Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Eric Idle

Eric Idle, known for his unforgettable roles on Monty Python, shares the highlights of his life and career with the kind of offbeat humor that has delighted audiences for five decades.

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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 a remarkable 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 Sixties and Seventies, 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 John Cleese and 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 and which 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 fiftieth 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.


Advance Galley Reviews

Interesting read - I have seen episodes of Monty Python that Eric Idle talked about in the book. I enjoyed reading the back stories and his interactions with other entertainers.

Always a Look on the Bright Side of Life is Eric Idle's sort of autobiography. Of course, we all know him as part of the fire-breathing comedic troupe, Monty Python, famed for a long running tv show and a series of uproariously funny movies that have become a part of our culture and collective memory. At its best, this book shines when Idle's wit comes out such as talking about his childhood in the orphanage and sneaking out. That's that sly British wit for ya. Once the troupe achieved success, his life became like that of a rockstar and he constantly hung out with all the celebs. I would have liked to hear more about the creative development of the various skits and less of the hobnobbing. Surprisingly, he had a lifelong friendship with George Harrison who funded Life of Brian. Elvis was such a huge fan he apparently used to do some of the crazy voices. Many thanks to Penguin Publishing for providing a copy for review.

Having grown up watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail as well as Monty Python's Flying Circus, I did enjoy reading this book and learning more about one of the people who was a part of these shows. I think looking back it makes me understand more about the people that they were and how it came to be. Saying that, this book is really only a book for Monty Python fans, as someone who had a passing interest in Monty Python as a recollection of my childhood I did enjoy reading it. Someone who may have been a bigger Monty Python fan would probably enjoy this book even more than I did. On the other hand, this is not a book for people who haven't watched much Monty Python or who are looking to know more about them as a group. This book allows for a look at the humor and life of Eric Idle but if you are unfamiliar with Monty Python other than recognizing the name, this book will not help you understand what they did. If you're a Monty Python fan read this book. If you don't know who Monty Python is read the Wiki page and watch a few episodes before deciding if this book is something you want to put your time into.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I fell in love with Monty Python back in my college days and still re-watch the Grail when I need a pick up. I was excited to read this memoir and it did not disappoint. I’m not certain that Mr. Idle deserves quite as much credit for the success as he paints in his book as he tends to play up his achievements and leaves the other Pythons in the shadows at many points. It is a nice walk down memory lane and an interesting foray into a generation of entertainment icons. I appreciate that the author pulled the information about this fascinating group together in such detail. I truly enjoyed it and recommend it to other Python fans.

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life Eric Idle I found this to be a very enjoyable book it is written as if you are sitting down chatting with Eric Idle. He talks about his life before, during and after Monty Python. It talks about his different projects over the last 50 odd years and it seems that they were all extensions of Monty Python. If you are a Python fan, you will find this enjoyable.

As a sanctimonious ten year old, I was appalled and titillated by Month Python. As a morally disinterested thirtysomething, I adore it. Eric Idle's sortabiography is a charming look at his life and career which has seen his song, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, from Life of Brian, chapter mark the various points in his career. The book is funny and touching as only a septuagenarian Python can be. It makes me very sad I was never able to see Spamalot, but I was busy being a broke alcoholic recent college grad. Anyone who enjoys reading, autobiographies, memoirs, funny things, Monty Python, wry British humor, or coconuts should enjoy this book. There are also an astonishing number of cameos throughout. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll get mad at Netflix for not releasing the Python Canon in the US yet, and sob over the Holy Grail slot machine at Pala. Side note to the readers who say they can't read the files on a mobile device: have you tried downloading the Adobe Digital Editions app? I'm able to read the First to Read books on my (Android) phone and (Apple) iPad.

I enjoyed reading this book. I've been a fan of Monty Python since I was a child and my father watched them. I found it very interesting to hear the back stories. The book makes them all so much more human!

I enjoyed reading Always Look On The Bright Side of Life. I have been a Monty Python fan since the early days for the group. I found his memoir at once both delightful and sad. Knowing the characters as I do from the outside it was wonderful to see them from the inside. Idle has given a glimpse behind the markup, not always a pretty sight. But written with love. I am grateful to have been able to read this treasure and highly recommend it to Python fans young and old.

I really enjoyed reading this, as I love Monty Python. I do agree with the reviewer below though - it is tough for me to get these on my mobile devices, and it makes it a pain to read the books. I would love an option like Netgalley where the protected file can be sent right to your Kindle. But I digress - the book is funny, heartfelt, and a great insight into a comedy mind.

Well, it looks like a good book, but since it's released as a PDF, I can't read it on any mobile device, which is where I do all my reading these days. Does anyone actually read on desktop or laptop computer? I can't see any other way to read a PDF that's not reflow formatted. I was very disappointed by this, and probably won't bother participating in First to Read after this.

I found Eric Idle's memoir Always Look on the Bright Side of Life to be enjoyable and funny; I'd expect nothing less. What was intriguing for me was not only the anecdotes describing the wide range of influential people he's known, but also his ability to adapt and to grow into an adult at (approximately) the appropriate stages of life. He's enjoyed his fame, kept his sense of humor, but managed to remain a regular bloke you'd be happy to have as a pal- he just might arrive dressed as the queen mother. Probably humorous cross-dressing is "all part of growing up and being British." Not an exhaustive look at the Monty Python phenomenon, it focuses on Eric's life in pretty good detail for a short book. An entertaining quick read that I highly recommend, especially if you're a Monty Python fan.

As a fan of Monty Python and Eric Idle's comedy in general, I enjoyed Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. His rich collection of personal stories with a plethora of celebrities and contemporaries are both interesting and enjoyable. His loving tributes to the stellar David Bowie, the ethereal George Harrison, and the brilliant Robin Williams are not only touching but truly inspired. I felt their absence in the present while reading about their presence and importance in Idle's life. While I did not realize that this title mainly contained the history surrounding the song, it did not belittle or demean the work in any way. Idle's humor and wit is evident on every page. I cannot remember the last time I have actually laughed out loud at printed text, and he had me laughing multiple times. I know that this is a partial history, and I still loved it. I have not read any of his other titles, and this selection only increased my desire to learn more.

An entertaining memoir of Eric Idle's life an career, centering of course on his work with Monty Python. A real treat for Python fans, and an interesting look at the world of show biz in late 20th century England, where it seems everybody knew everybody. He writes honestly about his own bad behavior, tells a lot of stories I didn't know and some I did, and includes a lot of laughs. A worthy addition to your shelf of Pythoniana, if you have such a thing.

I appreciate that Idle starts out by saying that these are the facts as he (mostly) remembers them and that some things might not be as true as he'd like. It's a very honest way to start out what turns out to be a name-dropping bonanza of incredible life opportunities that he worked hard to earn and (at least it seems) like he totally deserved. He admits his errors and, even when glossing over some of them, admits fault when its his. As someone with more of a passing knowledge of Monty Python than a true fan, there were things I'm not overly familiar with. I do have a list of things I will now look for because some of the sketches and events he mentions seem like they would really be right up my alley comedy-wise. If you are a big fan of MP, then this is sure to delight with tons of behind the scenes looks at how things came about and how they worked to make it happen. The opportunities that were open to them were spectacular. I did find the behind the scenes comradery a little hard to believe, but that's just me being cynical and the whole point of the book is that Idle does indeed have a very positive "look on the bright side" attitude. Overall, it's a look at Monty Python thru the eyes of one of my favorite members as he tells his side of the story and the things he did in between the rare get together. It made me chuckle several times, it gave a look at a decade that made friends of some legendary individuals, and it proves that Eric Idle can indeed write anything and make it entertaining.

As a fan of Monty Python, I was looking forward to reading this book. My only disappointment was that I sped through the book and it was over too soon. Idle has written a memoir that is witty, charming and a tribute to his fellow Pythons. As the great-grandchild of a ringmaster and circus manager, show business was in his blood. His early experiences at a comedy club would unknowingly introduce him to other members of what would become Monty Python.there are few comedians that were not mentioned as either friends or acquaintances. He reflects on the good times with friends as well as the losses of Graham Chapman and Robin Williams. Perhaps his greatest loss occurred with the death of George Harrison. As close friends, it was Harrison who enabled them to make The Life of Brian. His tribute to this friend was touching and you could feel his deep sense of loss. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life became a number one song in Britain. The title reflects Idle’s attitude throughout the book and at times I found myself humming the tune as I read. If a book can involve me to that extent then I have no trouble highly recommending it.

I enjoy watching Monty Python movies and was excited to receive this book. The pace and organization of the book reminded me of a Monty Python skit. Full of energy and all over the place. It was funny at times, poignant at others, but overall enjoyable.

As a huge Python fan(A child of the 70's who watched a lot of PBS) I found the book to a quick lively entertaining read. If you aren't familiar with the Python history and humor quite a bit could easily go over one's head.

Funny, wit, candor? IMHO this was a boring shout out that Eric Idle wrote to have people believe that he was the comic and leading force behind Python, that John Cleese was/is a moody dick and that he (Idle) knows famous people. I already knew 2 and 3. #1 well...... Just don't expect humor. I would not recommend.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography by Eric Idle is due to be released on October 2, 2018, but I was lucky enough to get an advanced ebook copy from FirstToRead.com. Knowing that Eric was very close friends with George Harrison made choosing to read and review this book a no-brainer! The sub-title of this book could actually be "and a semi-autobiography of George Harrison" because from the very beginning Eric Idle talks about their life long friendship. Even in stories that George isn't in, Idle will end with, "As George Harrison always said...." But this book isn't just about Eric Idle, George Harrison and the Pythons. The names of all the notable people Eric has worked and socialized with is outstanding (and take way too much band with to list)! I actually got tired of the name dropping at one point, but that is the way his life has evolved. And every name he drops has a story. From getting Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher drunk the night before a filming a major scene in The Empire Strikes Back (he says you can tell they're hungover in the scene), to having dinner at Billy Connolly's house with Robin William and Prince Charles all at the table! Unfortunately, the ebook copy that I received from Crown Publishing is an unedited proof, so there are some typos and some really rough paragraphs that could use some cleaning up, not to mention one badly placed photo with the wrong caption. Oh...and speaking of the photos! There are photos from so many of Eric Idles stories that you'd think he had them taken just so he could prove that the outrageousness of some of his stories are true. This book is an absolute must read for everyone...especially George Harrison and Beatles fans...and of course Monty Python fans. And even though they swore they'll never tour again, Palin, Cleese, Idle, Jones and Gilliam have broken that promise several times already. Let's hope for another reunion. In the meantime, pre-order this book (https://amzn.to/2wVqOIh). It'll really make you laugh....and for that reason... I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have been a Monty Python fan for a long time and I love their "nothing off limits" style of humor. His voice is conversational and his humor self-deprecating. I liked hearing about famous people from an everyday perspective and I now love George Harrison and Robin Williams even more! Although I think if you were a younger fan you might have a hard time knowing all the name drops. What an interesting life! Worth the read.

A confession -- I'm not a big Monty Python fan, although I enjoyed the skits back in the 70s, and I have never seen Life of Brian or the other movies. I keep meaning to, but evidently they are not a priority. So I expected to breeze through Eric Idle's memoir, picking the funny bits and moving on. Instead I read the whole thing cover to cover in one sitting, (granted, I was on an 11 hour flight at the time) and enjoyed it very much. There were stories of how Idle gravitated to show business and comedy, behind the scenes difficulties in trying to get six quirky individuals to work as a team, lots of name dropping, and general silliness. Recommended!

Maybe I just haven't watched enough Monty Python, maybe I'm just not familiar enough with all the various major players of the time period, but Always Look on the Bright Side of Life just wasn't as fun as I wanted it to be. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments--Idle is a world-renowned comedian for a reason--and the history of the Pythons was interesting, but I found myself skimming pages here and there to get past all the name dropping. That being said, I did find Idle's relationship with a handful of other celebrities interesting. For instance, I had no idea that Idle and George Harrison were such good friends, and it was fun to learn more about their history and see just how important Harrison was in a number of Python pursuits. Likewise, the friendship between Idle and Robin Williams was bittersweet, but Idle shares a number of touching stories about his fellow comedian that reminded me that so much pain and suffering can be hidden behind a smile and a few jokes. Really, I think that my unfamiliarity with so much of the Python's repertoire and their history was what kept me from liking this book more, and rather than filling in holes in my knowledge or making me want to dig in and learn more, Idle's recollections just sort of made me say, "Meh." I do think devoted Python fans will love this sortabiography, but it wasn't for me.

I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to read Eric Idle’s memoir and was really looking forward to doing so. Unfortunately, there was something wrong with the file and I kept getting error messages when I tried to open it. There is no way for me to report this problem and since this is my first chance in this program, I’m reviewing that I’m unable to review. I would have liked to read this book.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, has the best of everything you want in a Sortabiography. Eric Idle is funny as you would expect, but he is also honest, and of course there is the gossipy name dropping you were hoping for. He tells us about his relationships with the Pythons, as well as many other notables, George Harrison, David Bowie, Robin Williams, just to name a few. Lots of little tidbits that many people may not know. Which rocker mortgaged their home to finance a Python movie just because he wanted to see it? How were the scripts written for Python? Where in the world is Mt. Cleese? This book will have you wanting to re-watch The Holy Grail and Life of Brian as well as the old Python skits, and searching out some of the productions he mentions that you may have missed. Just a bit of advice, never ask him if you can take a selfie with him, and don't read this book where it isn't okay to laugh out loud, because you will be laughing. This is a must read for any Python fan. Nudge, nudge.

I would love to write a review. I would love to read the book. I have done my best to follow directions to get this book to appear either on my Kindle or on my Android laptop. I think I have spent around an hour and a half on this project. I have asked First to Read for help. But I get no response at all. I have sent two messages to First to Read's Facebook page, asking for help....but they do not respond at all. So yes, I would love to participate in this program and read this book but the program user support from First to Read appears not to exist and I am left with writing here- I would gladly read and review this book if I could only load it on my Kindle or laptop.

What a great book. If your a Python fan you will really enjoy this. It's about his life and friendships and they many things in between. Wish he really would have said, what he wrote in the book, to the airport person.

I was an Eric Idle fan before I even knew what Monty Python was (Nuns on the Run was one of my favorite films growing up). This was a wonderful read full of stories of his life and interactions with other famous people he admired and eventually befriended. Perfect reading choice for any Python fanatic or anyone looking for a good laugh!

This book hits the highlights of Eric Idle's life in humorous fashion accompanied by quite a bit of celebrity name dropping. It was fun to read about the Monty Python days with the movies that followed, the Rutles, and Spamalot. I also enjoyed reading the various times "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" was performed and how the public uses it (sporting events, funerals, etc). A great read for many laughs! Thanks to First to Read- Penguin Books USA for the free copy of this book.

A nice quick overview of Eric Idle’s time in Monty Python and beyond. If you are a fan of the Pythons this is a must read. While it is more of a overview and he doesn’t get too deep, the stories he tells are funny and insightful into what was going on at the time. Lots of name dropping but I found it sincere-he really was close friends with these people-the lifestyle and interactions between many famous comedians and musicians of that time were fascinating. An enjoyable read, if you are curious or interested at all in Eric Idle or the Pythons I recommend you pick this up.

Eric Idle has lived many lives, as television comedian, author, musical writer and more, and he sums them all up quite nicely in this densely-packed autobiography. It's a bit of a skim through most of his life, but the pace keeps things interesting and he's always quick with a quip. At first it's easy to be put off by the constant barrage of name-dropping, but it seems like does so just to get the reader acquainted with the idea that he really does think of George Harrison as "George," and you need to be inured to the fact that the Beatles, Stones and Elton are going to be showing up constantly in his life. It's a delightful read by one of the preeminent comedians of the last half of the 20th century, and an absolute must for any Python fan.

A fun, quick read. Every day I found something that made me laugh out loud. If you are a fan of the Pythons, you will certainly enjoy this. If you are not a fan, you probably won't get most of the references, except for the numerous references to other famous people. The chronology was a bit challenging, but I really enjoyed it.

Eric's never idle Eric Idle doesn’t seem to know anyone who isn’t famous. Everywhere he goes or lives, the famous turn up as neighbors or partiers. If The Rolling Stones knock on the door at midnight, it’s just another night wherever the Idles happen to be. Elvis Presley a huge fan who imitates Monty Python characters in bed? Par for the course. Getting married in Lorne Michael’s midtown apartment followed by the reception at Paul Simon’s place, or living in Dan Aykroyd’s Bowery loft – just business as usual. How about having dinner with Billy Connolly and Prince Charles calls and asks if could come over and join them. George Harrison wants to pop in for the Lumberjack song. It is endless. It even seems like everyone he went to school with became a prominent celebrity. They all helped each other achieve stardom. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, indeed. It reminds me of the Peter Cook-Dudley Moore sketch Bloody Greta Garbo. It’s too absurd to be remotely true, but that’s the life of Eric Idle. He says. This collection of memoirs is about as positive as anything can be. Idle got break after break, got swept along to bigger and better things and was continually invited to new ventures, where he succeeded to great acclaim his first time out, be it sketch writing, film, opera, records or Broadway. Oh. And everyone adores him. Idle loves adding adjectives before names. Everyone is amazing or wonderful, excellent or brilliant, fantastic or incomparable. The whole book is gossipy, teenage fandom style. All the time-worn stories the other Pythons tell are here, uncontradicted. How they pitched their TV series without a script, treatment, plan or even a name. And were instantly given the go-ahead for 13 episodes. At least they had to battle the establishment: “We didn’t know what we were doing, and insisted on doing it.” The Idles are never idle for long. Everyone is constantly inviting them to vacations in the South Pacific or the Caribbean, lending them houses in the south of France or Mustique or London or New York. David Bowie was kind and generous. So was Mick. And Robin. Most of all, George Harrison. There is not one mention of a fabulous get together at the Idle home. As you can tell from the title, the main achievement of his was the song, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life that he wrote for Monty Pythons’ Life of Brian. It has become a part of life around the world. It is the number one piece played at funerals in the UK, for example. Sports fans sing it loud when their team is losing. What would Spamalot have been without it? It’s the Greensleeves of the 21st century. As Idle explains early on, there is an unending shelf of books, documentaries and products keeping the Monty Python myth alive. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life is certainly one of them. David Wineberg

I am so grateful to the publisher and First to Read for a copy of an uncorrected proof of this! My favorite Python! John is a close second, and I'd read his autobiography...in his voice, so I jumped at the chance to read this...in Eric's voice, of course. Steve Martin said of Idle's novel The Road the Mars."I laughed. I cried. And then I read the book." Idle had me laughing literally out loud several times before he'd gotten out of the introduction (titled "An Apology"). Of course, the life whose bright side he sings of looking at enters and it's not all rosy, but even when he shares devastation at the loss of dear friends, he bounces back. He's candid, human, obviously quite funny, amazingly connected ("I once tried registering [in a hotel under a fake name] as Meryl Streep, but then I felt guilty because she is so damn nice and smart. Notice how cleverly I introduced the fact that I know her. That's name-dropping at its finest, as I said to Prince Charles only the other day.") Really, he is amazingly connected. The number of people he's worked with, been friends with, got invited to cruises on their huge yachts with,... ...amazing. Steve Martin said in his blurb for Idle's novel The Road the Mars."I laughed. I cried. And then I read the book." You'll laugh, maybe cry while you read this book. Endearing, funny, enlightening, and endearing. Yes, I said that twice. When this comes out, get it. You'll be glad you did.

For fans of Monty Python this is a must read. It follows Eric's early beginnings and how Monty Python was born. It has Eric's quirky brand of humor and seriousness. He came from a rough start, but never let that stop him from becoming the person he is today. He's very candid about his life and doesn't sugar coat it. He admits to not being perfect, but he was human and made mistakes. This book will make you laugh and cry because Eric's humor brings that out in people. He rubbed shoulders with the likes of George Harrison, Robin Williams, David Bowie, just to name a few. If you're looking for a humorous book then this is one for you.

I grew up watching Flying Circus, and loved it, even though I was really too young to understand or decipher the accents (“Spam” notwithstanding). I’ve passed my love of Python onto my kids, even visiting Doune castle to buy coconuts and recreate Holy Grail (with my daughter playing Terry Gilliam, I as Graham Chapman), like thousands of other daft tourists. Your face will ache from smiling while reading this, and it’s chock full of name-dropping, which, TBH, is everyone’s secret shameful reason for reading a celebrity memoir (AmIRightAmIRight – NudgeNudge!) And there are lots of photos, which I appreciated. This book made me laugh out loud while I was sneak-reading at my kid’s Open House at his elementary school. Whoops. I loved all the anecdotes of Eric hanging out with famous people, and the backstory of how many sketches came to be. I even learned about some projects of his that I was unaware of, having been unfortunately born too late (stupid 1975) and in the wrong country (stupid Yank) to encounter many of them on the BBC. I paused many times while reading to get on YouTube and catch up. Eric’s kind heart is obvious, as shown through his endearing friendships with George Harrison and Robin Williams, not to mention all the Pythons. He’s had a rich life full of love and good friends. Laughter really does bring people together. I’d love to hang out with him sometime. I’ll even supply the booze. If you love Python, or saw the title of this book and began to whistle, or just know him as the guy from the Figment ride at DisneyWorld, you can’t go wrong with this one. It’s entertaining, hilarious, and insightful. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Penguin First to Read for the advance copy in exchange for my review.

Eric Idle wrote a wonderful, insightful book in ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIVE. I only put it down when my reader's battery died, otherwise I would've read it straight through. This is a must-read for anyone who enjoys everything Mr. Idle has done throughout his storied career. This book is a keeper...Say no more.

 


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