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JOHN CLEESE: ON HOW TO IRRITATE PEOPLE

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JOHN CLEESE: ON HOW TO IRRITATE PEOPLE (1993, White Star, $19.95) A lukewarm, decades-old Cleese British TV show recycled as a ”comedy classic”? Now that’s irritating. Only squirrelish humor archivists will appreciate this 1968 sketch anthology, as the cast also includes Michael Palin and the late Graham Chapman, all on the cusp of their Monty Python breakthrough. Best of the 14 bits is one in which Cleese, Palin, and Chapman play airline crew members who ease their long-trip boredom by terrifying passengers with alarming announcements. The sketch is droll, goofy, inspired. But the other bits, including an obsequious waiter in an Italian restaurant, quickly exhaust their comic promise and only remind us of how great this group was going to become. C- -Terry Catchpole