John Cleese Says He Was Only Joking About How He “Loathed & Despised” Eric Idle

Monty Python famously performed a sketch about a joke so funny, it was lethal. Well, it turns out that John Cleese‘s latest attempt at a gag has been somewhat lost in translation.

In a social media spat for the ages, Eric Idle spent the weekend roasting his fellow Pythons on X (formerly Twitter). Cleese bit at Idle’s comments on Tuesday, posting a repost.

“We always loathed and despised each other, but it’s only recently that the truth has begun to emerge,” Cleese wrote in a cryptic response to an X user, who asked if he had fallen out with Idle.

The A Fish Called Wanda star has now clarified that he was joking, posting a series of messages on X lashing out at the reporting of his remarks.

Cleese said some publications “got it totally wrong,” arguing that his “loathed and despised” barb was a joke about all his fellow Pythons. He said the media has had a sense of humor failure for “clicks.”

It appears, however, that Cleese was being rather more serious in his defense of Holly Gilliam, whom Idle criticized for mismanaging the Python brand.

“We own everything we ever made in Python and I never dreamed that at this age the income streams would tail off so disastrously,” Idle said. “But I guess if you put a Gilliam child in as your manager you should not be so surprised. One Gilliam is bad enough. Two can take out any company.”

Cleese responded: “I have worked with Holly for the last ten years, and I find her very efficient, clear-minded, hard- working, and pleasant to have dealings with.”

Cleese added that Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam (Holly’s father) shared his view. Holly Gilliam passed a request for comment on to her attorney, who has not responded to Deadline.

In his X rampage over the weekend, Idle said he was happy not to have seen Cleese in seven years. He posted a more generous message on Wednesday, describing Cleese as “hilarious.”


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