Monty Python’s John Cleese recounts an early stint in Chicago

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In his new memoir, “So, Anyway…”, Monty Python founding member John Cleese recalls a short pre-Python stint in Chicago, where he performed shows “that would have upset Lord Chamberlain” as part of a mini-tour with a group connected to Britain’s subversive Establishment Club.

While in town, he also “managed to beat a pool shark” in a nearby pool hall and then bought drinks with his gambling loot at the original Playboy Club on East Walton Street. There was also an incident with the local immigration office when Cleese went to have his work visa extended. “U.K.,” he tried to convince the dense official in charge, did not stand for “Ukraine.”

Here’s a rundown of places to buy “So, Anyway…” courtesy of

And here’s a brief excerpt:

We opened in a small theatre in Hyde Park, just off the University of Chicago campus, in July 1965. The audiences were young and quick and enthusiastic, and the four of us almost immediately found a loose, slightly boisterous style which suited the material. It’s a good feeling when you find a rhythm that chimes in with everybody else’s and the shows become real fun. Luckily we were there for the two weeks in the fall during which the Chicago weather is pleasant, marking the transition form sticky to freezing; so we strolled everywhere and decided Chicago was a proper great city with a proper river and proper big newspaper offices and lots of theatres and lots of friendly Midwesterners…

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