Why John Cleese Refused To Become An English Lord

Comedian John Cleese had a chance to add 'lord' to his name about 20 years ago, and despite his irreverent nature, he seriously considered accepting the honor. Not because he wanted the pomp and circumstance that would've come with being called Lord Cheese (his family's original surname), but because accepting the title would piss off his 'Monty Python' castmates.

"Of course, I loved the idea because it would have annoyed the Pythons so much," he told Stephen Colbert yesterday. Having a title would've clashed with Monty Python's brand of countercultural humor, "so they would have been very cross," Cleese explained.

The offer came back in the late 1990s, when Cleese had gained some influential friends in British politics.  

"I had helped a center party in England called the Liberal Democrats. And I was extremely fond of their leader - Paddy Ashdown," Cleese told Colbert. "And at the end of it, when he resigned as leader, he sent me to the House of Lords [the British equivalent of the Senate], and I realized I was being asked if I wanted to be Lord Cleese."

But there was one sticking point. "[Ashdown] said, 'The only thing is, you have to vote all the time in the House of Lords.' I said, 'Does that mean I'd have to be [in England] in the winter?' And he said, 'I'm afraid so.'"

Then Cleese shot down the idea a la Scarlett O'Hara.

"I said, 'Pass.' Because I only have one thing on my bucket list, and that is never to be cold again."

Check out the full interview below.



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