The Ultimate 100 John Cleese Quotes From The Co-Founder Of Monty Python

John Cleese quotes about comedy and entertainment are funny.
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John Cleese is an English comedian and actor and screenwriter.

He is a renowned Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning actor. John is best known as the founding member of the famous Monty Python comedy group.

In the late 1960s, he along with Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin created the comedy troupe Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The show was a mix of physical and verbal comedy sketches which was linked with outlandish animation. Monty Python became a major hit in Britain during its run. He later recorded and attended several stage shows and movies with the Monty Python troupe. Some of them being ‘Monty Python And The Holy Grail’, ‘Life Of Brian’, and ‘Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life’.

For more related content take a look at [Monty Python quotes] and [Jerry Seinfeld quotes].

John Cleese Quotes About Life

Take a page out of the best quotes on life from the co-creator of the Monty Python troupe.

1. “Don’t let anyone tell you what you ought to like... Some wines that some experts think are absolutely exquisite don't appeal to me at all.”

― John Cleese.

2. “God was treated as this powerful, erratic, rather punitive father who has to be pacified and praised. You know, flattered.”

― John Cleese.

3. “Too many people confuse being serious with being solemn.”

― John Cleese.

4. “We don’t know where we get our ideas from. What we do know is that we do not get them from our laptops.”

― John Cleese.

5. “Why write about the past? Well, there's more of it.”

― John Cleese.

6. “It was not fair and therefore unworthy of my respect. It was as simple as that.”

― John Cleese.

7. “So real religion is about reducing our egos, whereas all the churches are interested in is egotistical activities, like getting as many members and raising as much money and becoming as important and high-profile and influential as possible.”

― John Cleese.

8. “The thrill I got discovering Buster Keaton when I was growing up was so exciting. He was one of the greats.”

― John Cleese.

9. “Filming takes a lot out of you. It really does. It’s immensely demanding, and you have to put the rest of your life in the icebox until you do your final shot.”

― John Cleese.

10. “What I’ve always wanted to do is be as funny as possible.”

― John Cleese.

11. “I could take an umbrella and balance it on my chin or on my foot. And I just got interested in that kind of stuff.”

― John Cleese.

12. “I have several times made a poor choice by avoiding a necessary confrontation.”

― John Cleese.

13. “Most of the bad taste I’ve been accused of has been generic bad taste; it’s been making fun of an idea as opposed to a person.”

― John Cleese.

14. “I think it takes a long time, as you get older, to realize just how crazy the world is, just how ridiculous it all is.”

― John Cleese.

15. “I think that I feel an indignation when I don’t understand something.”

― John Cleese.

16. “I used to desire many, many things, but now I have just one desire, and that's to get rid of all my other desires.”

― John Cleese.

17. “I don’t really watch TV these days, except live sport. There’s nothing much that appeals to me and I would rather read a book.”

― John Cleese.

18. “I think that the real religion is about the understanding that if we can only still our egos for a few seconds, we might have a chance of experiencing something that is divine in nature.”

― John Cleese.

19. “I am bored easily. I’ve been bored most of my life.”

― John Cleese.

20. “I don’t want to have to start being unselfish again. The great part about being on your own is you do what you well like.”

― John Cleese.

21. “Filming is like a long air journey: there’s so much hanging around and boredom that they keep giving you food.”

― John Cleese.

22. “I learned a lot of things about literature talking to people at the publishing company. Did you know that about 90 percent of celebrity autobiographies are ghostwritten?”

― John Cleese.

Quotes About Creativity

Quotes about creativity from the creator of Monty Python are educational.

Some John Cleese quotes on creativity and originality.

23. “If you require creative workers, give them enough time to play.”

― John Cleese.

24. “Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.”

― John Cleese.

25. “Nothing will stop you being creative more effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”

― John Cleese.

26. “Four hundred years ago, we would have been burnt for this film. Now, I’m suggesting that we've made an advance.”

― John Cleese.

27. “I have a tendency sometimes to be too logical with what I’m writing, just because I need it to be kind of perfect.”

― John Cleese.

28. “It’s easier to be creative if you’ve got other people to play with.”

― John Cleese.

29. “High creativity is responding to situations without critical thought.”

― John Cleese.

30. “The most creative people have this childlike facility to play.”

― John Cleese.

31. “Creativity is not the possession of some special talent. It’s about the willingness to play.”

― John Cleese.

32. “I think you can write very good comedy without a partner, but what I love about it, working with a partner, is that you get to places you’d never get on your own.”

― John Cleese.

33. “While you’re being creative, nothing is wrong. There’s no such thing as a mistake, and any drivel may lead to the breakthrough.”

― John Cleese.

34. “The greatest killer of creativity is interruption.”

― John Cleese.

35. “Creative people are much better at tolerating the vague sense of worry that we all get when we leave something unresolved.”

― John Cleese.

36. “Telling people how to be creative is easy - being creative is difficult.”

― John Cleese.

37. “Give your mind as long as possible to come up with something original.”

― John Cleese.

38. “If you really don’t know where to start or if you’re stuck, start generating random connections and allow your intuition to tell you if one might lead somewhere interesting.”

― John Cleese.

39. “Feeling creative isn’t exactly an emotion. It’s a frame of mind.”

― John Cleese.

40. “Creativity doesn’t have to be taught; it has to be liberated.”

― John Cleese.

41. “Creativity is not an ability that you either have or do not have. It is, for example, and this may surprise you, absolutely unrelated to IQ, provided you're intelligent above a certain minimal level.”

― John Cleese.

42. “I think we’re all born with a sense of humor. Creativity is something completely different though.”

― John Cleese.

43. “Some actors, I think, want to feel that they are as creative as the writer. And the answer is, frankly, they’re not.”

― John Cleese.

Motivational Quotes

Best motivational quotes to live life and learn by taking a page out of these.

44. “I think that money spoils most things, once it becomes the primary motivating force.”

― John Cleese.

45. “I can do anything I want, I’m eccentric!”

― John Cleese.

46. “Only a few things in life matter a little. The rest don’t matter at all.”

― John Cleese.

47. “Genuinely good manners are, after all, essentially a way of moderating one’s own egotism, often in the service of considering the egos of others.”

― John Cleese, ‘So, Anyway…’.

48. “When you reach my age, and I’m 66 now, you realize that the world is a madhouse and that most people are operating in fantasy anyway.”

― John Cleese.

49. “It’s only on the brink that people find the will to change.  Only at the precipice do we evolve.”

― John Cleese.

50. “You don’t have to be the Dalai Lama to tell people that life’s about change.”

― John Cleese.

51. “Whenever I could learn something, I sort of added that to my repertoire.”

― John Cleese.

52. “A man will give up almost anything except his suffering.”

― John Cleese.

53. “If you are leaping a ravine, the moment of takeoff is a bad time to be considering alternative strategies.”

― John Cleese.

54. “If you want to know who your friends are, have a major failure.”

― John Cleese.

55. “When you defer decisions as long as possible, it’s giving your unconscious the maximum amount of time to come up with something.”

― John Cleese.

56. “There are two types of work. One is the work you do because you need money, and there’s another kind of work — a more enjoyable kind where money is absolutely not the key thing.”

― John Cleese.

57. “The thing you have to remember about critics is that they can’t do it themselves.”

― John Cleese.

Funny Quotes

Great sayings and creative funny quotes about things in life in general.

58. “If God did not intend for us to eat animals, then why did he make them out of meat?”

― John Cleese.

59. “I find it rather easy to portray a businessman. Being bland, rather cruel, and incompetent comes naturally to me.”

― John Cleese.

60. “The sad thing about true stupidity is that you can do absolutely nothing about it.”

― John Cleese.

61. “Cats are very intelligent at all the things that cats need to be intelligent about.”

― John Cleese.

62. “Either people walk round dressed as chickens or they listen to Beethoven.”

― John Cleese.

63. “Basil Fawlty was an easy character for me. For some reason, portraying a mean, uptight, incompetent bully comes naturally to me.”

― John Cleese.

64. “Loving your neighbor as much as yourself is practically impossible.”

― John Cleese.

65. “My biggest regret? Not being knighted by the Queen. I should have been a knight, and I would have been knighted, if I hadn’t written one horrible horrible Python sketch which I deeply, deeply regret.”

― John Cleese.

66. “Acting is all about faking. We’re all very good at faking things that we have no competence with.”

― John Cleese.

67. “There’s nothing good on the television; let’s burn a witch. It must have been terribly exciting to live in those times.”

― John Cleese.

68. “I think the problem with people like this is that they are so stupid that they have no idea how stupid they are.”

― John Cleese.

69. “No hope for the planet at all. But I will be gone before the planet is gone, so it's your problem.”

― John Cleese.

70. “When you’re being stalked by an angry mob with raspberries, the first thing to do is to release a tiger.”

― John Cleese.

71. “Some people ask me to do ads and I think, I don’t really want to sell potato crisps.”

― John Cleese.

72. “Why anyone who has not committed a punishable offense would listen to country and western music is beyond me.”

― John Cleese.

British Quotes

Some funny British quotes to shed light on the difference between Britain and the rest of the world.

73. “The English contribution to world cuisine - the chip.”

― John Cleese.

74. “England is a fairly envious little country and it’s embodied in the press. They don’t like anyone being more distinguished than they are.”

― John Cleese.

75. “British journalists tend to believe that people who become good at something do so because they seek fame and fortune. This is because these are the sole motives of people who become British journalists.”

― John Cleese.

76. “The Americans all love ‘The Holy Grail’, and the English all love ‘Life Of Brian’, and I’m afraid on this one, I side with the English.”

― John Cleese.

77. “In England, it’s so geographically small that if somebody succeeds here, it reduces your chances of succeeding.”

― John Cleese.

78. “England is a fairly envious little country and it’s embodied in the press. They don’t like anyone being more distinguished than they are.”

― John Cleese.

79. “The Americans are so much more positive. They are much more in love with success. In Britain, they’re a fairly envious bunch, and they love it if you fail.”

― John Cleese.

Quotes About Comedy

John Cleese’s quotes are mostly comic in nature. You may find the quote about comedy right here!

80. “Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited.”

― John Cleese.

81. “You can’t make Christ funny. He’s self-aware, he’s too flexible within the situation. It’s rigidity, it’s when the ego takes over and the behavior becomes inappropriate that it becomes funny.”

― John Cleese.

82. “I want to write a book which is the history of comedy.”

― John Cleese.

83. “Don’t mention the war. I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it.”

― John Cleese.

84. “Sometimes you have to go back to the basic principles which underpin great visual comedy.”

― John Cleese.

85. “When you’ve been doing comedy for forty years, you really do know most of the jokes. And even if you don’t know a specific joke, you can pretty much guess what it’s going to be.”

― John Cleese.

86. “You never know what’s going to catch on.”

― John Cleese.

Quotes About Laughing

Monty Python quotes are hilarious.

Take a page out of these quotes and learn something new!

87. “He who laughs most learns best.”

― John Cleese.

88. “Laughter is a force for democracy.”

― John Cleese.

89. “If I can get you to laugh with me, you like me better, which makes you more open to my ideas.”

― John Cleese.

90. “The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.”

― John Cleese.

91. “A wonderful thing about true laughter is that it just destroys any kind of system of dividing people.”

― John Cleese.

Monty Python Quotes

Best quotes from the Monty Python series by John Cleese.

92. “Brian: I am NOT the Messiah!

Arthur: I say you are Lord, and I should know. I’ve followed a few.”

― ‘Monty Python’s Life Of Brian’.

93. “Centurion: Crucifixion lasts hours. It’s a slow, horrible death.”

― ‘Monty Python’s Life Of Brian’.

94. “Morning, I’m a bank robber, please don’t panic, just hand over all the money.”

― ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’.

95. “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!”

― ‘Monty Python And The Holy Grail’.

96. “That rabbit’s got a vicious streak a mile wide! It’s a killer!”

― ‘Monty Python And The Holy Grail’.

97. “Oh, oh, I see! Running away, eh?”

― ‘Monty Python And The Holy Grail’.

98.  “'tis but a scratch!”

― ‘Monty Python And The Holy Grail’.

99. “King of Swamp Castle: You put your sword right through the head of the bride's father.

Sir Lancelot: Oh dear... is he all right?”

― ‘Monty Python And The Holy Grail’.

100. “The Python attitude toward life is to suggest how absurd everything is. When people are younger they often look around and think it’s all a bit crazy.”

― John Cleese.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for John Cleese quotes then why not take a look at Larry David quotes, or [Comedian quotes].

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