This blogger read “So, Anyway…” by John Cleese. The author initially thought he was going to be an attorney, actually acquiring a legal education. But he changed his mind and became a comedy writer.
Cleese is a rare bird, in that he possesses capacity for analytical thinking and comedic absurdity in equal measure– the former has kept him sane, and the latter has made him funny.
The author had the luck of entering the field of British television comedy around 1960 when it was in its infancy. He worked with David Frost– a TV executive who undeservedly grabbed writing credits by listing his name first in large letters on his own show, while there were tens of other writers, contributors of original material, whose names appeared in small type thereafter. Cleese comments that people harbored little or no jealousy over this because Frost had a hands-off management style, never said a mean word about anyone, ignored his immature critics, and sincerely believed people were cheering for him rather than trying to cut him down.
The author, a major contributor to the BBC TV show “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” and some funny movies, also writes, “I regarded swearing as a form of cheating, a lazy way of getting a laugh out of material that wasn’t intrinsically funny enough.”
Read the book to see Cleese’s other words of wisdom on comedy writing, and how he has been able to continuously contribute creative content to various shows through the decades– a major feat for someone with a career such as his.