The Fawlty Towers creator said he clashed with Buckingham Palace in the past, when he wanted to be celebrated like James Bond. Cleese, 78, who has turned down both a life peerage and a CBE, told US television this week why he had not yet been knighted.
He said: “I am too naughty. I am untrustworthy, irreverent and vulgar. They have never asked me.”
In 1996 he snubbed a CBE – Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire – from the Queen.
He explained: “I said, ‘Can I call myself Commander Cleese, like Commander Bond?’ And they said, ‘No’. I said, ‘Well what is this British Empire?’. Well there isn’t one any more. So that is not worth it.”
And in an apparent swipe at his Monty Python co-star Michael Palin, who is a CBE, Cleese added: “These things are given out to people to make themselves feel better about themselves.”
Cleese said he rejected a peerage because he hated the prospect of attending the House of Lords during English winters.