John Cleese is falling apart.

That poor, aging, brittle, has-been, over-the-hill, washed-up, smells-of-spinster-frottage crank is, piece by piece, breaking down. Why, just yesterday night as the once-majestic life-addled 70-year-old comedian took the stage at Seattle’s Moore Theater, even the balcony ruffians could see that earlier in the day one of his teeth fell out, leaving a gap any British dentist would be proud to call intentional. Later in the evening Cleese further confessed to hip surgery, some other sort of narble removal surgery, the fleshy offensive whatever-they-were’s possibly given to charity to auction, and his recent bout with prostatitis. He spoke at some length about the latter ailment, as the elderly are wont to do, and how for 6 1/2 weeks he endured a catheter up his “willie” and had to employ a spigot attached to the end of it to drain his crying bladder. In the lobby, Cleese’s merch minions hawked t-shirts saying “I Saw John Cleese For The Last Time Right Before He Died” to delighted death-pool fans. It is possible Cleese was also selling “eater” advance tickets, wherein fans could pre-purchase one of his non-damaged organs to consume upon his demise, the tickets contained in a tiny little coffin in which the necro nommers could vomit if feeling guilty.

If you are a fan of Monty Python, you will recognize my blatant steal in that last sentence from the last line of the most offensive comedy skit ever written and performed on television. It is also Mr. Cleese’s very favorite. If you are a fan of Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, A Fish Called Wanda, or brilliant, perfectly-written and timed comedy, you would have also likely concurred with me that last night’s performance by Mr. Cleese was absolutely delightful. It was, I realized even halfway through, the most entertained I have ever been in my life. I believe I guffawed and snorted every few seconds, and possibly was starry-eyed and totally thrilled as well. Well, OK, I know I was awestruck. There he was! John Cleese! Like RIGHT THERE in front of me! I smiled and smiled and smiled, and recognized how lucky I was to be in the audience, because I am a smart American woman.

Mr. Cleese’s current West Coast tour, entitled "A Final Wave at the World or The Alimony Tour, Year One," is meant not only to provide me with a hilarious and memorable evening, but to return some cash into his coffers after his recent California divorce. His ex-wife, psychotherapist and oops-no-pre-nup-exploiter Alice Faye Eichelberger, received a 20 MILLION DOLLAR judgment, almost all of it in CASH, which leaves Cleese with LESS MONEY THAN SHE NOW HAS. I am just going to go out on a limb here and speculate that she did not provide 20 million dollars of value to the marriage in expert therapy, or carpentry skills, or remarkable sexual prowess or anything. This acrimonious and costly split also provided the Moore audience with about the funniest opening 10 minutes of anything ever, with Cleese showing a photograph of his ex on a large screen behind him removing cash from an ATM machine and blasting her greed. Some of the lines:

"To make me feel better my lawyer told me to imagine how much I would have had to pay if Alice had contributed anything to the relationship – such as children, or a two-way conversation."

“With 20 million dollars I could buy 19 Leopard 2 tanks, making me better armed than the entire Norwegian army…, (married and divorced) Pamela Anderson eight and a half times, or [this woman] from Renton, Washington 2000 times.

Sitting there chortling away, I couldn’t help but think about my dad, whose business trips to England in the ‘60s and ‘70s exposed him to Monty Python’s Flying Circus. My father’s brand of humor also was a combination of the fabulously dry, incredibly silly, painfully intelligent, and relentlessly black, so he brought his enthusiasm for the program back with him to us in Hayseed, Wisconsin. We watched Python on our local PBS station, wondered why it sometimes ran short or long, and laughed together at these guys doing things we had never seen anyone do before on TV. We were the lone Anglophiles in Hayseed, I think. My dad would have loved this performance by Cleese, albeit moreso if it were at a martini bar and his own catheter spigot was set to “OFF.”

John Cleese has a quality that I love, which as someone who also has a passion for the subject of psychology, he has likely worked on for many years. He seems able to have a healthy appreciation for the things in life he has achieved (don’t mention the divorce[s]!!; there’s a Fawlty Towers line cop for ya). He knows that he has done some great work and can feel proud without coming across as a tremendous ass. This is fairly tricky, especially for comedians, who all seem to be coming from some kind of early Damage Land. I think Mr. Cleese well-recognizes the sources of his damage (British cultural repression and his mother, whom he referenced frequently onstage as “omniphobic” and having a face resembling Marty Feldman’s). Unlike most comics, or anyone for that matter, he seems to have been able to use that lovely intelligence and thoughtfulness of his to come to good terms with things that pained him, while losing nothing of his comic edge. The guy is just flat-out funny. He is a natural, whether he spends hours crafting a scene to flow perfectly, or answering questions from the audience off-the-cuff, as he did last night. I am so happy he didn’t leave Cambridge University as the lawyer he was trained to be, but instead tried to fill an endless, gaping black hole of personal need by performing skits about unusual gaits and surly hoteliers.

A personal triumph for me was when Cleese told a story about the Pythons gathering to write a skit, which ended up in near-fisticuffs over a heated debate on whether sheep are funnier or goats are funnier. Cleese, of course, said it was “the fucking GOATS!”

People Like Goats, and they like John Cleese, as long as he doesn’t marry them. You are a giant smelly sheep if you have the opportunity to go see him perform live and don’t. Buy your Eater tickets today!