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John Cleese: “So, Anyway…” | Talks at Google

John Cleese stopped by the Google NYC office to further discuss So, Anyway… a book chronicling the early life of his career.

So, Anyway… is a must read for comedy fans worldwide. For the first time, John Cleese tells the story of how a tall, shy youth went on to become a self-confessed comedy legend. En route, Cleese describes his nerve-racking first public performance and his first encounter with his writing partner for over two decades, Graham Chapman. And so on to his dizzying ascent via scriptwriting for Peter Sellers, David Frost, Marty Feldman and others to the heights of Monty Python.

Moderated by Jason Sanders.


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  1. In general, Americans don´t care about quality over budget and pay-off. They want big budget and want to get rich, and will do everything for that, even if it´s quantity. When Cleese makes a sincerely joke or general comment the American interviewer is only interesed or is only laughing because they get reminded of superficial(ly) American stereotypes that they only know. Deep socially, ideologal, philosophical or moralistic ideas and meanings are not known by typical American people. Only a small part of Amercian society (people) are interested in that. But you would not find that category in populair media taht often. Universities would be a good place for Cleese to talk, but then he would not reach a big audience. So, basicly it is nothing new i´m saying, but to reach a big audience and have influence you need to get superfially and commercial to a certain extent. You need to wach your sincerely attititude and personality, because it gets corrupted very fast in American media. Cleese does it well. He is intelligent, that makes it easier I think. Sorry for my lack of English, and i´m not anti-American or something. Just some views in general. Grtz

  2. Father was the most extreme devout christian you could imagine, once told me any music other than classical, gospel, and country was the devil's music. (now I could show you some country that would defy that logic lol) but He loved John Cleese. and I think that's a testament to how hard John Cleese is not to like. He's an extraordinary comic, writer, philosopher, and thinker. Few comedian start out as geniuses.

  3. I do not trust google. Google treats individuals as if they did not and should not exist. Beware the messengers brought to us by Google. John needs a challenge to rise to meet. John, I am here for you.

  4. Mr. Cleese has hit the nail on the head as I have been saying for 30 years…. "Some people are soooo stupid they can't recognize they are stupid and therefore lack the ability to realize they are stupid, and they therefore think there is nothing wrong with them and they are just great"

  5. Done in 2015 — so prescient – democracy is dead, the orange one wants to be a dictator, the political parties are totally separated from each other.

  6. Oh yeah a bunch of White men are not creative … I mean just the total world shaking scientific and technological innovation of the last 500 years.

  7. What an interesting guy. While I agree with what he says about the need for silence and time, the opposite can also lead to creativity. I was an amateur actor for a bit, and I discovered that even simple stage fright can help to bring character into life, as long as the anxiety is not too great. Theater directors know this, so they deliberately squeeze all juices out of actors. To a director, everything is never good enough, lifeless, banal, and every actor can always do much better. This is how directors get great performances.

    Curious how such totally opposite things can both lead to creativity.

  8. "Getting Old" is NOT for the faint of heart and low in spirit. (unless you are RICH like Cleese, and then I'm sure it's MUCH, MUCH better and easier)

    It's kind of (or very) sad because he's getting old enough now that he's losing his storytelling ability. But he's still better than most.

  9. Briliant! The Secrets of Live lies in the dancing flames in a fire. Well, at least the carbon atoms'. Why do you guys think that people love to be absorbed in watching the dancing flames in a fire..?

  10. So funny. Just watching a documentary about Gilligan's Island. The overall consensus among the top executives and the professional critics was that the show would be a complete failure. So many stories like this of smart people being so wrong.

  11. Perhaps to bridge the gap between rigid scientists and magical thinkers, there is an old saying; Keep an open mind. But not so open that your brains fall out.

  12. Extraordinary fellow, never tire of listening to him. Of the numerous profound ideas he put forward in the interview, one stood out for me. "Maybe the physical laws of the universe evolve"

  13. I'm confused by the comments; I found this interview incredibly awkward and a times painful to get through – Especially so at the end, when Cleese asks the interviewer, and the interviewer said he wasn't listening. Interesting points made on creativity tho 🙂

  14. The trick is not to deliver a message but to let people laugh about a certain problem to feel bad about it later and receiving their own message out of their guilt. That is satiric humour in a nutshell.

  15. I love JC's comedy, Fawlty Towers was perhaps my most favorite show of my life, but he's factually incorrect, I'd dare to say ignorant, regarding his views on Ronald Reagan. Reagan had a very well documented political ideology developed over the course of his life. The press at the time did their best to ignore these facts and paint him as an "apparent airhead" to an easily propagandized public with limited media "authorities" and limited alternative media. Apparently John fell for their schemes and continues to perpetuate their lies despite them being provably false with just a short bit of research:

    Edit: typo

  16. Ask John Cleese for his opinion and he is unable to answer. He spent the whole interview quoting other people. The man seems to have a high opinion of himself and other than that, no opinion at all. Nevertheless, he is interesting to listen to despite the fact that none of the info that he spouts is, in fact, his own.

  17. At the beginning i thought that Sonja was cute and smart, at the End it seems she felt asleep inside. At least she remained cute. Sometimes that must be enough.

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