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So, Anyway... by John Cleese

Sue Baker's view...

The long-awaited autobiography from John Cleese, co-founder of Monty Python and star of Fawlty Towers. How John Marwood Cleese left Weston-super-Mare and conquered the world of comedy with many digressions along the way.

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The Pythons' Autobiography, by the Pythons

The Complete Fawlty Towers, John Cleese & Connie Booth

Who is Sue Baker

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. In hugely entertaining prose, Cleese recounts his early years, including a hilarious period spent teaching at his old prep school before going to Cambridge. There he became part of the famous Footlights, along with Graham Chapman, Graeme Garden, Tim Brook-Taylor and Bill Oddie (later the ‘Goodies’), and despite lack of study, he managed to get a passable law degree. He was about to embark on a legal career, when he was offered a job as a trainee producer-writer in the BBC Radio Light Entertainment Department, the start of a burgeoning career as a talented writer and comedian Cleese goes on to outline the materialization of the Monty Python team, his meeting and marrying Connie Booth, with whom he co-wrote and starred in Fawlty Towers, but he doesn’t dwell on many post-Python projects. One ends the book feeling that there is a lot more to tell, but one thing is certain, the legal world’s loss is certainly the public’s gain.
~ Fiona Lafferty


So, Anyway... by John Cleese

Candid and brilliantly funny, this is the story of how a tall, shy youth from Weston-super-Mare went on to become a comedy giant. En route, John Cleese describes his nerve-wracking first public appearance, at St Peter's Preparatory School at the age of 8 and 5/6ths; his endlessly peripatetic home life with parents who seemed incapable of staying in any house for longer than six months; his first experiences in the world of work as a teacher who knew next to nothing about the subjects he was expected to teach; his hamster-owning days at Cambridge; and his first encounter with the man who would be his writing partner for over two decades, Graham Chapman. And so on to his dizzying ascent via script-writing for Peter Sellers, David Frost, Marty Feldman and others to the heights of Monty Python. Punctuated from time to time with John Cleese's thoughts on topics as diverse as the nature of comedy, the relative merits of cricket and water-skiing, and the importance of knowing the dates of all the kings and queens of England, this is a masterly performance by a master performer.


Vivid, ridiculously entertaining, and, at times, explosively funny... Cleese is a master of crisp comic prose: his elegant syntax and sudden absurdities would have PG Wodehouse raising a martini glass. So, Anyway... glows with fairness, kindness, gentleness and loyalty. -- Nicholas Barber Sunday Express Told with considerable charm and a refreshing amount of candour, the story is one of a vulnerable soul gradually finding a degree of security from behind a carapace of cutting wit... Remarkably warm and generous. -- Graham McCann Times Literary Supplement 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 So, Anyway... breaks away from the shallow conventions of the famous person's autobiography... The result is a book that is frequently hilarious, occasionally lyrical and always thoughtful. It is a fine and funny achievement. Herald Like having a long lunch with an amiable, slightly loony uncle. Who also happens to be John Cleese. -- Michael Ian Black New York Times Left me wiping away tears. -- Helen Brown Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

John Marwood Cleese was born in Weston-super-Mare in 1939 and educated at Clifton College and at Cambridge. He achieved his first big success in the West End and as a scriptwriter and performer on The Frost Report. He went on to co-found the legendary Monty Python comedy troupe, writing and performing in the first three TV series and in Monty Python films that include Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Life of Brian. In the mid-1970s, John Cleese and his first wife, Connie Booth, co-wrote and starred in the now-classic sitcom, Fawlty Towers. Later, he wrote and co-starred in A Fish Called Wanda and Fierce Creatures. He has appeared in many other films, from James Bond to Harry Potter to Shrek, and has guest-starred in TV shows that have included 3rd Rock from the Sun, Will & Grace and Entourage. He lives in London.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


John Cleese

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