Eric Idle and John Cleese have been in town since Monday. But Idle didn't have a chance to go walking around and explore Sarasota until Wednesday morning.
"I was lucky enough to find a book shop," Idle said. "And a cheese shop! I found a cheese shop. I can't want to take John there and see the look on their faces when he walks in."
If you don't understand the reference, you're probably not too interested in going to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall today or Friday.
Idle and Cleese are, of course, two of the six members of Monty Python, the great British group that revolutionized comedy through its TV show, records and films.
Local audiences will be the first in the world to see a show they're calling "John Cleese and Eric Idle Together Again at Last for the Very First Time."
Although they've been friends since they met at Oxford 52 years ago, and they've been working together on-and-off for almost that long, this is the first stage show they've done that's just the two of them.
But if you're coming to see Cleese and Idle re-create classic Python bits -- "The Cheese Shop," (in which Cleese encounters a cheese chop that's "uncontaminated by cheese," "The Dead Parrot" or "Spam" -- you might go away disappointed.
It's a somewhat free-form show Idle says, largely improvised, and it's going to be different every night. "Loose" is the word he repeats in describing it.
The two old friends will sit and converse, reminisce about the Python days, show some old film clips and offer some commentary, and perform some skits from something called "The 1948 Show."
That was a British sketch comedy show from 1966 or 1967, Idle said, that featured Cleese, Graham Chapman (who would also become a member of Monty Python) and bug-eyed comic actor Marty Feldman.
"I had a few little bits as a walk-on," Idle said.
"The 1948 show" has recently been unearthed and is being shown on British TV for the first time in decades.
"I watch it and it's still funny," Idle said.
And in one of the bits from "1948" that Cleese will re-create on the Van Wezel stage, Cleese plays a Swiss dairymaid. Idle laughs heartily just talking about the image of the 6-foot-7 Cleese dressed like Shirley Temple in "Heidi."
The second act of the show consists largely of solo bits from Idle and Cleese. Cleese will go on first, and then "I'll sing some of my dirty songs for 15 or 20 minutes," Idle said.
Idle is the writer or co-writer of many of Monty Python's memorable musical numbers, including "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from "Monty Python's Life of Brian." He's also the co-writer of "Spamalot," the great Broadway musical loosely based on "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
Cleese and Idle start the tour in Sarasota, and most of the shows are in Florida. Cleese still lives in England, and the weather gets nasty there this time of year, so he suggested a Southern United States tour. That was fine with Idle, who lives in Los Angeles but prefers Florida's weather.
The tour was supposed to start Friday, but the first Van Wezel show sold so quickly that a Thursday show was added. (Cleese and Idle will also perform in Fort Myers on Saturday and in Clearwater Oct. 14-15.)
Even though this show is mostly Python-free, Idle said he's still proud and a bit astonished by the legacy created by he and Cleese, Chapman, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin with the group that hit its heyday in the 1970s. He's both flattered and a little annoyed when strangers launch into segments of "The Knights Who Say Ni" or repeat such lines as "Nudge nudge, say no more."
"People still come up to me and quote Python," he said. "Who could have imagined that? Comedy sketches that people are still quoting 40 years later?"
"Of course," he said, "they always get it wrong. They say 'I'll never forget this,' and as it turns out they never remembered it in the first place."
Details: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1-2, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $68.67-$114.47. Information: 941-953-3368, vanwezel.org.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.