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So, Anyway...

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  13,521 ratings  ·  1,595 reviews
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 beginn ...more
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by Crown Archetype (first published October 9th 2014)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,521 ratings  ·  1,595 reviews

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Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-english
3.5 ⭐'s ...more
Update Rant:(Because apparently I have to state the obvious).This review is simply my personal opinion of this book, everyone else is entitled to their own opinion. Just as I do not begrudge readers who enjoy books I hate and/or hate books I love, I would appreciate if others would do the same. My rating of this book has nothing to do with John Cleese as a person or his previous or current works. This rating is based on my OWN OPINION of this single book. Being attacked for an unbiased review is ...more
R handed me the package with a wry smile and an apologetic twist of the mouth. "I know it's not your usual style Mum. But it's not the run-of-the-mill celebrity memoir, I'm sure...."
Celebrity memoir!?!?!? Sheesh.
But then I opened it.
The best presents are the ones you never knew you wanted.

For yes, I have long nurtured a secret, what shall I say? idolization esteem? fondness? for Mr Cleese. For one thing he makes me laugh, quite helplessly and uncontrollably, and for another he dreamt
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads, arcs
I received an advance copy of this autobiography from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a very generous and unexpected autobiography. I say that because most books of these types merely retell the scandals, bask in the highlights, and dish the dirt on the nasty habits of famous people. Well, we all love that and if we are being honest, that is why we paid the price of admission.

Not so this time. While Mr. Cleese does tell us what he really thinks of some of the famous, and not s
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was like a sandwich made from really good bread but nothing else. It was highly entertaining, but absolutely incomplete. It was a fascinating and amusing insight into John Cleese's childhood and early career, but then simply and abruptly stops short. He gives detailed accounts of every production that he ever did prior to the Pythons, including transcripts of many sketches but once he arrives at his Python years, he stops so suddenly that you begin to search the cover for something abo ...more
Lance Carney
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I expected a book about Monty Python member, John Cleese, to be a wacky, non-linear story of life sketches linked together by loony intervals (“That’s a link!”) Instead, it was wonderful remembrances starting with his childhood and ending at Monty Python. Of note, if you are a Python fan you only get the last two chapters about the actual writing and performing of the show and the 2014 Reunion shows. However, along the way you learn the genesis of classics like the cheese shop and dead parrot sk ...more
Aug 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Boy did this one suck to review.

To clear the air, I should start by saying I love everything Python. And in interviews about the book, Cleese always came off as kind and as witty as ever.

So I expected to find more of that inside the book. I assumed this was reasonable request....

Luckily I was also aware that John Cleese has been known to be difficult at times, and as it turns out, this is the Cleese I should have been expecting.

This is the Cleese who seems to enjoy nothing more than spending his
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought So, Anyway... by John Cleese on a whim. It was an Audible deal of the day. Why not? I like John Cleese's work. I like Monty Python. I like comedy. It was a bargain price.

It was much better than I was expecting. An absolute delight. John focuses on his early life through to the first Monty Python programmes, with a final chapter on the Monty Python reunion shows at the O2 Arena in 2014. Reading about these shows sent me off to YouTube to watch some of the show and I recommend you do the

Cleese's autobiography is charming and pithy with a few jabs, here and there. He really does start at the beginning and wends his way through to the advent of Monty Python. He gives his view of events and interactions that helped mould his writing and humor from blurry half-formed early memories, parental forces, school days' antics, university wing-stretching, to kissed-by-lady luck career start.

Blessings. Cleese is generous in his praise and his long-lived writing partnership wit
[I've gotten behind in my reviews, and I was having a hard time convincing myself to write the next one in order, so screw that, I just moved on to the one I wanted to write about at the moment, and I may or may not ever succeed at filling in the gaps. But because I'm so behind, and taking a leave from work, I'm going to try to get all caught up, which means I may well be clogging up your feed for which I am sorry.]

This is exactly the sort of book I want to read by any sort of famous person. Man
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

I love reading memoirs, especially of different BBC actors I enjoy.

John Cleese did a great job of writing this book. Some of the books I have read just talk about their lives in film, plays, etc., but in this book JC actually writes about his childhood.

I would never have known he was bullied when he was younger. They thought he was a sissy, among other things. And he was tall at a very young age! At some point when he got a little older the bullying finally
Claire Jones
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me get this out of the way - I am a huge Python fan and will read or watch pretty much anything to do with them. I do, however, find Cleese to be a bit abrasive and sneery at times, so I was unsure as to whether or not I'd enjoy reading this book.

Well, I must say that I found myself pleasantly surprised. I love it when you can really hear an author's voice coming through the text, and this book makes you feel that Cleese is in the same room, reading it aloud to you.

True, for Python nerds s
Bill Lynas
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few months ago my daughter & I were fortunate enough to spend an evening at the theatre (remember those days ?!) listening to comedy legend John Cleese talk about his life. Every story he told was amusing & fascinating & I could have listened to him for days. So, this looked like a natural follow up to seeing him on stage.
Cleese takes us through his early days at school & university as well as moving house endless times....although his family always seemed to end up living back in Weston-super
Wart Hill
[I received a free ARC of this book via NetGalley. This fact has no bearing on my review]

You can read this and other reviews at Things I Find While Shelving

Who doesn’t wan to read about John Cleese?!

So. I love him. I love his wacky comedy. I think is a wonderful actor, and thus I jumped at the chance to read an ARC of his autobiography. And I’m super glad I did. I realize a lot of people think of three stars as closer to “meh”, but honestly I did like this a lot. It was great to get a look at hi
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish this could have gone on forever...
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The narration to this book was *on point*, I laughed through the whole book. I figured I would like it since every time I've seen this guy in interviews he always seems well spoken and interesting.

I learned a TON about this guy, and he's unbelievably endearing. He talked about his childhood and it was just so... mature how he looked at his mother who was extremly difficult to live with because of SEVERE anxiety issues. He was really able to take a step back and see why she was the way she was,
BAM Endlessly Booked
I can only recommend the audio version of this book as Cleese narrates his life story and he's simply wonderful. Also there are sound bytes of various skits through the years that had me laughing out loud at my desk ...more

So anyway, the first thing I ever saw John Cleese in was Fawlty Towers or A Fish Called Wanda. Can’t remember which, but there it is. I love MP though, and all that. It makes me laugh, Hell’s Grannies and all. A Fish Called Wanda is absolutely friggin awesome, and it’s a shame Fierce Creatures doesn’t get more respect.

So anyway, that is why my friend gave me this book for Christmas. Which is funny because I almost gave it to him? I ended up giving him Alan Cumming’s instead, something my frien
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, net-galley, n, 2014
I loved John Cleese’ writing style. I felt as though I was sat listening to him. I could virtually hear him reading out loud to me. I didn’t know a great deal about John Cleese before reading this- but thought he would be a really interesting character and love to discover autobiographies like this.

I liked the bit about his father going out to India after the war years and how this shaped his life.
Cleese was part of the real comedy years- along with lots of the comedy greats and it was lovely to
Matt Shaw
Oct 31, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So Anyway... I bought this because I am (was) a fan of John Cleese. There is no doubting the man's comedic abilities and Fawlty Towers remains one of comedy's finest television programs but this... This... I failed to really get into it. I found it quite boring. That's not to say he hasn't worked hard or even had an interesting life - I just found the overall style with which he told it to be dull. I made it halfway through this book before giving up on it completely and giving it to someone els ...more
3.5 stars.

Look, to be perfectly honest? A huge part of that rating is that I didn't even read the blurb before I read this. And so it's entirely my own fault that I went in expecting a whole lot of stuff about Monty Python and got basically one chapter of Monty Python and a million chapters of NOT Monty Python.

So. Instead of dealing with Monty Python, this instead deals with Cleese's early life and his earliest exploits in television. It was laugh-out-loud funny at times, and I loved seeing how
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am not a fan of this latest trend of dividing a story up to make more money. It happens in the movies (the third Hunger Games book, one of those Twilight books, and three (!) movies out of The Hobbit) and now it is happening in publishing. Angelica Huston divided her life into two books and now John Cleese has done the same thing. One hopes he is writing a second, that is, because he ends this book just at the point of his life I wanted to read about. And the point everyone wants to read about ...more
Though I am a John Cleese fan, I rarely watched Monty Python when it originally aired. (It was on at a bad time for me, as I recall.) Nonetheless, certain bits and bobs did make their way into my world, enough so that I occasionally find myself singing the lumberjack song, or chuckling about dead parrots. I was introduced to Fawlty Towers when it originally aired, and adored it-- so much so that we have the complete set (on VHS no less, and introduced our kids to it at a tender age.) What I like ...more
I expected to hate this one based on some of the reviews, but the bitterness -- which, let's face it, is a trait he's long been known for -- really is nowhere near as pervasive as some have made it sound. I think what is throwing some is that the book is almost exclusively about his childhood and university/very early career experiences, and he writes it not as a comedy book but as a serious memoir, so it's not going to read like a Python sketch.

He is, unsurprisingly, a wonderful writer, but in
May 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gentle, pastoral reflection on Cleese' youth all the way up to starting Python. Home, Cambridge, and his time in New York finding his softer side and better half. Far better than I was expecting and, if Cleese is one of your pop-culture Dads then this is a lovely grown up lullaby from him. Also if you are interested in the mysteries of process and the percentage of happy accident that goes into creative success there's plenty of that too. Not nearly enough digs at Michael Pallin and not nearly ...more
Sam Torode
Dec 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Considering that this book skips the years 1970-2013, I wonder whether a sequel is in the works. Still, I greatly enjoyed the insights into the craft of comedy, and it sent me to YouTube to look up "At Last the 1948 Show," "Do Not Adjust Your Set," the Goons, the Goodies, and many other comics & comedies I hadn't heard of before... ...more
Martin io parlo italiono
Have met John Cleese
Jim Whitefield
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I say this was the best (and worst) autobiography I have ever read, that is because it is the only autobiography I have ever read. It is not a genre I have previously ventured into. However, this (as it turns out), thoughtful Christmas present from very dear friends was an inspired gift which I enjoyed reading immensely. I am a huge Python fan and I had the privilege, when I was the Business Manager of The International University – Europe (in Bushey, near Watford, England), of having the Pyt ...more
Jul 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
Listen, this is a book about John Cleese's life, yes? Not a book dedicated to rehashing all the same information you can find out from a thousand other sources about the Python years, right? It's not a book about the conflicts and dramas behind the scenes at the height of his career, is it? Nor has it been presented as a cover-to-cover laugh riot, a 300+ joke and gag book, now has it? No, it's not, and it has not! What it is, is a darn good bit of bloody insightful backstory from the big cheese ...more
Spencer Rich
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stars might be a little too high, but this is a fun book, focusing mainly on Cleese's pre-Python exploits. I suppose he felt that the Python years had been sufficiently covered to avoid much talking about them, other than how he met various members. it would have been nice to have more from the Fish Called Wanda/Muppet Murder Mystery years, but honestly, the man could spin a yarn about anything and it would be enjoyable reading, though maybe not as fun as Palin's diaries. ...more
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John Marwood Cleese is an English actor, comedian, writer, film producer, and singer.

Cleese is probably best known for his various roles in the British comedy Monty Python's Flying Circus, his role as Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers and his various roles in the British comedy The Frost Report. He also played the role of Archie Leach in the American / British comedy film A Fish Called Wanda.

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“I noticed years ago that when people (myself definitely included) are anxious they tend to busy themselves with irrelevant activities, because these distract from and therefore reduce their actual experience of anxiety. To stay perfectly still is to feel the fear at its maximum intensity, so instead you scuttle around doing things as though you are, in some mysterious way, short of time.” 26 likes
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