John Cleese says he's 'much too mischievous' for a knighthood

Amy West
Contributor
John Cleese has said he's 'too mischievous' to receive a knighthood, unlike his Monty Python co-star Sir Michael Palin. (Isabel Infantes/PA Images via Getty Images)

John Cleese has revealed why he thinks it would be inappropriate if he were to receive a knighthood.

While promoting the return of sitcom Hold the Sunset on Lorraine on Thursday, the Fawlty Towers actor said he’s “much too naughty and mischievous” to be bestowed such an honour.

“I don’t think comedians should have knighthoods, by and large… we’re supposed to say controversial things, that makes us interesting,” he added.

Read more: John Cleese embroiled in row over female comedians talking about their vaginas

Cleese went on to explain that the exception to this rule is his Monty Python co-star Sir Michael Palin, who is “quite respectable.”

“He doesn’t do naughty things, he’s not rude about the press like I am,” the 79-year-old said. “People like me don’t get knighted.”

Back in May, Cleese was heavily criticised for accusing London of “not being English” any more.

Following the backlash, he took to Twitter to claim that his comments were “culturalist” rather than “racist.”

Throughout his 50 years in the entertainment industry, Cleese has turned down both a seat in the House of Lords and a CBE from the Queen, because he believes there isn’t such a thing as the British Empire these days.

He also said he wouldn’t want to have to spend the winters in England.

“I don’t want to be cold again. I love it when you wake up in the morning and the sun is out,” added Cleese, who spends most of his time in the Caribbean with his fourth wife, Jennifer Wade.

Read more: John Cleese defends London comments as ‘culturalist’ not ‘racist’

“You have a cup of coffee, you might have a little swim, you can sit and read because there aren’t horrible people around interrupting you all the time. It’s heaven at my age.”

Ever the comedian, he joked that he and Wade have “burdened [themselves] with cats instead of children, because you don’t have to spend a lot of money on education and when they grow up, they don’t blame you for anything.”

But Cleese said that the couple’s fondness for their cats proves tricky sometimes because they can’t take them overseas with them.

“The trouble with cats is, home is where the cats are. We can’t bring them out yet. The big one is 25 pounds. When my wife tries to pick him up, she disappears behind him.”

Hold the Sunset’s second series starts at 9pm on Friday 2 August on BBC One.