Prince Charles celebrates his 60th birthday this year, and among various engagements Thursday November 13th was the date that The Princes’ Trust – an organization set up by Charles to help young people – held an evening of A-list comedy entertainment in his honour at the New Wimbledon Theatre in London.
The performers were Rowan Atkinson, Robin Williams, Bill Bailey, and relative newcomers Michael McIntyre, Stephen K Amos, and Omid Djalili, with a brief appearance from Joan Rivers.
Wisely, the organisers chose John Cleese to hold it all together, which he did in fine style, playing up his own advanced years by appearing on stage in a wheelchair and attended to by two busty blonde nurses.
Cleese impressed further by constantly apologising for the length of the show and dismissing the quality of the obviously superb acts, and the Prince’s likelihood of being entertained, with wonderful quipss: a well-received one being "I bet when the Duchess of Cornwall told you Sir she had a couple of tickets for Wimbledon, you thought you were in for a treat.”
Now, it could be said that over the years John Cleese has lost his way somewhat as a legendary comedian. Some might even say that he has lived off past successes for the last 20 years.
In Cleese’s defence, I would say this: there is none better, and few will reach his level of recognition and success as a comedian and comic actor, even over long careers. So what if he’s restricted himself lately to cameo appearances alongside Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Ratcliffe? He wrote Fawlty Towers!
With this high level of emceeing holding together a diverse range of comics, the evening could only go well. One highlight was Iranian-born Omid Djalili, Bill Bailey, and Robin Williams, both individually and together, performing a hilarious song they had improvised in 20 minutes backstage.