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.
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.
Publication date: 09/10/2014
Publisher: Random House Books an imprint of Cornerstone
|Publication date:||9th October 2014|
|Publisher:||Random House Books an imprint of Cornerstone|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites,|
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 ...More About John Cleese