Avahi ghomeshii

Jee-ahn Goh-meshi interviewing John Cleese (voiced /z/; it’s derived from “cheese”), Q, 2009.07.16 (≈29:12):

GHOMESHI: I don’t want to be too sycophantic here—

CLEESE: I don’t mind. I don’t care. [Ghomeshi chuckles] Go for it.

— But you’ve certainly led a distinguished career. In addition to all the awards—

— He’s reading again, ladies and gentlemen. He’s reading all this. Somebody wrote it for him. [Laughs]

— You have an... asteroid? named after you.

— Oh, yeah.

— And a species of lemur.

— Yeah, that – the second I’m really proud of, because I’d done a little bit, not a great deal, of conservation work. And a lovely guy called Urs Thalmann in Zurich wrote to me about four years ago and said that he had discovered, I think is the right word, a new species of lemur and it had been recognized as a new species.

— Which is like a monkey.

— They’re all on Madagascar. They’re the most delightful little creatures. Yes, they’re sort of cat-monkeys. They’re a branch of, uh – they’re a primate. But there’s about 35 different species, I think, and they are terrific little creatures, sweet and charming and remark— When they fight each other, when one tribe fights another, what they do is they make nasty smells and waft it towards the enemy by wagging their tails.

— It’s fantastic.

— This is the way all combat should be conducted. The only thing is that they are extremely dim. And in fact they were wiped out on the mainland of Africa in about 20 minutes because they went up to the, you know, the leopard and said “Hell, Mr. Leopard. What are you having for breakfast?” But on Madagascar, they have only one—

— So a bit Neville Chamberlain – yeah.

— Yes. [Laughs] Yes, that’s right. Neville Chamberlain was a lemur, actually, or rather, his great-grandfather was. So there is a lemur called Avahi cleesei, or Cleese’s woolly lemur, and I’m really, really very proud about that.

— That’s now named what – John Cleese?

— No, no, don— now, you silly man—

— I thought they were named after you!

— Yes, but it’s Avahi cleesei.

— Oh, I see.

— But that’s the Latin name. And then it’s known as Cleese’s woolly lemur. They’re not called John – that’s like the old—

[Theatrical laughter] I wasn’t sure! What they—

— That’s like the old joke. The grasshopper goes into the bar, you know? And hops up onto a counter and the barman looks at him and he says, he says, “We’ve got a drink named after you.” And the grasshopper says “What – ‘Brian’?”

— But I thought maybe it was a little John Cleese running around..

— Just change the subject.

— Well, OK, I’ll change the subject.

— Read something else.