So, Anyway

So, Anyway

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
19
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Random House, Inc.

John Cleese’s huge comedic influence has stretched across generations; his sharp irreverent eye and the unique brand of physical comedy he perfected with Monty Python, onFawlty Towers, and beyond now seem written into comedy’s DNA. In this rollicking memoir,So, Anyway…, Cleese takes readers on a Grand Tour of his ascent in the entertainment world, from his humble beginnings in a sleepy English town and his early comedic days at Cambridge University (with future Python partner Graham Chapman), to the founding of the landmark comedy troupe that would propel him to worldwide renown.

Cleese was just days away from graduating Cambridge and setting off on a law career when he was visited by two BBC executives, who offered him a job writing comedy for radio. That fateful moment—and a near-simultaneous offer to take his university humour revue to London’s famed West End—propelled him down a different path, cutting his teeth writing for stars like David Frost and Peter Sellers, and eventually joining the five other Pythons to pioneer a new kind of comedy that prized invention, silliness, and absurdity. Along the way, he found his first true love with the actress Connie Booth and transformed himself from a reluctant performer to a world-class actor and back again.

Twisting and turning through surprising stories and hilarious digressions—with some brief pauses along the way that comprise a fascinating primer on what’s funny and why—this story of a young man’s journey to the pinnacle of comedy is a masterly performance by a master performer.



Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, c2014
ISBN: 9780385680240
Branch Call Number: BIO Cleese CLE
Characteristics: 392 p., [24] p. of plates :,ill., ports. ;,24 cm.

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jbjrloewen2
Jun 02, 2017

A mixed bag to be sure. I found the early parts more entertaining because he had to recall the past from punctuated memories. This left room for more subjective story telling. As events unfolded in his career, the details of who he encountered and times and places became a bit tiring. Mr. Cleese is best when he is either inspired or annoyed at his predicament. I am sure there are folks who do expect the biography part, but I sympathize with those who want to be entertained by someone witty. A good editor would have helped, but worth a read.

c
coralsky
Jan 12, 2017

I had high hopes for this book. Terrible. The first half of the book could have been condensed into about 10 pages. I really do not care what classes he took at Cambridge while studying to be a lawyer nor what he had for lunch on a Wednesday in 1965. I had hoped for much more humour. Not there.

s
SPSit
Sep 16, 2016

It was a good book. But after almost 400 pages, he took us to 1969. So there may be a few more books to come to cover the last 45 years?

w
wmf213
Mar 19, 2016

The book is basically a memoir of the author's life up to 1969, and the beginnings of Monty Python's Flying Circus. It's filled with wonderful insights and commentary on middle class life in his corner of Britain during the 1950's and 60's , and is rich with anecdotes and portraits of his teachers, friends, fellow comedians and various odd characters that he encountered along the way. It's also a remarkable history of British comedy during the period, told largely from the inside. You'll find all kinds of humour in the the book, ranging from gentle and self-effacing, to sharply satirical and edgy. Cleese's ability to turn absurdity into something sublimely funny seems to have developed early, finally blossoming into the surreal lunacy of Monty P. Most readers will be puzzled if they expect something like a meticulous autobiography (You have to consult Wikipedia to find out that he was married four times - only his first wife, Connie Booth, is even mentioned in the book) but if you regard John Cleese as one of the great comic writer/actors of our time, this book is a must read.

If you want to know what John Cleese's life was like before, during and after Monty Python than I highly recommend this book. It's not a very quick read but one can really get into it. It has a a lot of Monty Python humour and is, in my opinion, worth the wait! (As featured on the Graham Norton Show with John Cleese and Taylor Swift)
:):):):):):):):):)

Radharc Feb 25, 2016

I can see why some reviewers didn't care for the book, probably expecting it to be chock full of Pythonesque humor. Instead, we readers are treated to a very honest account of Cleese's youth and a rather detailed account of how he got his start. There is a great deal of humor in the book, but not at the level that some apparently expect. Still, it's worthwhile read for hardcore fans who want to catch a glimpse of the real Cleese.

k
Kathu
Jul 27, 2015

Having read the mixed reviews, I wasn't sure what to expect. I enjoyed the whole book and didn't want to skip anything lest I miss any funny bits. I found myself chuckling out loud a number of times and couldn't resists reading a few excerpts to my spouse. I agree that it would be great to have John himself read this for a 'book on CD'.

f
FrankMpls
Jun 18, 2015

And now for something completely different. His memoir is fun ! If you love The Pythons then this book will entertain you

l
ljh_4
Jun 15, 2015

Very entertaining with a lot of interesting insights into his crafts.

o
occy
May 13, 2015

I was very disappointed in this book especially as I was really looking forward to reading it after listening to him being interviewed on TV. In actual fact I only read about 1/2 of it and threw in the towel. It was boring to the point I found I was skipping huge portions of it.

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