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So, Anyway...

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  7,190 ratings  ·  1,188 reviews
Candid and brilliantly funny, this is the story of how a tall, shy youth from Weston-super-Mare went on to become a self-confessed legend. En route, John Cleese describes his nerve-racking first public appearance, at St Peter’s Preparatory School at the age of eight and five-sixths; his endlessly peripatetic home life with parents who seemed incapable of staying in any hou ...more
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by Crown Archetype (first published October 9th 2014)
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Dana
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
·Karen·
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Ha!
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 up
...more
Chris
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, 2014-reads
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
...more
Lance Carney
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Patrick
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
...more
Jane Fish
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Nigeyb
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Alexandra
Ja lieber John Cleese wo warst Du noch mal mit Deinen Gedanken.....
Auf jeden Fall überhaupt nicht dort, wo ich Dich erwartet hätte. Wenn ich eine Cleese Biografie lese, will ich wissen, wie der Ritter der Kokosnuss entstanden ist, wie die Sexszenen mit Jamie Lee Curtis waren, wie zur Hölle die Pythons auf einige Szenen im Sinn des Lebens und beim Leben des Brian gekommen sind, wie man mit meinem Regie-Idol Terry Gilliam zusammenarbeiten kann und wie die Truppe sich so ganz privat aufführt.

Was ha
...more
Kaethe
[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
...more
Claire Jones
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Chris

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
...more
Esmerelda Weatherwax
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
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,
...more
K.
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
...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
www.melissa413readsalot.blogspot.com

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
...more
Kim
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, kindle, net-galley, n
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
...more
Wart Hill
Sep 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc2014, netgalley, nf-bio
[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
...more
Ashley
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
...more
Amy
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
Edmole
May 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Matt Shaw
Oct 31, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Sam Torode
Dec 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
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...
Jim Whitefield
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jason
Jul 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Richard
Dec 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
Bios are morbidly fascinating usually but this one is morose and monotonous. There is never a pulse of sense of joy and even the most fascinating moments are told with such a dour lifeless tone as to make me feel his intent was to bore and annoy more than entertain and illuminate.

An absolute waste of time
Andrea
Nicely readable, focusing primarily on school and pre-Python era and the process of becoming and being a writer.
BAM The Bibliomaniac
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
Julie Barrett
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
John Ferrigno
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I greatly enjoyed this book. Cleese is highly intelligent, an entertaining story teller, andva gifted writer. His insights into his career, and why certain things are funny, are captivating.

The only reason I can't give this a full five star rating is because a lot of his career is not really mentioned. A lot of the book is on his childhood and education, which is normally not overly interesting in other autobiographies, but is great here. Cleese is funny and thoughtful and his stories about his
...more
Katherine
Feb 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed every last word. So many celebrity autobiographies are just ghostwritten bits of fluff, with a few jokes and a smattering of gossip. This is not that. It's a careful and very funny chronicling of his life up to the making of the Monty Python series. My only complaint is that it really is a volume one. Although he makes some mention of Fawlty Towers, The Holy Grail etc., he doesn't actually take the reader there. He jumps from the formation of the Pythons right to the reunion theatrical ...more
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
A great look at the life and times of one of the funniest men to ever grace the stage or the screen that covers his struggles with bullying growing up, his quest to discover and 'play' with his own style of comedy and the magnificence of him finding a group of like minded people to do it with. 3.5 stars
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Play Book Tag: So, Anyway... by John Cleese - 4 stars 2 15 Mar 18, 2018 07:05PM  
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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.
“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.” 15 likes
“A good sense of humour is the sign of a healthy perspective, which is why people who are uncomfortable around humour are either pompous (inflated) or neurotic (oversensitive). Pompous people mistrust humour because at some level they know their self-importance cannot survive very long in such an atmosphere, so they criticise it as “negative” or “subversive.” Neurotics, sensing that humour is always ultimately critical, view it as therefore unkind and destructive, a reductio ad absurdum which leads to political correctness. Not that laughter can’t be unkind and destructive. Like most manifestations of human behaviour it ranges from the loving to the hateful. The latter produces nasty racial jokes and savage teasing; the former, warm and affectionate banter, and the kind of inclusive humour that says, “Isn’t the human condition absurd, but we’re all in the same boat.” 10 likes
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