Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

A Sortabiography
By: Eric Idle
Narrated by: Eric Idle
Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,388 ratings)

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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 hilarious, charming, book by this incredible, i̶n̶s̶u̶f̶f̶e̶r̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ genius.” (Steve Martin) 

"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) 

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

12 people found this helpful

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Confirmed

Without question, a book. Now, padding this out so the review contains 15 English words.

14 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Idle tells his life story hilarity ensues.

The performance was expectedly great as often Idle was laughing as he read his book. Python was like The Beatles or Rolling Stones of comedy and apparently rock royalty even Elvis were huge fans of Python. These fans became Idle's friends the best part of the book is Idle's many stories of his friend George Harrison who by all accounts was a very special person and as Idle noted Harrison had a great sense of humor and despite his image as being quite instead he was a big talker. Idle's poignant retelling of Harrison and his wife's 15 minute running battle for their life with a disturbed knife wielding assaulter was particularly engaging.
Name dropping is a double edged sword. Idle spent so much of his life hanging out with many of the most well know celebrities of his generation that his retelling nearly became tedious almost fatuous. But, his self mocking about his name dropping saved the book. This is light reading that has as much humor as one would expect from a member of one of the best comedy acts of the baby boom generation.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Never a dull moment

I'm about 2 hours from the end of this book and there has not been a slow or dull part yet. And what a fascinating life this man has had. I was never a rabid Month Python fan but I may become one after listening.to this.

3 people found this helpful

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It's better than Spam!

No... really! It is! What!? You don't think so?? Well, f**k off!!
And then enjoy the book

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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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.

19 people found this helpful

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Used to be a Fan. Not anymore

Was hoping for tales of Monty Python and the Flying Circus. This is just the incoherent and non-humorous ramblings of a multi-millionaire name-dropper with tales of super-models and yachting with Paul Allen and Bill Gates.

As far as U.S. politics is concerned FUCK OFF LIMEY (in your own words)

1 person found this helpful

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Namedropping olympics

The parts that are actually about his life, his works and his friends are interesting, but they are spread out between tedious name-dropping. Eric Idle met Celebrity X, Y and Z at Caribbean Island A, who invited him to French Castle A where he met Celebrity U, V and W.

1 person found this 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 person found this helpful

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Highly entertaining Monty Python memoir

Read by Eric Idle, who’s had an amazing life. Consistently funny, frequently hilarious. Fascinating glimpse into a corner of the entertainment elite.