Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge,from Blogging for Books Program,
for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it
This wonderful new book is being released this week!
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.
Check out an interview with John about his book, by one of our favorite people, Adam Savage, from Mythbusters (some strong language, FYI):
This is the first memoir I've read where I could literally HEAR the author telling me the story, as I was reading it! Cleese's style of humor comes through in every line. We didn't watch a lot of TV when I was young, but PBS was allowed, and so at a very early age I was hooked on Monty Python and developed my sense of humor from watching Cleese over and over, so I couldn't wait to read this book. in fact, reading the book, you keep waiting for a 'pythonese' sketch to evolve, and frequently it does, and you will find yourself laughing out loud and running to tell someone about what you just read. And it typical fashion, they will have to read it, as you'll be too busy laughing to properly explain why you are in hysterics over simple lines like "I'd always been mystified by the paucity and sheer dreadfulness of traditional English drinks" or "having sacked myself on Friday, I was back earning my crust by Monday morning". Cleese is so intelligent and droll, that he can make a simple line absolutely hysterical when you imagine him saying it in a conversation to you!
This is the perfect book to read in starts and spurts, as you may need break from laughing so HARD! Cleese shows once again just how bloody brilliant he, and the wonderful people he was worked with over the years. There are some surprises in the book, that I won't divulge, except to say this is a must read book for all Cleese fans! I truly think being raised with smart humor that made you THINK, gave me a greater appreciation for the arts as a whole. My generation was blessed with very intelligent comics like Cleese and Robin Williams, whose quick tangents helped to keep US on our toes too!
Be sure to check out this book, or give it as a gift to a fan of Cleese's- they'll love you for it!
About the Author:
JOHN CLEESE, the star of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers and an entertainment legend, is also a lecturer on creativity and is currently professor-at-large at Cornell University. He currently spends most of his time in England.