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The History of Comedy

13th June 2006

John Cleese has announced he is to retire to write the history of comedy.

The former Fawlty Towers star says he will act as a comedy professor holding masterclasses with students on how to make people laugh.

Cleese, 66, said he could "never do better than Fawlty Towers" so he had decided to "teach young talent some rules of the game".

He said: "I want to write a book which is the history of comedy. It will cover the greats of silent cinema to Ricky Gervais, who is the height of modern entertainment.

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

"The Marx Brothers and Harold Lloyd will be in there too. But it is very rare today to see someone with that grasp of old-fashioned comedy."

He said: "The last truly excellent performance I saw was Eddie Izzard. But Ricky Gervais is also a match for the great American sitcoms."

Cleese has been lauded as a comedy genius for his role as hotelier Basil Fawlty in the 1970s sitcom Fawlty Towers and for his part in the Monty Python team.

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