English comedian, actor, writer, and Monty Python Founding member John Cleese first started offering his dry wit to the web through an audio podcast in October 2005. Produced by UK new media company Funk, Cleese dropped his microphone for a camera in December 2006 and put out his first video podcast ranting about the absurd intonations used by pilots and flight attendants during airline announcements (clearly something only someone speaking the Queen’s English would complain about, but amusing nevertheless).
With 500,000 reported downloads in 2007, the online medium’s been working well for Cleese, so well that he’s teamed up with Austrialian-based The Podcast Network to release “Headcast” – a series of online videos, which the comedian describes as “some humorous, some more thoughtful, giving me a chance to sound off in my old age.”
The Podcast Network, which produces over 80 audio and video shows claiming an international audience of half a million monthly viewers, will release both free and premium versions of the series over the next few months.
Like nearly all stars of old media who are migrating to new platforms, Cleese is on the web for its comparably limitless offerings of creative control and potential. The idea that someone famous for starring in skits about dead parrots now has a medium with which he can stretch artistically causes nothing short of giddy intrigue.
Dean Whiebread of Funk notes, “The Headcast is another example of John embracing new technologies to further his creativity – and although he’s well known for being very funny, this gives him the option to do whatever he wants to do and take it wherever he wants to go.”