One of the honors that Just For Laughs bestows upon its top-level stars is the creation of a massive papier-mache likeness. This effigy is presented to said star after his or her show, and lives long after their visit as a character in the Festival’s annual parade.
Well, this year, Whoopi Goldberg, Martin Short and John Cleese were recipients of the giant heads. Whoopi’s was incredible; a true work of art. Martin’s was almost as good, capturing his impish spirit, but a little rough transport left a sizable gouge under the mammoth mask’s left eye. “Look, they even got my scar!” he kidded.But when it came to Cleese, the giant head missed the mark almost completely. It was a distorted grey-haired caricature, spotted with age spots and blemishes. It was brought backstage while John was in his dressing room, and he caught a glimpse of it while making his way back to the stage. He looked at it for a few seconds in bewilderment, and then went onstage to introduce an act.
Upon returning from the intro, a Just For Laughs exec asked him what he thought. In all seriousness, John said:
“Who’s that supposed to be?”
When told it was indeed a sculpture of him, John laughed uncontrollably.
“Me? You’re kidding! I thought there’s some sort of strange posthumous tribute being planned for Paul Newman.”
Judge for yourself with the picture below as I pose with John/Paul.