It was a foregone conclusion that when Eric Idle penned his memoirs, this is what he’d name the book. After all, as he points out, it’s the number one requested song at funerals in the UK. And as big a fan as I am of Monty Python, it was a foregone conclusion I’d have this audiobook. I chose not to burn through it, however. I wanted to savor it, to draw out the laughter a bit. Even so, I still found myself pulled in (how could I not?), so I finished it in a couple of days. I’m pushing through a lot of mental and emotional shifts in my life right now, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years about life, it’s this very lesson that Eric Idle himself gave me. Go ahead, sing along. You know you want to.
Wonderful, isn’t it? This is the some of the most profound wisdom I’ve found anywhere. After all, what is comedy if not truth? [Side note: If you were offended by this, then you clearly didn’t pay attention to the film itself. Christ himself appears twice in it, and he’s treated quite reverently both times. All beliefs aside, who could have a problem with a message of peace? The Pythons feel the same.] If somehow you weren’t aware of it, you can thank former Beatle George Harrison for all of this. He mortgaged his house to fund the film production simply because he wanted to see it. As Idle reminds us, this holds the record for the most expensive movie ticket in history. This is but one of the many, many, many stories found in this book, several of which rightfully feature Harrison.
Being a celebrity memoir, there are going to be some name drops of other celebrities. It can’t be otherwise. These people find one another. Herein, to name just a few, you can find the likes of Marty Feldman, Mel Brooks, Tom Hanks, The Rolling Stones, Steve Martin, Carrie Fisher, Leslie Nielsen, Robin Williams, and (of course) the other Pythons. Michael Palin even makes a quick cameo.
What to do with so much star power? Idle swears the naughty and compromising bits are taken out for the sake of lawsuits or decency. Don’t believe it. If you know Eric Idle at all, you already know what to expect when it comes to the humor. But you may not know the stories, some of which are the type of thing that can only happen when comedy professionals come together. And there are other stories that, perhaps, many of us can relate to personally, the type that remind us that all of these people are still human… farts and all. There’s some somber, a great deal of silly, and a number of things you just need to hear straight from the man himself because no one else could begin to tell it half as well. Except for maybe John Cleese, and Idle confirms as much.
As with the memoir of John Cleese, I can’t imagine actually reading this in paper form. Well, I can. I mean, I love real books as much as the next reader, but seriously… when one of the Pythons gives us a full-on audio performance of his work, complete with singing and pepper-pot voices, why would anyone settle for less? This audiobook is the next best thing to seeing the man perform live. Trust me on this one.