I’ve been after Graham Chapman for quite some time and its’ taken a great deal of effort and intent to get him here. I have just connected with him tonight – he’s standing up in a yellow skivvy, Houndstooth jacket and slacks with his arms folded looking every bit the intellectual and not at all the comedian I would’ve expected – but then I didn’t really know what to expect and he asks “what’s this all about then, it seems all rather silly to me?
Alison: Silly is what you’re good at though.
Graham: Yes but when we’re done with what we’ve been doing that’s usually it unless some silly twat wants you there at the family reading – we’re done not meant to come back so I’m not sure what this is really all for.
Alison: It’s for entertainment and learning so it’s two-fold.
Graham: Bloody humans – couldn’t get enough of me while I was there and can’t bloody get any peace now I’m not.
Alison: [Laughter] – yet here you stand in wonder or curiosity of the notion to be posthumously interviewed.
Graham: I must say it is rather daft if you ask me but oh go on then do your very silly interview, I’ll play along – I have been observing for some time and there is a lot of chatter around the likes of you over here – that Erik (Medhus) chap is causing quite a stir with his antics on both sides of the thing, you know the border that separates the rooms were in.
Alison: Do you mean the veil?
Graham: Yes something like that rubbish.
Alison: You’re making me giggle.
Graham: My job done can I go now miss?
Alison: Noooo – not yet, got questions to ask.
Graham: Do your worst then woman (he feigns disinterest by checking the state of his fingernails).
Alison: Ok, so this is how it goes – what did you come here to achieve?
Graham: Well I should think that is bloody obvious don’t you – to laugh, to cry, to make people laugh, to make John Cleese cry when I turned up drunk to your meeting, it’s that sort of thing you know.
Alison: Oh you are the reluctant interviewee aren’t you?
Graham: Yes! “Get on with it” (he quotes from the Holy Grail).
Alison: [Laughter] right – what was the drinking all about then, you had a problem as I understand it?
Graham: The western bloody world has a drinking problem, it’s not like it’s any kind of mystery – you get miserable often relating to lack of love, lack of self-image etc., so you drink, get drunk, fall down and everything is peachy except it isn’t cause now you can’t remember your lines or the whole day before, you feel guilty and get drunk again. It’s a common problem and nobody is really doing anything to address the underlying issues that support the drinking habit do they – oh yes it looks like someone cares, there’s campaigns all over about the issues of alcohol consumption yet no one, and I mean no one addresses the real reason for drinking, the boat continues to ride the wave of boozy mentality.
Alison: I see, cynical?
Graham: Nope, truthful, planet earth has some serious self-image problems. And no one is addressing these – oh we do try from this side yet very little changes. Humanity is slow to change.
Alison: I see – so is that a role that you play – someone who helps humanity get to the heart of the addiction issues?
Graham: Sometimes when I’m not playing golf or writing a sketch. (I couldn’t tell if the golf quip was a joke or not.)
Alison: So you still write then?
Graham: Of course! It’s one of my passions and always will be no matter what is happening in other places.
Alison: Where does our inspiration come from?
Graham: When you’re in spirit, your inspiration comes from the highest sources that there are so we too channel it’s really a matter of perspective you can say it comes from yourself, your experiences, your observations, you can flubber it up like that or you can accept that which you are and say it comes from the highest source of all.
Alison: And that is…
Graham: Oh come now, you know the answer but who am I to question your intelligence – look this interview stuff really isn’t for me because I’m put in a position of telling the truth about the nature of who and what we are which goes against who and what I was so it’s very conflicting, but I do get it what you are doing so for you I’ll grin and bear it.
Alison: Thank you – so what would you like to talk about then, sexuality maybe?
Graham: Oh that’s another stinker isn’t’ it – being gay in Britain before the 90s – bloody marvellous idea that was.
Alison: Another touchy subject then.
Graham: Well yes because it’s still so rudimentary the very notion of same sex couples still makes people go ooh ahh he’s gay oh gossip, gossip she’s a lesbo – well let me tell you the human race has come far yet it’s still muddled up at the notion of what love is thanks to the bloody church so you see why I have such a conflict about talking to you here.
Alison: Yeah but that’s totally going to make people want to read what you have to say.
Graham: Alison, I may seem like a bit of a Nazi but I just don’t get this whole movement towards spiritual prosperity – love should just be love and there is no need to call me in, in order to know that.
Alison: Yet there is a need for people to push forward into the spiritual in order to learn that love should just be love.
Graham: Well I can see your point – do go on.
Alison: Ok, so then from this I take it that being gay was an arduous task?
Graham: It was, but I wouldn’t change that experience one bit.
Alison: You were one of those that was gossiped about?
Graham: Yes indeed, and perhaps I knew that would be the case beforehand but still it doesn’t really make up for the physical expressions of that on earth.
Alison: I can imagine it was tougher – in fact I know what we plan before we get here is tougher when here than what we thought beforehand. What about your career?
Graham: Now you’re talking. My career really was the thing that kept me going – got me over the hump you could say.
Alison: In what way do you mean?
Graham: Well it showed me that to function as a human and have a career I had to pull myself together and stop being a drunken idiot.
Alison: You’re hard on yourself…
Graham: You have to be to come to terms with being in the public eye.
Alison: How do you mean, you have to be to function in the public eye?
Graham: It’s all about self-control – you get very beaten up in the public eye and if you don’t pull your socks up and get on with it then you get swallowed up by one of the media outlets and washed up all over the front of the newspapers, so it’s just a matter of self-discipline to deal with that stuff – to just get on with it – so you’re hard on yourself and you make every effort to give your best at all times.
Alison: So what prompted you to change your career from Dr to comedian?
Graham: There was more laughter in the job which I was drawn to do. I felt that I could achieve more as a comedic actor than I could as a stuffy old Dr. Laughter really is the best medicine – it cures many ills.
Alison: Yes it does and I’m so glad for one that you did make the change – I saw two of your buddies in Brisbane – superb!
Graham: Yes they’ve not lost their comedic edge. I’ve seen the show and its grandiose bluster – I mean that in the nicest possible way of course.
Alison: I feel that you do too and you’ve lightened up a bit too.
Graham: Well no need to overstate the point, It’s not Monty Python.
Alison: [Laughter] I feel though that you are joking with me a lot more than it may seem.
Graham: A little.
Alison: Ok so then, given your reluctance to talk about who you were from where you are – is it even going to be possible to talk about religion.
Graham: I’m not doing sketches….
Alison: ahahaha no Spanish Inquisition then…
Graham: Absolutely not!
Alison: (This is the most challenging interview) Will you talk at all about your beliefs?
Graham: Well the best I can do is tell you I was a man of science. I trusted science, you could see it for one thing – you could look in a Petrie dish and see science at work – there was no hypocrisy in the Petrie dish, no lying, cheating scumbag of a cleric preaching absolute bollocks from the ego out the front of the pulpit. Bacteria doesn’t lie, they don’t cheat, they exist in a blissful state of unawareness simply living. Religion, what is that, a set of obnoxious doctrines that appallingly and most disturbingly removes you from your power by filling your head full of the most preposterous notions about a fake God on a throne dictating also from the ego – no I’m simply not having it. That is and always will be outrageously preposterous and I would like nothing more than to see it barred from the human psyche.
Alison: Wow! I hear you loud and clear but is that even possible?
Graham: Indeed it isn’t because the human being is basically a cow being herded and corralled into a controlled environment on the premise that they’re too stupid to think for themselves.
Alison: You don’t mince your words.
Graham: What’s the bloody point, you want the truth and that’s the truth. If it weren’t for religion our work wouldn’t have been holy (pun intended) as funny and that’s the truth, much of our material wasn’t ingratiated by politics and religion. We sort to expose hypocrisy in a funny and satirical way so that it hit home. At least that’s how I saw it – can’t speak for the other Pythons – although I do know how they all think. So on that note perhaps what you are doing is a good thing because you can expose the truth in a different but not adverse way to how we did it – our goals are the same. Comedy is the perfect genre for exposing hypocrisy and making people aware of who or what is being done to them. No one here expects religion to evolve anytime soon, it’s got too much to lose by that and of course when people incarnate here they’re well aware of all this so much of what I say is really moot. All the world is a stage and that my dear is the truth.
Alison: I understand every word. Let’s move on to something else. What was it like experiencing cancer as someone who was science-minded?
Graham: Logically, it was what it was. I relied on the knowledge of my Dr’s to get me through it but I didn’t feel I would survive and perhaps that’s why I didn’t, but in terms of what you’re asking – was I afraid that the end was indeed the end – yes and no, as someone who appreciates evidence I wasn’t adverse to understanding that which you can’t see may still exists, so I allowed my mind to inquire about all options – I did have some fear though, naturally you do – you ask yourself well what was I here for, I haven’t finished, this can’t surely be the end of it, what was my purpose for being. I still asked these questions. I’m naturally inquisitive, you have to be when you’re a comedian or you’d have no material.
Alison: And when you crossed over….
Graham: That was a surreal moment in time as I came into my own awareness of myself and my full existence. Crossing over was then a beautiful exploratory moment. I looked back momentarily and witnessed the loss but it was like watching a scene in a movie that I wasn’t a part of. I felt very relieved to be free of pain, I may not have fully understood what was happening at that point because you’re still so very human, you have to have time to let go of your individuality and become that which you are – integrated and complete and your knowledge comes back to you as if you never left. It’s a bit like leaving your home, flirting with a few ideas then going home to retire and picking up the Sunday paper “all’s well with the world, I’m home” it is a very wondrous and expansive moment when you just go “ahhh – all done – next!”
Alison: Ahh lovely and very matter-of-fact! So how long have you been mulling over coming out of retirement for this type of exposure then?
Graham: Well that bloody Erik never lets up – he wants what he wants and we all go “Ok Erik, we will look but this better be good”.
Alison: [Laughter] that’s sooo Erik!!
Graham: He is a most magnificent being and very loved for the work he does.
Alison: So then, what, you took a peek?
Graham: Yes, I watched and sniggered and here I am, getting the point.
Alison: Well thank you for that you’ve made my night. What’s next for you then?
Graham: That would be telling – we won’t give away all our secrets but I am thinking about my next job.
Alison: With the writing that you do – where does that go?
Graham: It becomes fodder for humans and other species to use as they see fit. Not all of it goes somewhere – sometimes it just does as an idea does and remains obscure and out of reach.
Alison: What do you think is the drawcard for spirits to become human anyway?
Graham: There’s nothing like the 5 senses to experience life by.
Alison: So you mean touch, taste, smell and so on which can’t be experienced the same way over there?
Graham: Yes of course, you only mime that from spirit. You’re a mist of various shapes and sizes at any given moment. The entire experience as a discarnate soul is one of thought and to experience that thought fully you need something solid and tangible. The spirit world is a place of creation not to be confused with religion but to create is what it means to be me and you without a physical body, that’s what the attraction is to be human. (He’s putting the image of the statue ‘The Thinker’ in my head.)
Alison: Would change anything about your life?
Graham: Hmm another interesting one – no I don’t think so. It had its moments of up and down, but no why would I want to change that which I chose.
Alison: Not a lot of people believe they chose a life here once they’re in it.
Graham: That’s because this planet is one heavy planet but all that is changing so the experience becomes more consistent with that which we are in our more misty state.
Alison: Think I’ve run out of questions for now – maybe a part two?
Graham: Maybe yes