Palmerston North's mayor has hit back at English comedian John Cleese for scathing remarks he made about the city on his website.
Cleese, of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers, visited Palmerston North last November as part of his "My Life, Time and Current Medical Problems" tour.
In comments recently put on a recorded podcast on his website www.thejohncleese.com, the comedian is scathing about Palmerston North, the Manawatu Standard reported.
Cleese calls the city "the suicide capital of New Zealand" and says, "If you wish to kill yourself but lack the courage to, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick."
Cleese did not stop there.
"We stayed in a little motel. The weather was grotty, the theatre was a nasty shape and the audience was very strange to play to."
Cleese said the audience laughed in all the wrong places and he had a "thoroughly bloody miserable time" in the city.
He praised other places, describing Invercargill as "delightful", Christchurch as "a very nice town", Wellington as "sophisticated, fun and lively", Napier as a "fabulous little place" and said Auckland had high-quality restaurants.
Palmerston North Mayor Heather Tanguay has hit back at Cleese, suggesting the medical problems he spoke about during his show may have been to blame.
"Obviously he still has trouble with his medical problems and may need some more medication" she said.
* Hamilton also came in for roasting this week, from the Queensland Reds Super 14 rugby team. The Reds were said to have blamed pre-match boredom in Hamilton as one reason for losing to the Chiefs on Friday night.
Skipper Chris Latham suggested in aftermatch comments that New Zealand's fourth largest city was not the vibrant, energising centre that professional rugby players of his calibre needed in order to bring the best out of the players.
"We had three very high intensity games at home and this was our first game away in what would not be the world's most exciting town," Latham was reported to have said. "If we were in sunny Brisbane, there's a lot of things to do and a lot of places to go and get out and get motivated and get moving."