John Cleese calls Michael Palin ‘the most boring man I’ve met in my life’

The Fawlty Towers star said his Monty Python pal is lovely but boring and joked his shows are used to cure insomnia.

Watch: John Cleese calls Michael Palin's travel shows boring

John Cleese has called Sir Michael Palin "the most boring man I've met in my life."

The Fawlty Towers star has been friends with the actor and travel writer since they formed comedy troupe Monty Python's Flying Circus in 1969.

But appearing on Lorraine, 84-year-old Cleese insisted Palin was "boring" and that his travel shows sent people to sleep.

John Cleese and Michael Palin attend the Monty Python Press Conference during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theater on April 24, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival)
John Cleese has said Michael Palin's travel shows put people to sleep. (Getty Images for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival)

Cleese and Palin recently reunited for dinner in London with fellow Python Terry Gilliam to celebrate Palin's 81st birthday. Asked how Palin was Cleese told Lorraine Kelly: "He's very nice, he's very nice. He's very boring, but he's very nice."

As Kelly protested, Cleese went on: "He's terribly boring. Lorraine. He's the most boring man I've ever met in my life but he's so nice you forgive him. You'd forgive him anything. Have you now seen his travel programme?!" Kelly replied that she was a fan of Palin's travel shows.

Cleese said: "Do you know they're sponsored in America by the insomniac association. People who never slept before in their life – you sit them down with an episode of Pole to Pole and some hot chocolate and they're straight off." Kelly replied: "Well, he's doing us a public service. As are you for making us laugh."

Michael Palin and John Cleese attend the closing night after party for 'Monty Python Live (Mostly)' at The O2 Arena on July 20, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Michael Palin and John Cleese are old friends. (Getty Images)

The controversial comedian, who has been very outspoken about the affect of cancel culture on comedy, added that he is still working to achieve 'national treasure' status.

Cleese said: "I'm only an icon at the moment, I'm waiting to become a national institution. I've applied, I've done the paperwork, but it hasn't come through yet."

Palin's wife Helen died of kidney failure in May 2023 after a long illness. Since her death he has vowed to keep working and his latest travel show Michael Palin in Nigeria us currently airing on Channel 5.

Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, age 92, announces his engagement to girlfriend Elena Zhukova, age 67. - File Photo by: zz/Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx 2017 11/1/17 Rupert Murdoch at WSJ Magazine 2017 Innovator Awards held on November 1, 2017 in New York City. (NYC)
Rupert Murdoch has married his fifth wife at the age of 93. (Alamy)

Cleese also took a swipe at media tycoon Rupert Murdoch while appearing live on the ITV chat show.

The 93-year-old media tycoon has just married his fifth wife, Elena Zhukova 67, and released a picture of the wedding. Cleese suddenly said to Kelly: "Talking of ugly did you see the picture of Rupert Murdoch this morning? What an extraordinary picture! I just I thought people got embalmed after they died." Kelly giggled: "John Cleese! You're terrible."

Cleese was on Lorraine to promote the new West End stage show adaptation of his classic sitcom Fawlty Towers. He said: "Humour does us good. And there are people trying to restrict that, and I don't think that people with very little sense of humour should be allowed to dictate what people with a sense of humour are allowed to enjoy."

Cleese is currently working on a reboot of Fawlty Towers with his daughter Camilla Cleese.

The revival of the classic sitcom will start with the death of Sybil Fawlty, wife of his eccentric Torquay hotelier Basil Fawlty, which sees him move to the Caribbean to live with his illegitimate daughter.

Fawlty Towers ran for just 12 episodes in the 1970s. Cleese co-wrote the sitcom with ex-wife Connie Booth, who starred alongside him as waitress Polly. The 83-year-old psychotherapist divorced Cleese in 1978, in the midst of making the hit comedy.

The original series also starred the late Andrew Sachs as Spanish waiter Manuel. Sachs died in 2016 at the age of 86. And Prunella Scales, 91, starred as Cleese's on-screen wife Sybil. She announced her retirement from acting in 2020 having been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Lorraine airs on ITV1 at 9am on weekdays.