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So, Anyway... Hardcover – November 4, 2014
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“So, Anyway... ambles along in loose fashion, taking its time, stopping to admire the view here and there, dispensing a little social commentary...and otherwise taking the scenic route through a mostly sunny landscape. The effect is a bit like having a long lunch with an amiable, slightly loony uncle. Who also happens to be John Cleese.” —Michael Ian Black, The New York Times Book Review
“John Cleese’s memoir is just about everything one would expect of its author — smart, thoughtful, provocative and above all funny… a picture, if you will, of the artist as a young man.” —Washington Post
“Give John Cleese points for candor...Give him additional points for graceful writing and sly humor..” —Philadelphia Inquirer
“The long-awaited story of the actor’s life, told how he wants to tell it.” —The Guardian
About the Author
JOHN CLEESE cofounded the legendary Monty Python comedy troupe, writing and performing in the first three TV seasons of Flying Circus and in films that include Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Life of Brian. He cowrote and starred in the sitcom Fawlty Towers, and wrote and costarred in A Fish Called Wanda and Fierce Creatures. He has also coauthored two best-selling books on Psychology.
Top Customer Reviews
There is bitterness in it too, as if there is a grumpy old man sharing the same skull with the genius who delighted so many people around the world, and the grumpy man is wondering why he can't experience some of that delight for himself. That man seems to be searching for meaning, something I hope John will find eventually. Though I suspect had he found it earlier in life, he'd have been a happier man and we wouldn't have as much of his hilarious work to enjoy.
But there is also good fun peppered throughout the book -- a few stories you'll remember which I think were alone worth the price and the time. In the end, I was sorry the book ended, but given that John basically just covered the first half of his life, there's hope that one day we'll get part II.
Cleese was about to graduate from Cambridge and go on to a career in law when he was approached by the BBC to begin writing for them, based on his experience with the Cambridge student comedy. He worked for some major names before becoming part of the uber-famous Monty Python troupe. As a senior member of that group, he had a lot of creative and organizational sway, but the overall success was that all of the members worked as a team. The Dead Parrot sketch, for example, came out of an older routine that involved a used-car salesman, and the writing went through many different potential dead animals (injured animals would not be funny, and you have to know what’s funny) before they settled on the ex-parrot who had ceased to be.
Cleese talks about his relationships private and professional, including some that overlapped (Connie Booth, for example, was both his wife and his co-star on the cult classic series ‘Fawlty Towers’). He also talks about the various films he’s been in, often portraying very similar characters (who doesn’t expect Cleese to be part Python and part Fawlty no matter what he’s doing?) but successfully melding them into different settings.
There aren’t many great and grand revelations here, but some interesting insights and tidbits along the way that will please fans of comedy in general and of British comedy, Fawlty Towers, and Monty Python in particular.Read more ›
It's a wonderful thing that Cleese did not become a lawyer. Can you imagine John Cleese defending you on a murder charge?
It's true that this book spends a lot of time on the details of the author's childhood childhood and college days, but I still found it interesting. Not surprisingly, Cleese was an awkward bullied boy, not very popular at all. He did not have a great childhood, and had a very awkward relationship with his parents--especially his mother.
When Cleese started doing comic sketches in his college days, he discovered, as he put it, his "one really great talent." He had a great sense of timing. He really knew how to time his lines, and became adept at watching and understanding the audience reaction.
I thought this book was supposed to be a funny book, but it's not (and not supposed to be.) Rather, it's an interesting study of one of the funniest comedians in history. The book is very well written and easy to follow. I thought the book was a little slow at times, mostly when the author accounts all of the various childhood chums and so on. But overall, I enjoyed reading this book, and I now know a lot more about this great comedian.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Didn't know it was an autobiography, but was completely happy with and amused by this book. You hear his voice throughout!Published 5 days ago by Ducky
This review comes from someone whose two first places in England as "must" visits were Fawlty Towers and George Vancouver's grave. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Amazon CustomerJan Koltun
The story of John Cleese's life that barely mentions Faulty Towers (IMHO a greater artistic legacy than his collaborative contribution to Monty Python's Flying Circus) and A Fish... Read morePublished 26 days ago by William Marantz
A great look at John Cleese's life prior to Monty Python. It was interesting to see how some of those earlier experiences influenced some of his work with the Pythons.Published 28 days ago by Chipper
What a wonderful book-more like hanging out with an old friend rather than reading a book. The stories behind the shows and sketches are great.Published 1 month ago by Nancy J. Newnan
I very much enjoyed the book but I was hoping to read about the creative process in some of the iconic Monty Python skits. Sadly this was noticeably missing from the book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Fishtaxi
I am a Monty Python fan who has long admired John Cleese's work. This book could have used a bit of editing in the later chapters. He is quite cynical. Read morePublished 1 month ago by SarahPsych