NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “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.”—The Washington Post
The legendary writer and performer of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers fame takes readers on a grand tour of his ascent in the entertainment world
John Cleese’s huge comedic influence has stretched across generations; his sharp irreverent eye and the unique brand of physical comedy he perfected now seem written into comedy’s DNA. In this rollicking memoir, Cleese recalls his humble beginnings in a sleepy English town, his early comedic days at Cambridge University (with future Python partner Graham Chapman), and 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.
Worth the read
Interesting. Funny at points, but not a comedic "act." This is, as billed, an autobiography of a talented, interesting and at times insightful man who made us laugh. If you are wanting to read a Monty Python script, this is not it. If you want to read about the life and work of a wonderful comedic writer, this is worth the read.
Oh, the difference, between being solemn and being serious
"So, Anyway" is, as Robin Williams would say... "pretty wonderful." It is full of gentle hard-won wisdom and keen insights. And very funny.
Oh, the difference, between being solemn and being serious. And, as an animal lover, knowing that John Cleese had a hamster at Cambridge,
just makes me love him more.
My only frustration is that I can HEAR John Cleese speaking in my head as I read it. It is almost painful that no audiobook exists.
Please Mr. Cleese...read your book to us.
Comic genius. But sadly, not here.
I'm a huge fan. John Cleese has created or contributed to some of my favorite comedy sketches, shows and movies. However, for his memoir I think he has adopted the persona of Basil Fawlty. He just seems so annoyed at...well...everything (especially his mother). This book is a series of very banal and uninteresting episodes from his youth. I couldn't bring myself to care about almost any of it. It was basically like I'd written a memoir of my own life and tried to sell it to people. It's all important to me but not to anyone else. And John seems to be still upset about stuff that happened when he was a kid. He's 70 now! He rails and the injustice of not being made a prefect at some school he went to. He lists reasons why he should have been selected. Really, he lists reasons....all these years later. I don't get it. I actually didn't need this memoir to be funny. I just hoped it would be interesting. It isn't. Sorry John. As an antidote to this book I watched Fawlty Towers, Life of Brian and some Python sketches. Cleese helped shape modern comedy. He is a genius. I just didn't find it in this memoir.