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Publisher's Summary

From the ingenious comic performer, founding member of Monty Python, and creator of Spamalot comes an absurdly funny memoir of unparalleled wit and heartfelt candor

We know him best for his unforgettable roles on Monty Python - from the Flying Circus to The Meaning of Life. Now, Eric Idle reflects on the meaning of his own life in this entertaining memoir that takes us on an unforgettable journey from his childhood in an austere boarding school through his successful career in comedy, television, theater, and film. 

Coming of age as a writer and comedian during the '60s and '70s, Eric stumbled into the crossroads of the cultural revolution and found himself rubbing shoulders with the likes of George Harrison, David Bowie, and Robin Williams, all of whom became dear lifelong friends. With anecdotes sprinkled throughout involving other close friends and luminaries such as Mike Nichols, Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Paul Simon, Lorne Michaels, and many more, as well as the Pythons themselves, Eric captures a time of tremendous creative output with equal parts hilarity and heart. In Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, named for the song he wrote for Life of Brian (the film he originally gave the irreverent title Jesus Christ: Lust for Glory) and that has since become the number-one song played at funerals in the UK, he shares the highlights of his life and career with the kind of offbeat humor that has delighted audiences for five decades. 

The year 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Pythons, and Eric is marking the occasion with this hilarious memoir chock-full of behind-the-scenes stories from a high-flying life featuring everyone from Princess Leia to Queen Elizabeth.

©2018 Eric Idle (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A gentle, sane man has lived a turbulent, crazy life and he's written a gorgeous book about it. Eric Idle joyously recounts his existence in these pages. Did I say 'joyfully'? I meant 'ruefully.'" (Patton Oswalt)

"On the last day, when the last human beings look out at the blackened cinders of their world, I can only hope that one of them will sing, 'Some things in life are bad, they can really make you mad,' and 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' will ring out as humanity's final words. I loved this biography of a song and the man who made it, and the picture he paints of his life, his friends, his passions, five Pythons, and a Beatle." (Neil Gaiman)

"If I could go back in time and observe any comedian's journey, I think it would be a terrible waste of time travel. That said, I'd want to see just how Eric Idle and a few friends changed comedy forever. This is the book I have been waiting for most of my life." (Conan O'Brien)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I'm Famous...and You're Not...

I love the Pythons. I adore Eric Idle. They have given me such great pleasure...such wonderful laughs...and such iconic
moments. THey define large swaths of my life. But sadly, not this "sortabiography" -- which should be subtitled "Famous People I've Met...And you Haven't!" The name dropping is relentless...and kind of joyless. This is more a timeline than a book, dotted with the boldfaced names Idle has met. A third of the way through, I'm exhausted. I give up.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • LJ
  • 10-09-18

Eric Idle name-dropping, which can't be helped

So glad I was up late one night watching post-11pm news to see his name listed on whichever show he was on, otherwise I'd have not heard about this book.

I know I enjoyed this book because I stopped reading another book to read this one whenever I had a chance, finishing it in about 2-3 nights. I am so glad that he took the time to read (narrate) it so we could enjoy all the nuances. I especially liked the interruption by Michael Palin. (Makes me wonder how they did that in the printed version.) It has to be much better in Audible. Glad I purchased this version.

As a Beatles fan, and of George in particular, it was so nice to learn more about George. So glad they were friends. Learned a few more things about the Pythons. (I have always had a soft spot for Michael Palin, my favorite Python.) And so nice to hear how well they all collaborated and how a veto from one person for a project was enough to snuff it. Good for them. But also didn't realize just how prolific Eric Idle has been.

As for my title, he certainly name-dropped a lot (my reason for 4/5 stars), but then it's a sortabiography and he knew these people so how can he tell his story without mentioning them and their connections? Also clear that he met and married the love of his life so many years ago. It's so nice when two people meant to be together find each other!

On the downside, I created several Audible clips, none of which actually worked when I forwarded them to friends. It's that kind of book where you want to preserve parts of it to listen to again. Just wish I could share them with others so they'd buy the book, too.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The failed pessimist!

This is a wonderful telling of an extraordinary humans life. Eric Idle shares his story with honesty and compassion with the right amount of sentiment. Thru the telling Of his life i recall my own travel through life up to now and how I became who i am. Eric's narration is superb and his familiar voice comforting to listen to. Most importantly I laughed and laughed as if I was revisting my first watching of the Flying Circus. Thank you Eric for sharing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great telling of the story behind a favorite movie

Anyone who loves Monty Python, The Holy Grail, or comedy history should read this, as it does a great job of telling how the comedy troupe made their careers and the film so many of us love.

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say no more, know what I mean?

Eric offers insights into the functioning of the most absurdly funny life. Thank you Eric!

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And now for more of the same!

Actually, it’s pretty original for a comedian’s memoir. Eric is still in good voice and reads this as if he’s telling you one long fascinating story.
From birth to his anticipated death it appears he pulls no punches. It’s short on gossip about the other Pythons if that’s what your interested in, and absolute reeks of honesty. Including his faithfulness to his balls during his first marriage and his deep friendship with other funny people.
It’s not a kiss and tell book, except for that weekend with Jon Cleese in Hoboken, and if you have even a mild interest in anything the Pythons have done you’ll love this!

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Absolutely Wonderful

I have never before produced so many years of both laughter and sadness. Thank you for sharing these memories and stories. Now, fuck off.

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Wonderful

I loved every minute and Mr. Idle's delivery adds to the story. It's a humorous look into a very interesting life.

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A sortabiography

I bought the book, I laughed, I cried. I learned some things I was not aware of. They must have had brilliant lives! #celebrity #witty #funny #clever #pastmeetspresent #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

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  • Paul
  • BROOKLYN, NY, United States
  • 11-11-18

All the Python You'd Want and More

Idle does a terrific job offering behind the scenes looks at every iteration of "Python" from his unique point of view as the songwriter of the bunch - which also means we get the genesis of "Spamalot" and other live stagecraft. Plus there's lots of celebrity dish: George Harrison, Carrie Fisher and Robin William's appear, among many others. There's also some musing on deeper questions like the meaning of life of life and citizenship - but always done with wit and a sense of fun. This is a fantastic read - even if you've already enjoyed other books like John Cleese's terrific "So, Anyway." ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐