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Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography
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Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,782 ratings  ·  368 reviews
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
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Hardcover, 290 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Crown Archetype
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Stephen Robert Collins
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Born in South Shields which for me explains a lot because that makes him A Shiely Dogger.A mad jolly sod from Shields. The biggiest disappoint is that there is nothing about One Foot in The Grave , a surprise as was in it & did the theme song . It is the missing bits that let you down, he has been married 41 years but they don't sleep together but in different parts of the house, that was in Sunday Times on 2/12/18 so it is not wonderful marriage he claims here.
Eric grew up hating Christmas
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Montzalee Wittmann
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography
by Eric Idle is an Audible book I picked up from the library. I always loved The Monty Python gang and all their crazy movies. Idle takes you back to his childhood, and goes from there. It is so interesting how his tough early life leads to a life filled with good and famous friends. Through this book we also get a closer look at a lot of his close friends and associated too! It is wonderful to get to know these people so closely. Robin Wil
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Dave
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, ...more
Vivian
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
And through it all Idle managed to find a way to laugh, and make others laugh, too.

I don't know if you've ever tried to sign a coconut, and why would you, but it's not easy.

Idle is naturally funny and the tone is conversational and he dishes. Name dropping left and right, down right gossipy in bits, but always in good spirit. Never malicious, and I guess that's what I enjoyed so much while reading it. It made me smile, and chuckle more than
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Ericka Seidemann
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
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 Monty 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 r
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Laura
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was so disappointed in reading this autobiography. It was 250 pages of name-dropping pretension and I came away from it with little respect for Eric Idle. He glossed over his childhood and Flying Circus in the first 30 pages and the rest of the book was comprised of summaries of parties with people we’re all supposed to have heard of. There was no self-reflection or analysis of his life. When he talked about his divorce from his first wife, after delightedly regaling his readers with stories o ...more
Ran
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
According to Eric Idle, his song in Life of Brian entitled "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" took on a life of its own following the release of that Monty Python cult classic. As a comedian and songwriter, Eric seemingly recounts every time he was asked to sing the song to an irreverent crowd of fans in this sortabiography. Also, there is some seriously casual namedropping within this work. He shines an additional light (as if it were necessary) on the members of Monty Python - and even s ...more
Alisa
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor-satire, memoir
Eric Idle tells the story of his career as a comedian and a beloved member of Monty Python with the wit, grace, and humor one might expect. He offers a glimpse into his personal life, the not-always-wise choices he made, and some of his enduring relationships with a few famous (George Harrison, Robin Williams) and others who are not household names. Hard to believe that Monty Python is marking their 50 year anniversary! Humor, silliness, and laughter in the end saves us all. Fun biography.
Malum
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, humor
I like Monty Python well enough, although I am certainly not a super fan. Because of that, I didn't know quite what to expect going in to this biography. I have always felt that Idle always seems really happy and fun (as opposed to eternally grumpy John Cleese), and this biography went a long way in confirming that. He has something funny to say about almost everything. His dad died while hitchhiking home from WWII at Christmas? There is a joke for that. He got the crap kicked out of him by his ...more
Jessica
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, nonfiction, humor
Now this was exceptional! I have always loved the Monty Python boys, and their work, but if hard pressed I would usually declare myself a Michael Palin girl. Palin's diaries of the Python years, by the way, are a great read as well.

But I may have to rethink my loyalty now as I come to understand how much of their truly great material was written by Idle. I had thought that more of it was a join effort, but a lot of my favorites, and a good chunk of the songs, were written by Idle, including bot
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Cheryl
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
A few laughs and some unbidden whistling, a great way to kick off the New Year:
Always look on the bright side of life
If life seems jolly rotten,
There's something you've forgotten!
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing,

When you're feeling in the dumps,
Don't be silly chumps,
Just purse your lips and whistle -- that's the thing!
And always look on the bright side of life
David Wineberg
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Rosi
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The description says: Funny, wit, candor. I could not find any of those things. I found George Harrison's name...plenty of times!!! 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. I could not even finish the book. Read just a little over half.
Margaret
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Eric Idle was always my favourite Python. His quick wit and way with words delighted me since I first watched any Monty Python.

His memoirs are a delight. Self deprecating in a typically English way, but refreshingly honest and upfront. He doesn't hide from his mistakes or blame others, which makes a change from a lot of other celebrity memoirs.

The book is also the history of a song. The wonderful "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" first performed in "Life of Brian". It has become the numbe
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Michelle Morrell
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a delightful way to spend a month of commutes, I smiled nearly the whole time, and love Mr. Idle even more now. This is his version of life, of which he indeed looks on the bright side.

Things I didn't know: Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and Pink Floyd helped fund Holy Grail. His best friend was George Harrison, who refinanced his house so they could make Life Of Brian after a studio pulled out. He is a freaking rock star, his songs just happen to be mostly on the silly side. He knows every s
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Penny Ramirez
This was such a fun listen. 3.5, but I rounded up because Python.

There was a lot of name dropping - it seems Idle knew everyone there was to know, and then a few more. Who knew he was BFFs with George Harrison? The stories have inspired me to go back and rewatch all the Monty Python I can get my hands on.

Idle has a great attitude for a 75 year old, and did a fantastic job narrating his book. Always look on the bright side, indeed. I do believe I'd like to have that sung at my funeral.
Georgette
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. I laughed my ass off (I wish)
Mike Donahue
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
For a Python fan there are a lot of interesting tidbits. Eg. the number one requested song for funerals in the UK is Always look on the Bright Side of Life. The rest is shameless name dropping and I partied with all of these people. Absolutely devoid of any introspection. Read for entertainment only
Rob
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've written more than is probably necessary about music's role in shaping the person I am today. My politics, my belief in the importance of kindness and compassion, my annoying desire to be one or two steps to the side of what's popular – it's all down to discovering R.E.M. and The Smiths and The Cure and Pixies and on and on when I was 15 years old. But what I haven't written about nearly as much – even though it was occurring at the same time – was my discovery of, and head-over-heels love a ...more
Danielle
Dec 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
I love Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It was a pivotal part of my adolescence. It was silly, a little naughty, and totally hilarious. (I delighted in showing it to friends at sleepovers knowing they would never 'get it' on first viewing.) I was vaguely aware of other Monty Python endeavors (that they existed; nothing by name) and I definitely could not have told you the names of any of the members. So, I came at this biography of Eric Idle's pretty naive in the ways of the Pythons, and at leas ...more
Marco G
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. But I am biased because I'm a python fan. It's a sweet funny book from a guy who I admired that is actually a really good writer. There was not a lot of fluff in the book, and I tore through it as fast as I could. his python years take up a surprisingly small amount of space in the narrative. But his life was filled with Incredible friendships, like George Harrison, Robin Williams, Steve Martin and many many others. He rub shoulders with really famous people like the Rolling St ...more
Pamela
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book for the most part. When I read Rob Lowe's autobiography, I read some reviews and some people did not like the name-dropping they said he did. But how can you be a celebrity and live in the celebrity world, and NOT drop names? So for Rob Lowe, that was fine. For the most part, the names he "dropped" were his colleagues. For Eric Idle . . . wellllll, I did feel he was kind of name-dropping. Sometimes, it was quite understandable (had no idea he and George Harrison were good fri ...more
Jo
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, reviewed
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography by Eric Idle

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 and Elvis. While reading this I laughed so much, my sides hurt, ‘

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,’ the comedy icon reflects on his fame
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Alona
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a great read!
It’s sort of a cross between watching a Monty Python movie and an OK magazine full of celebrity gossip.

Eric Idle is SO FUNNY, his sense of humor is my favorite: Not-trying/natural, unapologetic and clever!
It does feel at times that he puts himself on the very top of every important event/decision that Monty Python ever took or with all his celebrity friends, but, maybe he was?!

It was brilliant and funny and sad.
Lauren
I really enjoyed this sortabiography, full of as much wit and panache as one would expect from a man who is among the living legends of comedy. He avoids oversentimentality in his look back at his career while still handling certain topics with appropriate gravity. Amusing and touching all at the same time and lest you think it too serious, it's an autobiography as only a Python could write, so there's plenty of silliness and button pushing.

I read this book through Penguin's First to Read progr
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Lauren Stoolfire
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interested in Monty Python and/ or Eric Idle's career and personal life you may want to give this memoir a try.
Chaitra
I missed the fact that John Cleese had his own autobiography. This isn’t surprising because I don’t read much non fiction. But these days I’m on an ereader kick, considering there’s no late fee, and when this book popped up on my library’s overdrive I had to get it. I usually shy away from reading about people I’m familiar with, but, after all, he’s a Python, even if he’s not John Cleese. When my son was little and he had this horse-y shuffling run, hubby and I used to run behind him making clip ...more
Phillip Saginario
Oct 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Never meet your Idle
Art
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Cheery but cheeky.

"Life has a very simple plot:
First you’re here, then you’re not."
— Eric Idle, epigraph for his “memories of a failed pessimist.”

Forty years ago, Eric Idle hung on a movie prop of a cross introducing all of us to “Always Look on The Bright Side of Life,” which closed “Life with Brian,” a Monty Python film. The song and its sentiment permeate this fun memoir.

Eric Idle's great-grandfather worked as a famous ringmaster and circus master in the eighteen-eighties. At age five, his
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Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
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 ...more
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Eric Idle is an English comedian, actor, author and composer of comedic songs. He wrote and performed as a member of the internationally renowned British comedy group Monty Python.
“I think, after all, I’m happiest being a foreigner. Perhaps there should be a Homo sapiens passport? I feel less and less connected to individual states, and more and more connected to human beings.” 1 likes
“Once you’re in the circus you’re all in the circus, and of course it turns out that they are real people too.” 0 likes
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