese event at Vanderbilt was cancelled after this article was published.
When philosophy professor David Wood found out that British comedy legend John Cleese was going to be doing a show in downtown Nashville in early November, he figured he would invite his fellow Englishman to Vanderbilt to talk to students.
“John Cleese is doing a cross country tour right now about one of his Monty Python movies, and my son contacted his agent and asked if he wanted to have another gig that day. Fortunately, he said yes,” Wood said. “I grew up a great big Monty Python and Fawlty Towers fan, along with lots of other movies that he starred in. He is one of the kind of guys that makes me proud to be British.”
The event, titled “Thinking Creatively,” will feature a presentation by Cleese, as well as a Q & A session from the audience, moderated by Wood. According to Wood, the event will be more than just a comedy routine by Cleese, who is known for his work as an actor and a founding member of comedy troupe Monty Python.
“This is a man who is actually very reflective and smart as well as being a great comedian and a tall person,” Wood said. “I think at this event he is going to be stepping back from being just a comedian, to using comedy as an example of how creative thinking can happen. Because obviously, what happens in a lot of comedy, is that things that we take for granted are exposed as things that we take for granted, and these ideas are played with and are made fun of. I think that there is a kind of connection between comedy and philosophical reflection.”
The event, which is sponsored by the Philosophy department, the Curb Center, the Department of Anthropology, the Psychology department and philosophy professor John Lachs, will take place on on Nov. 11 at Sarratt Cinema from 12-1PM. Seating is general admission and will be awarded on a first come-first serve basis. Following his appearance at Vanderbilt, Cleese will host a showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail at the War Memorial Auditorium, where he will share stories and answer questions about his life and career.