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So, Anyway... by John Cleese

So, Anyway...

by John Cleese

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
I an entertaining read, but it reads like he was dictating the whole thing, lots of asides and long tangents. I can just picture him sitting in a nice comfy chair with a cocktail just rambling while a stenographer was typing away. That being said, if you're a fan of anything John Cleese related, you will enjoy this book. ( )
  hhornblower | May 10, 2018 |

This is the autobiography of John Cleese, up until the first day of Monty Python, starting with his birth and childhood in Weston-Super-Mare, then on to Cambridge and his early career in London (and to an extent in New York), with occasional flashforwards to more recent happenings. I was familiar with some of the basics already from Roger Wilmut's 1980 book From Fringe to Flying Circus; since then I have also read Cleese's two collaborations with Robin Skynner, and of course watched Python over and over.

Cleese has been more psychologically reflective than a lot of his fellow performers, and he shows off the fruits of his introspection - and is honest about his own failings and limitations, at least as he sees them. (He's still wrong about political correctness and Brexit, though the latter is not mentioned in this 2014 book.) There are some unexpected shafts of light. In particular, it was very pleasant to read of just how nice in person Harry Secombe turned out to be - Cleese had grown up venerating him and the Goons just as we in turn venerate Cleese and Python, and then ended up performing with Secombe, Milligan and Sellars at a reunion show. (Harry Secombe's granddaughter was our au pair for a few months back in 2002 - she hadn't mentioned it before she arrived, and, needless to say, I was blown away when she told us.)

I hadn't realised, though it's fairly obvious, that Cleese almost became a teacher, and indeed taught posh boys at his former school both immediately before and after his studies at Cambridge. That explains part of how he does so well in Clockwise. He explains his frustration with his mother all too well. And he attempts to explain the mysterious process of writing and performing - he feels that he is much better at the former than the later, which does make one wonder if this is another mistaken self-perception - if he was really such a bad performer, people would hardly continue asking him to do it!

Anyway, I found this an interesting insight into the dynamics of Cleese's own personality and his engagement with Python, and I hope that he will continue the story in a future volume. ( )
1 vote nwhyte | Mar 25, 2018 |
Interesting and amusing. Well written, obviously - he's an intelligent fella. Lots I didn't know - about his schooldays and early life, and that he went into teaching at his old private school, the period before Python took off and so on. No muckraking so anyone looking for the dirt on his ex wives will be disappointed! But he writes interestingly about his work and in particular the amount of work that goes into the film scripts he has done - and how hard they are to get right (which is why quite a few didn't do very well). The main detail is up to the Python period. No doubt another book is to follow - although the book isn't afraid to jump forwards when its relevant, its mainly about his early life. It does close just after the Python reunion shows at the O2 and the conclusion that performing is no longer what gets him excited, and that they were pleased to do it but have no regrets at saying "that's it".

Easy to read and engaging; looking forward to the 2nd volume, whenever that appears.
  Flip_Martian | Mar 23, 2018 |
Whether you know him as a Python or as The Pink Panther's Charles Dreyfus, chances are that at some point in your life, John Cleese has made you laugh. Easily one of my favorite comedic actors, John Cleese's memoir is a book that was worth the wait. From his quiet beginnings as the only child of older parents in a sleepy English town, to his adventures in school, and work as a teacher, we get a great view of the man who would become a star. When Cleese attended Cambridge University, he discovered that he had a penchant for comedy. There he also met some extremely talented individuals whom he would work closely with in his professional career and launched what would become the beginnings of the sensational Monty Python. As a fan, I enjoyed reading about Cleese's life and his somewhat reluctant existence in the spotlight. I now have a whole new appreciation for the man that has brought so much laughter into my living room!

Bettina P. / Marathon County Public Library
Find this book in our library catalog.
( )
  mcpl.wausau | Sep 25, 2017 |
If you've seen Cleese interviewed anywhere in the last 5 years, you'll know the tone of this book. Digressions galore on books he's read, especially pop psychology, and a Cleese-ian humorous turn of phrase, every few paragraphs, as he tells the tale of his life from childhood, as best he can remember it, to the beginning of Python. Part 2 from that point on clearly waits in the wings, but this remains engaging even during the slow bits, e.g., when he was a teacher who returned like Mr Kotter to the old neighborhood. ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Sep 17, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cleese, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Matsson, MarianneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Dad and Fish
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I made my first public appearance on the stairs up to the school nurse's room, at St. Peter's Preparatory School, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England, on September 13, 1948.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038534824X, Hardcover)

John Cleese’s towering comedic influence has stretched across generations; his sharp satirical eye and the unique brand of physical comedy he perfected with Monty Python, on Fawlty 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.

After getting his start as a writer and actor on the landmark David Frost-hosted The Frost Report, where he worked alongside many who would also later become comedy icons, Cleese landed his most famous role as a star of the TV show Monty Python's Flying Circus. To the legions of Python fans and comedy aficionados, Cleese's work with the Pythons has become the stuff of legend. His signature characters—including the Minister of Silly Walks and the owner (and would-be returner) of a dead parrot—embodied his knack for madcap buffoonery played completely straight and catapulted him to the shortlist of funniest men alive.

Twisting and turning through amazing 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:36 -0400)

In this rollicking memoir, Cleese takes his 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.… (more)

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