Cleese Retires from Performing

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Although John Cleese isn't suffering from a flesh wound this time, the Monty Python comedian is taking a rest from performing.

The 66-year-old actor announced that he's retiring in order to become a "comedy professor" and write a history of comedy for today's humor-challenged younger generation, reports the UK's Times.

"I'm too tired to write new comedy," says the former Minister of Silly Walks. "I can never do better than 'Fawlty Towers' whatever I do. Now I very much want to teach young talent some rules of the game."

The "Fawlty Towers" writer and Monty Python trouper is a fan of the old, classic forms of comedies.

"My generation prized really fine acting and writing," he says. "Sometimes you have to go back to the basic principles which underpin great visual comedy. 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," he continues. "But it is very rare today to see someone with that grasp of old-fashioned comedy. The last truly excellent live performance I saw was Eddie Izzard. But Ricky Gervais is also a match for the great American sitcoms."

Gervais created the original BBC version of the hit sitcom "The Office" and is the writer/director/star of HBO's "Extras."

On the big screen, Cleese received an Oscar nomination for his original screenplay for 1988's "A Fish Called Wanda." His other recent film roles include Q in the 007 film "Die Another Day," the voice of the King in "Shrek 2" and the ghostly Nearly Headless Nick in the "Harry Potter" films. His upcoming films include "Charlotte's Web" and "Shrek 3."

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