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A major benefit of listening to a comedian's autobiography as read by himself: Timing!
And original clips of Cleese and Chapman, of course.
Time flew by in the blink of an eye. John Cleese a ever is entertaining and honest, it was a pleasure to listen. Thank you.
I delayed reading this due to the astonishingly unkind newspaper reviews.
I suspect Cleese's venom for journalists (particularly those unfortunate enough to have found employment with the daily mail) may have coloured their judgment.
This is a highly entertaining and beautifully read memoir. Looking forward to part 2... be warned that it ends where python starts...
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
This is all you'd expect from John Cleese - not just wildly funny, but sharp and shrewd with insightful analysis of family relationships and the nature of comedy and comedy writing. He makes his childhood as the only child of ill-sorted parents in various parts of the west country both funny and gently tragic with his mother's titanic tempers and crippling anxiety, and himself as a lanky wimp. It's a wonderful recreation of those class-conscious times (was he middle class / lower middle class/ lower middle middle class.....?) and his career through prep school and Clifton College is filled with brilliant and eccentric cameos. Cambridge, where he was actually studying Law which he found mind-numbingly boring, was for him the Footlights and the beginning of what has been fifty years of comedy.
What makes this download so enjoyable is of course Cleese's exaggerated, wildly zany expression with torrents of consecutive adjectives building to a crescendo, or where he pulls out the craziest analogies and descriptions. (When he is teaching at his old prep school whilst at Cambridge, trying to get a boy to understand that the River Congo is in the Congo and the River Niger is in Nigeria, is like 'transferring the principle of anti-matter to the brain of a hamster'). Much of the comedy in all the shows he was involved in (Fawlty Towers, Monty Python etc) would now be censored, and part of their appeal now is their outrageous incorrectness as well as their anarchic inventiveness.
The other winning element is that Cleese himself reads with masses of recreations of conversations with his writing teams, and from sketches from the shows with all his manically energetic voices. Best of all I liked his dissolving into infectious laughter as he reads and on one occasion he actually collapses into that stomach-clutching body wheeze of laughter.
SO ANYWAY, download and enjoy it!
19 of 20 people found this review helpful
A friend liked this because you can just let it wash over you. It does not require close listening (though there is enjoyment in that too.) The great pleasure is that it is John Cleese reading his own words in a rather conversational way.
Described as an autobiography, the book actually is Part 1, perhaps without intention of a Part 2.
Cleese describes his childhood, his relationship with his parents, and his schooling. His arrival at Cambridge opens the door to his professional career which seems carefully traced until Python starts production.
Whatever followed Python is occasionally mentioned but not given the detailed treatment of the pre-Python period. Those who want blow by blow of Python or Fawlty will be disappointed. Those who know the work of his 1960s contemporaries and predecessors will be very pleased.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about So, Anyway...? What did you like least?
I did not enjoy much of this audiobook.
I was delighted that John Cleese narrated it himself, and there are several smile-worthy parts, but not once did I laugh out loud, or even chuckle.... although John Cleese quite often laughs at himself, in an odd kind of Precious Pup wheeze.
I am at a loss to know how one of the funniest people on the screen can get it wrong with this book, I found it quite boring.
Would you be willing to try another book from John Cleese? Why or why not?
I don't think I would read another of John's books
Was So, Anyway... worth the listening time?
Not worth the listening time.
Any additional comments?
I don't want to hurt Mr Cheese's (yes, that's his real name) feelings, and will continue to watch anything he has on big or small screens but for me this book was a dud.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful