So, Anyway...

So, Anyway...

John Cleese

Language: English

Pages: 392

ISBN: 0385348266

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.

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beach (except one of Marty’s) was focused on me. This time, as I steeled myself for my third and final attempt (a lesson, thank God, consisted of only three goes), I cleared my mind, remembered to pull on the ring and lean back, but not too far, and to stand up, keeping my back straight and my arms half-braced, not at full stretch, as the boat pulled away, and to relax, above all to relax, and to try to take the full weight of my body on my thighs, and to keep my head up. And the boat surged and

panic and nearly say, “That’s not fair,” and then think twice about saying, “I’ll tell you in a moment but first I have to get another piece of chalk from the masters’ common room,” and in the end settle for “Well, what do you think they are?” and when he replies, without batting an eyelid, “1625 to 1649,” I smile inscrutably and say, “The most interesting thing about Charles the First is that he was a foot shorter at the end of his reign than he was at the beginning,” thinking this might get a

without feeling anticlimactic. So after this right-angled learning curve, my life on stage became pleasantly straightforward. I had only to turn up half an hour before the show, deliver my infrequent lines, make sure I stayed out of the orchestra pit, avoid becoming too conspicuous during the polka (a feat I managed by the time we opened on Broadway), and retire to my dressing room to read Damon Runyon and Scott Fitzgerald and James Thurber. 10 After our first few days in Boston (when Gene

was. And so, realising that I must not challenge his authority (as it was the only thing he possessed) I did as I was told and, breaking the law about giving incorrect information, crossed out UK and wrote “Great British.” Thus my visa was renewed. In a way I was disappointed that our show became such a hit in Hyde Park, because it extended our run by a week, and I found that I was missing Connie a lot. I wanted to get back to New York and make plans about our future. I was therefore relieved

their checks, or at least another drink. And at that point I did something naughty. I asked him to wait a moment, walked off stage, picked up a chair, brought it back on stage with me, sat down on it, and then thanked him and asked him to continue. He looked at me, his face slowly crumbled, and he started crying with laughter, sending out great sobs of mirth as he took the chair from me and sat down on it himself, spreading himself over the back of the chair, shaking and shaking with the

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