Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
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, 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.
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 humor 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.
From the Hardcover edition.
best out of it. In other words, who was least likely to muck it up. One result of this was that we never wrote parts which were intended to showcase our talents, as actors would have done. Various Pythons. I am standing on Terry Gilliam. (photo credit 16.1) But because we were writers, our passion (please excuse this word, but my publisher’s marketing department asked that I should include it at some point) was invested in our scripts, and not in our acting. And sometimes this … passion … would
so calm and happy and everyone will be nice to everyone and everything will feel so easy.” But nothing ever happened. Dad didn’t mention it again. Dorothy, who had been staying with us, went away, and I didn’t see her again for a very long time. A year later we moved to Bristol, where I was soon to start as a day boy at Clifton College, and Mother, of course, came with us. I rather liked the new home. It felt familiar because it had been Grandpa’s for many years, and we used to visit him there;
bored. I’m out of here!” Here’s hoping.… I wasn’t exactly gone, though. A week later I was still a member of the Clifton College XI at Lord’s, when I was out, first ball. It didn’t matter though: the team won! And after playing cricket through the whole summer holidays … I was going back to Weston-super-Mare. 1 The final piece in this jigsaw was provided by Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence. When I finished this, I tried to imagine what a traditional public-school emotional education
“Smith,” I said. “Let’s start again. We are talking about two different rivers in two different countries in Africa. One river is called the Niger, and it flows through the country called Nigeria. Niger … ia? OK, now we move to the second of the two rivers, which is not called Niger, but instead is called the Congo, and the river called the river Congo … is found … in the Belgian … CONGO! Now … which river, the Congo or the Niger, is found in … Niger … ia?” Smith looked at me and made the “I am
touching each other, hugging, kissing, and generally displaying spontaneous physical affection of the kind that someone from Weston-super-Mare would have designated “brazen,” was definitely startling. Then, after about ninety minutes, it became strangely reassuring and appealing. Moreover, to my surprise, they accepted me as one of them, even after they had seen me dance. My sense of freakhood was diminishing. Along with this behavioural reconditioning, there was another major shift taking place