Eric Idle Poster


Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (6)  | Trivia (37)  | Personal Quotes (83)

Overview (2)

Born in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, England, UK
Height 6' 1" (1.86 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Eric Idle is an English comedian, actor, author, singer, playwright, director, and songwriter. co-creator of Monty Python on TV, stage, and five films, including The Life of Brian and The Holy Grail, which he later adapted for the stage with John Du Prez as Monty Python's Spamalot, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2005, a Grammy, a Drama Desk Award, and playing for almost five years on Broadway. They also wrote the comic oratorio Not the Messiah, He's a Very Naughty Boy, in 2007, which played round the world and at The Hollywood Bowl and was filmed live at The Royal Albert Hall, and a musical play What About Dick? available soon on iTunes. He created and directed the first mockumentary The Rutles for NBC, starred as Ko-Ko in the English National Opera version of The Mikado in London and Houston, and appeared last year in The Pirates of Penzance in Central Park and in Not the Messiah at Carnegie Hall. He is also one of the conceivers of the musical Seussical. In 2012 he appeared live in front of a billion people worldwide singing his song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life at the Closing Ceremony of the London Olympics. Last year he created, directed, and appeared in the sold-out final Monty Python reunion show One Down Five to Go at London's O2 Arena for 10 nights, whose final performance was broadcast live round the world.

He has also acted in several movies, including Nuns on the Run, Splitting Heirs, Casper, Shrek the Third, and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen; and written two novels, The Greedy Bastard Diary and Pass the Butler, a West End play.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: PythonProfessor

Family (2)

Spouse Tania Kosevich (22 May 1981 - present)  (1 child)
Lyn Ashley (7 July 1969 - 1978)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Parents Ernest Idle
Nora Barron Idle

Trade Mark (6)

Signature Song: "Always look on the bright side of Life"
His characters on Monty Python were often mischievous, happy-go-lucky men.
Unruly dark blond hair and wide blue eyes
Frequently wore wigs on Monty Python's Flying Circus, more so than the other performers
Tall, skinny frame
Somewhat nasal voice

Trivia (37)

Daughter Lily (b. 1990), with Tania Kosevich.
Son Carey (b. 1973), with Lyn Ashley.
Member of the comedy group "Monty Python"
Studied English at Cambridge University. While at university, he was a member of the prestigious Cambridge Footlights Club, and later, President of the Footlights Club.
Eric's father, who served in the Royal Air Force, died in a car crash the Christmas Eve Eric was two years old.
The only member of the Monty Python group to write alone.
In 1963, as a collegiate, he was admitted into the Cambridge Footlights comedy club. He became president of the club the following year and one of his first acts was to open the membership up to include women. Feminist/writer Germaine Greer was one of the first to join.
Proudly calls himself "the third tallest member of Monty Python."
Is an accomplished guitar player.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 225-226. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Defeated Charles Barkley and Martha Stewart on a celebrity episode of Jeopardy! (1984) in 2002.
Got permission from the other members of Monty Python (except, naturally, Graham Chapman) to go ahead with his play/musical "Spamalot" (set to hit Broadway in early 2005), a twist on their classic film Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), because they all found the script hilarious.
Was once tasked by his fellow Pythons with composing a response to an angry piece of fan mail. Monty Python member Graham Chapman was openly gay, and a letter had been written citing Bible verses, stating that homosexuals should be stoned to death. He jokingly replied that they had stoned Chapman to death.
Friend of Robin Williams.
Describes himself as having "creative dyslexia", meaning he can look at any word and automatically see the anagrams that can be made from it. One of the characters he played in "Monty Python's Flying Circus" was a man who speaks only in anagrams.
Admired by the other Pythons for his circle of friends, it was he who procured part of the production money for Life of Brian (1979) from former Beatle George Harrison.
Appears as the M.C. in the 3-D film Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (1994) at Disneyland.
Although his picture An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1997) was a commercial and critical disappointment, Idle has been asked for Alan Smithee's "autograph" in real life...and consented (Smithee was the nonexistent, pseudonymous director whom Idle "portrayed" in said movie).
Rented out his house to Carrie Fisher during the production of Life of Brian (1979), while she was in London filming Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
Steve Martin calls him his mentor.
The only member of Monty Python not to appear on Friday Night, Saturday Morning (1979).
Was invited to the party Steve Martin was throwing that turned out to be his wedding.
Member of Monty Python along with John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam.
Producer of hit Broadway musical 'Monty Python's Spamalot' ("lovingly ripped-off from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975).") [February 2005]
Just signed a deal to have his musical "Spamalot" performed in Wynn's Resorts in Las Vegas in 2007. It will perform there for 10 years. [July 2005]
John Du Prez and his musical, "Monty Python's Spamalot" at the Nightblue Performing Arts Theatre in Chicago, Illinois was nominated for a 2014 Joseph Jefferson Non-Equity Award for Musical Production.
Knew Michael Palin and Terry Jones from university.
Longtime advocate for women's rights and animal rights.
On July 1st - 5th and July 15th - 20th, 2014, The Pythons performed Monty Python Live (Mostly) at the O2 to sold-out crowds of 16,000 for each of the 10 nights, Eric Idle wrote and directed the show.
Longtime friend of George Harrison.
On August 12, 2012 Eric performed "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" live at the London Olympic Games Closing Ceremony which was broadcast live around the world to approximately 1 Billion people.
On October 15, 2009 , Eric and the other surviving members of Monty Python accepted the BAFTA Lifetime Achievement Award on the 40th Anniversary of Monty Python in New York.
On November 12, 2008 Eric performed Swan Lake with the English National Ballet, and sings "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" for the We Are Most Amused Gala event held at the New Wimbledon Theatre in honor of the 60th birthday of HRH Prince Charles.
He and John Du Prez were awarded the 2010 Musical Score for "Monty Python's Spamalot" at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
Born on the same date as Vangelis.
Godfather of Duncan Jones.
Has homes in St Johns Wood, London and Provence, France.

Personal Quotes (83)

John Cleese once told me he'd do anything for money. So I offered him a pound to shut up, and he took it.
[on gay marriage] It's about time they suffered too.
[on his favourite sexual position] Flat on my back with my wallet open.
If the studios paid the artists, how would they ever be able to afford the executives?
There was a time when we were almost universally hated by large sections of society. Now that we are the cuddly old farts of comedy, I rather miss the hatred.
We couldn't get [Life of Brian (1979)] made then. We looked and looked for money and we couldn't find anyone to back it. Only George Harrison would back it - and that's because he mortgaged his house.
Americans like to think Python is how English people really are. There is an element of truth to that.
The odd thing is I knew that if [Spamalot] was going to be successful it would have to appeal to people who weren't just Python fans. What happened was that Middle America discovered Python through Spamalot.
I've been trying to write musicals since I did The Mikado (1987) with Jonathan Miller and the ENO in 1987. I'd do new gags each night. I thought, "I like this - we should find a subject". It took me about 20 years to find a subject.
[asked why Terry Gilliam insisted on him shaving his head for The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)] Pure sexual jealousy.
When we got to North America it was extraordinary to find that everybody assumed that we were totally stoned all the time while making it up. You had to point out to people that actually you can't write comedy when you're stoned, you can't find the typewriter, but a lot of people still say to this day, 'Oh when I was a college kid, man, we'd just get a joint and watch Python and we'd laugh and laugh.' And you think, 'Well, actually you didn't need Python, you could just look at the wallpaper!'
I was a war baby. My earliest memories are of a Wellington bomber crashing in flames into the field beside my nursery school. 'The pilot saw the kids and took the plane down,' said the nurses. I remember being forced into a Mickey Mouse gas mask, instilling a lifelong fear of rubber masks and the eponymous rodent.
I think there's something very seductive about the glamour of dressing up and playing somebody else, and that comes from a sadness. I think I only became any good eventually through Python by being disguised and by being other people and it was only latterly in my life that I have been able to be funny as myself or be confident. I don't have to put on a disguise or wear a wig now but that's what I used to do.
[talking about the orphanage/boarding school he grew up in] I still have nightmares that I'm back at the Ophney. It was a physically abusive, bullying, harsh environment for a kid to grow up in, a boarding school where nobody had any fathers. The terms were interminable, fourteen weeks with no emotional support.
I used to bridle when people used to describe us all as 'public school' - it's not true. Graham was Leicester Grammar, Terry was grammar, I was this nightmare school and Michael was Shrewsbury, which is a public school, and John was at Clifton, also a public school. That's two out of six.
[1975] A comedian must never be vulnerable. The great comedians are always apparently invulnerable on stage although off stage they were not such supermen.
I'm just trying to earn enough to get my daughter through college and my wife through collagen.
Comedians are not normal people. It is not a normal thing to do. You don't become a comedian without some early traumatizing experience, so comedy is also a coping mechanism.
No gentleman talks to anyone before noon. One of the reasons I write alone is that I can't bear speaking to anyone first thing in the morning.
[on Graham Chapman's funeral] The reaction was uproarious as he [John Cleese] became funnier and funnier, and in the end the spirit of Graham was released, and we all felt liberated. Yes of course everyone was sad and in tears, but we were laughing. After that, the hardest thing I ever had to do was sing 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.' For a moment trying to sing it was just terrible for me, because music makes you weep, while comedy makes you weep and laugh, but because of all the earlier laughter I got through it.
[on his education] I did S Level. Nobody's ever done S Level, because it's above A Level and I once found somebody else who'd done it and we reckoned we were the only two people in England who ever did S Level!
Being an ex-Python is weird. I suppose we are all mistaken for the people we once were, that's what the fossilization of fame is all about, but we're not really them, are we? Those young men are long since gone. We have to talk about them as though we still are them, but we're not, you know. They were smart, young, and terribly clever. We older, wider, and grayer men are their descendants. I used to be Eric Idle in Monty Python. But now I'm not. I'm not even like him. He drank and smoked and ate meat. He was married to a blond Australian. I'm none of the above.
Of course I'm not ashamed to lose it in public anymore, but a blubbing comic just ain't entertaining.
We [Brits] like to call it [soccer] "football" because, unlike American football, it is played with the feet.
[on meeting George Harrison for the first time] He never shut up. Thank God.
Secondary music is really bad for you. It's worse than smoking. At least smoking doesn't stop your thinking, but Muzak makes me resentful and gloomy.
He [Bill Murray] has such a lived-in face, and how rare it is to see a decent wrinkle on the screen. Hollywood is into facial prejudice in a big way. Age denial is the national sport.
There's a legendary story of one of the Monty Python boys being interviewed on a tape recorder by a pretty Canadian journalist while actually in flagrante, but wild horses would not drag the name of the recipient of this in-depth interview from my lips. To talk seriously on the radio about comedy while porking the questioner is still something of a high spot in the history of irony.
[on the BBC in the 1960s] It was fabulous. It was the golden age of executives, there weren't any.
[on his last correspondence with Robin Williams] Robin was supposed to come and do the last night, and all the time I was getting emails from him, and he was going downhill. Then he said he could come, but he didn't want to be onstage. I said, 'I totally get that.' Because he was suffering from severe depression. Through my friend Bobcat Goldthwait we were in touch, and in the end he said, 'I can't come, I'm sorry, but I love you very much.' We realized afterwards he was saying goodbye.
The secret of a good marriage is separate rooms. I've been with my current wife for 33 years and I can tell you that it works. I don't mean not having sex - you can shag anywhere. I think Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own applies to all human beings at all stages.
The dreadful thing about getting older is you cry at the drop of a hat. I used to make fun of Richard Attenborough for crying. Now I'm turning into him. I can't remember anybody's names, so I call everybody "darling" and I cry all the time.
I can be very angry and acerbic. Therapy is really useful. It gives me a triangulation on myself: "I was this asshole the other day; why did I do that?"
I like being a foreigner. For me to live in California is very pleasant - I'm more comfortable not feeling a part of everything, not feeling responsible for the government or the roads or the health system.
At school we had a very soggy, muddy playing field and I wasn't very good at football, so on a Thursday afternoon, instead of changing for compulsory games, I'd put on my school cap, march out the front door, go down town to Wolverhampton and watch a movie. I did this regularly every Thursday afternoon, for ages and ages, marching boldly past the headmaster's study and nobody ever caught me, because if you've got your cap on and you're walking through the front door, you're clearly doing some school business, right? So, I learnt very early on that if you're brazen, nobody questions you. If I'd been sneaking out I would probably have been caught. Well I finally was caught in my penultimate year. The headmaster sent for me and he said, 'Did you enjoy the movie this afternoon?' And I annoyed him by saying, 'No, not very much sir, it wasn't very good.'
[on a YouTube comment accusing Monty Python's film Life of Brian of blasphemy] It's odd, isn't it, that people still, after, what is it, 30 years?, still don't understand that Jesus Christ is in that movie twice in his own guise and they still insist on making it Brian. But when you're stupid, there's nothing that can be done. Well, this is exactly the sort of people we wish to upset. Thank you. Well done, job well done!
I remember the stripper in Bradford [who ended up being given a non-speaking part as a topless newsagent in the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch "The Dull Life of a City Stockbroker"]! Oh God, that was wild. I remember it very, very well. Ian MacNaughton insisted on filming this stripper in Bradford, and we said, 'But Ian we haven't written a stripper sketch.' 'Oh, I promised her a part, it's great, and she'll be great.' So we said, 'Oh right, we'll be undertakers.' We might have written the thing about the undertakers and we probably said, 'They're sitting there watching a stripper.' So we have to sit and watch this stripper and I find strip shows offensive. They're aggressive and women who do it are very aggressive, it's not at all sexy or erotic. She was a bit of a scrubber and she did this thing and I remember going, 'Oh, fucking hell.'
I've lost friends because I was just being ironic. I'm trying to eschew irony, but it's very hard. It's embedded deep in my bones.
People my age are terrified of the idea of downloading. They're scared.
[At boarding school] I got used to dealing with groups of boys and getting on with life in unpleasant circumstances and being smart, funny and subversive at the expense of authority. Perfect training for Python. The senior school was very rough when I got there at the age of eleven. Beatings were common. The masters could beat you with canes. The older boys, the prefects, were allowed to whack you with slippers. There was a dormitory 100 yards long which they would patrol at night, and if they heard anybody talking and nobody owned up, everybody had to get out of bed and bend over the end of their beds. They'd go down the line and whack the whole dormitory. And it was fucking freezing. It was a very grim, Midlands orphanage. I was cold until I was nineteen.
[on Los Angeles] A silly town where you don't have to take anything particularly seriously.
[1974] Interviews are so boring. People you expect to be interesting just go winding on and on and the whole procedure's such a waste of time. The Ellsberg interview in Rolling Stone was a worthwhile read because it divulged all sorts of facts that wouldn't otherwise be available. But that's an exception.
I was more well read than most teenagers because at boarding school there was nothing else to do in the evenings. I didn't have a fucking youth! In the evenings we did prep, then cleaned the school.
During the tour, particularly in Birmingham, Graham (Chapman) was so fucking drunk it was just horrible. He'd get very obstreperous and he'd always pick on me, he'd always have a go at me, I don't know why. And I'm not given to bullying, I don't like it, and I'm pretty spiky with it because I'm used to dealing with it. You don't let them bully you, so I'd always give him sharp tongue back. He'd get very angry because he was supposed to make a very quick change as a Colonel and then he came on in the 'Ken Shabby' sketch. We used to go on before him and there'd be a silence and you'd realise that somebody was off, and it was Graham. So I'd go on for him and I think one night John (Cleese) and I both went on for him, we both appeared on opposite sides of the stage trying to fill in. We fell in behind each other and walked about together desperately trying to fill in. He was always furious if you filled in for him, saying, 'What are you fucking doing? I'm in the sketch!' On the tours he would always have either David (Sherlock) or somebody topping him up with alcohol between bits. There was one time when we were filming up in Glencoe for the TV series - I came up, I'd been drinking on the train and I went to bed. I wasn't called first thing in the morning and I was so grateful as I had a huge hangover. So I staggered up, it was lunchtime and I met them all coming back. I said, 'What did you shoot?' Nobody would speak. Graham had had to do this one speech and he hadn't got it all morning. It took twenty-six takes, and they were all like 'Oh, fuck'. He'd been very excessive the night before. I got off the train and I was drunk after drinking all the way up to Edinburgh, and he was thrilled to see me because I was more drunk than he was. It was one of those nights when he was crawling round the bar. So, sometimes it seemed to be fun and sometimes it was really quite serious.
[on receiving abuse on Twitter] I tell them to fuck off. I find that works.
[on Graham Chapman] I was not really that close to him, as a pal, because he never revealed very much of himself, there was a lot hidden. It's hard to be friendly with somebody who's hidden.
My mother always had problems with communicating and I remember the first day she took me to [boarding] school she simply disappeared. She didn't say goodbye, she just took off, and later on she said: 'Well, I didn't want to cause a fuss. You were happily playing, so I thought I'd just slip away and avoid a scene.' I had no idea I was going to be left. I was just dumped. One or two abandonment issues there you can see ...
[2009] It is an odd thing to do comedy and we were an odd bunch. And it was not undergraduate humour, we are all graduates thank you very much. Perhaps our best achievement was managing to stay together long enough to segue from TV comedy into movies. All in all we managed fourteen years and that while we turned from young men into husbands and fathers. And do we still get on? Yes. We do. So there. Of course we bicker and bitch and gossip and moan about each other, but you just try attacking one of the others and see what you get.
Laughter is what I remember most [about being in Monty Python]. I don't think I ever laughed so much in my life. It was a writers' commune. For the first and last time in Showbiz history the Writers were in charge. All material had to be auditioned out loud. If we didn't laugh we sold it to other comedians. The Pythons wrote in pairs and Cleese would always read out Chapman/Cleese and Palin would always read out Jones/Palin. I was on my own. But it left me free to edit and assess. I have always thought of myself as the Python wicket keeper. Cleese, who always gave the impression of being somehow above the proceedings, would unleash devastating readings of his sketches destroying us, killing us, and occasionally we too would make him laugh, and his huge frame would lie full length on the floor roaring out loud and rolling around in merriment. The Doctor would chuckle. Gilliam would greet new material with a broad grin, Jonesy could go off into unexpected hysterics and Michael laughed freely and sometimes uncontrollably: once when Cleese nailed him with the Cheese Shop we thought some kind of medical intervention might be needed, and indeed a fresh bottle of Sancerre, prescribed by our own doctor, had to be applied before he calmed down. Graham of course, from St. Bart's hospital, was studying to be a fully qualified alcoholic. Typically, none of us noticed.
Life at Cambridge was different beyond belief for me. At school every second of your day was organised, and you did this at this time, and you did that at that time. Suddenly you were in charge of your life, and you could stay up all night. You'd have a tutorial once a week. You'd have to turn in an essay once a week. The rest of the time was entirely up to you. That sense of freedom is unbelievable and really profound, and the good news is the privilege was not having to earn a living, the privilege was having that time to find out who you were or what you wanted to be in an environment of other people all of the same age. That's when I first met public school people, who were completely different from my kind. We were lower middle-class oiks. We could barely scrape through. Grammar schools are what we dreamed of trying to get to if we could escape from the orphanage. I found a guy in LA recently who was there at the same time as me, and I said, 'How bad was it?' and he said, 'It was fucking grim, a nightmare.' But my mum had to work, that's what she had to do. There was no money, we were broke. It wasn't a picnic and it certainly wasn't a public school.
I think history played a big part in Python. Terry [Jones] did history, Mike [Palin] did history, I did history up to A level. When people say it's undergraduate humour I think they're wrong, it's postgraduate humour. By the time we're writing Python we've all been through Cambridge or Oxford.
I suppose it was difficult for my mother to cope with a growing son and a full-time job, and so at the age of seven she put me into a boarding school in Wolverhampton. It used to be called the Royal Orphanage, but it dropped the orphan bit just before I got there. However, we still called it the 'Ophney'. Ironically, the orphanage business had received a shot in the arm from the War and I was at school with a lot of other kids who had also lost their fathers in the War, paid for by the RAF Benevolent Fund. I went there from the age of seven until I finally managed to escape at the age of nineteen to go to Cambridge. There was a junior school from seven till eleven and then came the dreaded senior school, which was bleakly Victorian. It was very grim at the time, and terrifying in retrospect.
At boarding school there was nothing else to do but work and after a certain age it became interesting. After sixteen when you're doing A Level (I did history, geography and English literature), reading is your total escape.
[Terry] Gilliam came to us [Monty Python] when we were doing Do Not Adjust Your Set. I think we were down at Teddington, and he just appeared. Humphrey Barclay introduced him and he had some drawings and sketches that he'd done. Humphrey was a cartoonist, too, a very good cartoonist, and Gilliam appeared either under a lunch or a bar circumstance, and he had this fantastic coat, this Afghan coat. It was love at first sight. I fell in love with the coat immediately and I liked him. I took to him instantly, and for some reason I supported his wanting to join us, because we hadn't let anybody else be in our gang. We wouldn't even let the other guys write material in Do Not Adjust Your Set. It was just Mike [Michael Palin], me and Terry [Jones], we wrote it all. So I must have been really taken by him because I remember Mike and Terry didn't want him to have anything to do with it. He'd written some not very good sketches, but for some reason I said he should join us. I was really impressed by him. I don't know how or why, I can't explain, except it must have been right. I overruled their objections and talked them into going with him and so that's how he became involved.
I much prefer writing alone, but it's very hard. It's ten times harder than being in a team, because who do you make laugh? Who's laughing? I don't like working with other people, I find it exhausting. I like to write out of my own mind and I find that much more useful. You learn more about yourself, you become your own critic and that's the thing you learn much later on in life.
I wouldn't describe myself as self-confident, I was just totally ignorant. I fell into a play and they said, 'Well, there's a party ...' What's interesting for me is why I decided to perform cabaret at this party. That's really an interesting move at the end of my first term. I don't understand that - why? It was held in somebody's room downstairs, and somebody must have said, 'Oh well, do some entertainment.' Performing's a good way of hiding. I equate it as more like hiding in the spotlight. Putting a cap on and going out. Sometimes you feel more comfortable being in that spotlight world than you do off-stage. I'm a very instinctive performer. I don't think too much about it. I just find myself able to do it and I don't know what that is or where exactly that comes from. I really don't. I'm not being disingenuous. I remember doing it in the junior school, there was this woman who came in and did voice classes and acting, and I remember people looking at me and going 'God!' I must have thrown myself into a character or something and I just remember their reaction afterwards, going 'Whoa'. So I don't know what that is. I can't tell. I wouldn't necessarily describe it as confidence.
Life doesn't happen like that. You don't sit and think, 'I'm going to have a career now.' Things just happen.
In my final year [at Cambridge], I was suddenly the President of the Footlights where you get this awful pink jacket. So I decided that we'd have to have women in the revue. I said 'This is really stupid,' and insisted on changing the rules and admitting women.
The only good news about my school was that it got me to Cambridge, which was totally unexpected. People didn't go to university from our school, let alone Cambridge. My history master got me into Cambridge. He was a lovely man, he was ex-RAF and I loved history very much. And he'd been at Pembroke. The great thing about Pembroke was that I was interviewed by an Arabist, a mathematician and the Dean. If I'd been interviewed by somebody in the English department I'd never have got in. All we could talk about was the West End. I'd been to see all the plays in the West End, and they'd been to see the plays, so we could discuss plays, and they figured I was right for English Literature. That got me in, I just had to learn Latin. That was my quest for my last year at school. I had to learn Latin in a year and pass O Level and then I got in. It was like going into chrysalis form and going from a grub to a butterfly. Suddenly you went to this beautiful place and it was amazing, you didn't have to do anything, you could go and be with whoever you wanted. I went to lectures for half the first term and then I realised that I could achieve far more by reading in an hour anything somebody could tell you in ten hours of lectures.
[2017; as John Cleese explains why people should have cats instead of children] And also, they are the only ones you can really pussy-grab.
John [Cleese] had done two years teaching. I often wonder why he went back to his old school and taught. Wild horses wouldn't have dragged me back to my school. That's a huge gap at that age, two years. In an odd way he always still looks on us as if we're still just junior people coming around. The rest of us are annoying and get in the way and get on his wick. But of course at this age it's really good to be four years younger than John.
I was born on 29 March 1943 in Harton Hospital, South Shields. My mother was born in the same hospital, but not at the same time, interestingly enough.
I learned at boarding school to always quit [running] while you are behind [in physical education class], and then sneak off behind the bogs for a smoke.
[on Carol Cleveland and what she wrote about him in her autobiography] Sweet Carol. She doesn't get me at all, which is hardly her fault, but I do treasure waltzing with her and playing Mr. Bunn at O2. She is an utterly professional comedienne and totally reliable on stage, and never unprepared.
[on growing up in a semi-orphanage] Sad? A million sad tales I can tell you, repressed emotion recollected in tranquillity. A thing of duty is a boy forever. Per ardua ad astra. Through hard work to the stars. Could be the motto of mankind entering the Space Age. Or a young man entering show business.
[January 2017; asked about why his leg is in a cast] I fell over looking under the bed for a guitar case and broke my damn ankle. Not easy to do and quite painful.
[asked if he has taken part in a London park run yet] No gentleman ever runs...
I think Roy Hodgson should replace David Cameron because he only lost European football and not the whole of Europe.
[on his own early life] The boy becomes seven and is sent away to boarding school. Here's the irony; he is sent to a school to grow up with boys all of whom have lost their fathers in the war. A single-parent half-orphanage that had been, until just before he got there, a full-blown Victorian orphanage with boys in blue coats buttoning from the neck to the ankles. A Victorian school with a dormitory 110 yards long, the longest in Europe they are told. A dormitory which is so cold frost can be found inside in the bleak gray winter mornings. Twelve years he spends there. He becomes a comedian. Why a comedian? To avoid the bullying? To escape the irony? They called it the Ophny, short for orphanage. Sad, isn't it? 'Are you happy at school?' 'Oh yes, please, sir, thank you.' Twelve years of happiness. Pure bliss in the longest dormitory in Europe.
Bullying was endemic, beating common [at my school]. You could be beaten for anything - being late, being early, being tired, being funny, for silent insolence (my favorite), or for simply being a boy. Beating by prefects was by slipper on the ass. Masters could beat you with canes, usually six of the best across the backside from the headmaster. In the junior school one of the worst beatings was on the hand with a wooden ruler - that hurt like hell - or, even worse, across the back of the calves with a ruler. A sadist called Mrs McCartney beat me so badly in junior school because I got a maths problem wrong that forever after I was hopeless at maths.
The first night at school I remember the sound of abandoned kids in their beds sobbing. 'Blubbing,' it was called, and we soon learned to avoid it, the punishment being intolerable mockery from your peers. In this way we learned to hide our emotions. All good training for adult British life. I remember the freezing cold walk to 'the petts' at night, the urinals that constantly overflowed on the cold stone floor, so to 'take a slash,' you had to leap about barefoot, dodging the pools of piss.
I just got back from a lovely stay in Mexico. Such kind and generous and lovely people. Back to Trumpism and its hatred for immigrants. But then, I am one.
Graham [Chapman] used to annoy me because he wouldn't say anything and if you were writing with him it was really frustrating. I remember he came over to my flat and we were going to write something for Python. I thought, 'Well I'm not going to say anything until he does,' and he sat there with his pipe and I think two or three hours passed quite happily. Then he got up and said, 'Got to go now,' and off he went. I thought that was hilarious because it never began. But when he did say something it would be pretty wacky or memorable. His function in the group was that he made it smooth. People were able to communicate with John [Cleese] through Graham. He would always come up and say, 'Well, John says he doesn't want to do it but he'll come in in the end.' You know, we were always trying to decide, does he want to do it or not? Or shall we go ahead and do it without him? 'Well, he'll come in' - Graham was the interpreter. In a sense he was like the mother figure and John was a sort of father figure.
The rest of us had to decide what to do about the directing issue. How do you deal with it? It's a dreadful situation. Do we go to Jonesy, do we go to Gilliam? After Holy Grail I think Gilliam had a nervous breakdown. It was just dreadful, because here were two people, both of them very, very strong personalities, wanting control of everything.
[2018, on The Meaning of Life (1983)] It's got some very great parts, which are still very offensive, I'm happy to say.
Just ordered a quick lunch of crab cake and chips and they misheard and brought me cup cakes and chips. Very bizarre meal!
I was going to see Cats but I'm afraid I can't pronounce the letter B.
I didn't like talking to people in the morning - I still don't. I think you shouldn't talk to anyone before lunch time, no gentleman would do that.
Nothing would persuade me to get a tattoo...but then I'm a cowardly oldie.
I have Shoppophobia, which is fear of shopping.
[addressing persistent rumors that Monty Python wrote their material while on drugs] I don't know why people assume this. Was Shakespeare stoned when he wrote Twelfth Night. Was Kipling a tippler? Dickens a dipsomaniac? Sometimes your brain is your best friend....
[2019] I was once 6 foot and half an inch. I was shocked to discover I was now only 5 foot 11.
[after mentioning he owned both a hamster and a guinea pig, he is asked if these animals pee on their owners] Only if trained.

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