Cleese’s Tech Talk Takes Comic Turn

NEW YORK John Cleese reprises his role as Dr. Harold Trainwreck from the Institute of Backup Trauma for data security firm Iron Mountain Digital in “John Cleese’s Friendly Advice Machine” (

The English comedic actor dispenses humorous tips for digital security and answers wacky questions ranging from “Can I visit your Iron Mountain?” to “How can I get our executives in trouble?” Trainwreck, as his name implies, is just as unhinged as the “silly” questions asked of him.

As in a recent Titleist campaign, Cleese plays a number of oddball characters in the series to demonstrate the solutions offered by the company. In a funny clip spoofing court TV shows, Cleese explains how you can “keep your IT men safely locked away in their cubicles.” He sports a barrister’s wig and grills an IT guy—who is clueless and can only shout out the name of his cat—about accidentally deleting thousands of e-mails. In another he dons a beret and a goatee in front of the Eiffel Tower and chides viewers in an exaggerated French accent for asking how long e-mails should be kept for legal purposes. “Do not bother me with these trivialities,” he quips as he saunters off camera.

But the must-see clip on the site is appropriately labeled “Warning,” and opens with Cleese against what looks like a green screen and his admission that “it is impossible to convey the full elegance” of the company’s solution to controlling distributed data. As part of his anger-management plea bargain with the company, he explains, he is required to perform the solution as an interpretive dance.

Wearing a skin-tight, footed, blue leotard, he then proceeds to dance around a set decorated with a floor lamp, a vase of flowers, and a statue and a lamp displayed on pedestals. As he twirls and jumps across the set and the jazz rhythms pick up speed, so does the dance, which ends with Cleese kicking and smashing everything to the floor. It ends with him taking a bow, a satisfactory grin on his face and the sound of a lone clapper offering appreciation.