On Sunday afternoon, as part of the UCSB Arts & Lectures’ Student Appreciation Free Event Series, hundreds of students filed into Campbell Hall for a free afternoon with John Cleese.

Cleese, one of the founders of legendary comedy troupe Monty Python, came to UCSB for a short Question and Answer segment with students.

The event began with a screening of the 1979 Monty Python film “Life of Brian,” which satirizes religion and the story of Jesus Christ. The film, marketed in Sweden as, “So funny it was banned in Norway,” garnered much praise and controversy alike. Students did not seem to mind the controversial subject matter as the hall filled with laughter.

Once the film ended, Cleese came out and talked for a few minutes about his experience filming “Life of Brian.” Students asked questions which varied from silliness to serious inquiries about the processes of writing. Cleese gave his opinions on working in various films through the years as well as the general filmmaking process.

A sampling of opinions Cleese expressed included his favorite line in Monty Python’s “Flying Circus” which came from the sketch “Whizzo Chocolate Company.” He hated working as Nearly Headless Nick in the live action Harry Potter films due to the uncomfortable filming process and he prefers “Life of Brian” to “Monte Python and the Holy Grail.” He thinks “The Meaning of Life” is the worst Monty Python film because he “never felt it was really about anything.”

Cleese discussed the mentality behind the creation of “Life of Brian,” which, since its release, has a reputation as an “anti-religion” film. Cleese denied anti-religious sentiment, saying the satire is of religious people rather than religion itself.

“If you take any religion you can say some people get it and some people don’t, obviously, the Spanish Inquisition didn’t,” Cleese said.

Cleese compared the interpretations of religion from people at the “top of mental health” with the people at the “bottom.”

“Christianity is interpreted differently, some very sophisticated and some not,” Cleese said. “People at the top of mental health have more in common with each other than people at the bottom.”

Cleese’s advice to writers and comics included setting a space and time apart from the day to be alone and uninterrupted from your creative thoughts. He shuns technology because he claims that it provides a gateway to endless distractions.