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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

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  859 Ratings  ·  179 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, 288 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Crown Archetype
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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
Montzalee Wittmann
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rtc
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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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.
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
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
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)
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.
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
Jo
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
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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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.
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
Kathleen
It took me a long time to read this book, but I think that's because I didn't want it to end. I discovered Monty Python's Flying Circus as a teenager. By then Graham was gone and once I had consumed their episodes and films, life was pretty much all downhill for me from there since you can only watch Monty Python for the first time once. This book brought me not only new stories about Eric Idle and Monty Python, but a reminder of why I love them so much. It's so rare to find comedy so smart and ...more
Alice
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Eric Idle is a man who became famous quite young and knows many other famous people, like George Harrison, Robin Williams, and David Bowie. Idle came from a poor background and got to go to Cambridge because of his high intelligence.

Ultimately it’s a high-gloss depiction of Eric Idle’s career and amusing things he’s said and written, an entertaining story about a wildly funny man’s success.
Stuart Rodriguez
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the absolute hell out of this book. “Sortabiography” is right—this isn’t an exact point-A-to-point-B autobiography so much as it is a collection of related events in mostly chronological order. Idle spends most of the book looking at his pre- and post-Flying Circus career, and the friendships and relationships he made therein. His wit and sense of humor shine, and I’d heartily recommend this for any Python fan.
Sandra
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
When we were children, my big brother, Gene loved humor, all kinds of humor, he would regale us with jokes at the dinner table or whenever he thought it was needed. He loved Mad Magazine feature Alfred E. Newman, anything that made him laugh or lampooned reality, especially Monty Python and the Flying Circus, and then all the Monty Python movies.

I want to say that Monty Python's Life with Brian might have been his favorite. So when I had the opportunity through Penguin's First to Read, to read
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Dan Connors
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
Monty Python was one of the most bizarre, silly, genius comedy acts of the 20th century and I regret that there's nothing like them in comedy today. Eric Idle was one of the Pythons, arguably the most influential and talented, and his autobiography is one of my favorite books of the year.
Comedians often come with tons of baggage and sometimes with dark secrets, but Mr. Idle has none of those. A brilliantly talented, funny man with a happy childhood, he lucked into the right group of people at
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Paige Jeanty
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Most well-known for his role on Monty Python, Eric Idle paved the way for comedy in the sixties and seventies. Through his memoir, he shares of his triumphs and trials in a hugely humorous and self-deprecating way. With a perfect balance between history, narrative, photos, and story-telling, Idle gives the readers a unique glance into a time where black and white suddenly turns to color, and British comedy leaves it's mark on the world. This light and enjoyable read takes the reader on a ride th ...more
Joyce
And Now for Something Completely Different was the second movie I saw after we moved to London in fall, 1971--long before Monty Python made it here. We rented a TV for our flat primarily so we could watch this every Sunday night. It's no wonder that I've been looking forward to Idle's book, which, of course, includes info on the Pythons as well as other stars of the time (lots of name-dropping). In fact, we were fortunate enough to see Idle on his book tour, along with 1000 others in suburban Ch ...more
Cheryl
Sep 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Disclaimer first - I received my copy of this book free as a first reads giveaway.

I grew up on Monty Python's Flying Circus. I loved the movies. I got some of my friends into the movies. I introduced my own kids to the universe that is Monty Python. I wanted to LOVE this book, but I just can't give it more than 3 stars.

There were so many things I learned (who knew George Harrison is basically the reason Life of Brian exists??? I did not know this.) and I didn't mind most of the name dropping be
...more
Jill Elizabeth
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a fun book!! I am a bigger movie than television fan of the Python Boys, so must admit that a fair bit of the book sent me scurrying to Google and YouTube - but I'm a better person for it, by far... What Idle et al. managed to accomplish was nothing less phenomenal than what four lads from Liverpool did: changed the face of an art form. Idle writes exactly the way he speaks/acts, and his tales of the ups and downs of his career (and those of his friends - who are legion) made me laugh out l ...more
Nina
Sep 27, 2018 added it
I loved Monty Python from the beginning. I opened Idle’s book with a bit of trepidation, wondering if it was going to be a one-dimensional, flat on the page Python skit, yet hoping that Idle’s talent for storytelling would shine. And shine it does; Idle is an excellent writer as well as an engaging raconteur. His jokes and retorts come to life on their own, without being “performed live.” The book is a good mix of Python-like humor and memoir. Idle even manages to sneak in an especially funny li ...more
John
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book! I am a Monty Python fan and thus I might be a little biased, but I enjoyed this book very much. You get to learn about the early career of Eric and the Pythons all the way through Spamalot and Eric touring with John Cleese. I learned a great deal about Eric, his relationships, family as well as many celebrities he knows. I read this as an audiobook and it's read by Eric with verve and emotion and just made it that much better. It makes me want to watch Life of Brian again!
Erik
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this "sortabiography." Of course, I'm a big Python fan, so that was all I needed to want to pick this one up. Though the book doesn't delve deeply into Idle's life, it does offer a nice glimpse into the years from Monty Python's successful run and onward. I just loved that Idle writes with the same humorous vouce that we've come to expect from him (I could hear his voice saying some of the more humorous passages).
Two parts of the book really stood out for me. First, the incredib
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Mary
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, finished
Thank you to Penguin Random House and First to Read for the Advance Galley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

If you are a fan of comedy, Monty Python, or fun biographies in general, this is a great book for you. Eric Idle tells his story and not just the story of the Pythons, which is refreshing. He also tells the story of the comedy scene in his youth and how it came to make him who he is today. I really enjoyed his conversational tone, wit, and how he organized things not by time
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Wenzel
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think I've read far too many books about Monty Python. Thankfully, this book is about Eric's life pretty much after Monty Python. So now I know what it's like to be friends with Robin Williams, have dinner with The Prince, and the struggles of putting on a Broadway show.
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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.
“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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