Eric Idle
British comedian
Eric Idle
Eric Idle is an English comedian, actor, author, singer, writer, and comedic composer. He was a member of the British surreal comedy group Monty Python, a member of the The Rutles on Saturday Night Live and the author of the Broadway play, Spamalot.
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'Monty Python' Stars Eric Idle And John Cleese Sing About Their Hatred Of Selfies
Huffington Post - 4 months
These “Monty Python” stars are not looking on the bright side of selfies. Eric Idle and John Cleese are so fed up with fans asking to snap pictures with them that they’ve penned a hilarious new song. “It’s about being on the road and what we’ve learned,” Idle told late night host Conan O’Brien on Thursday, before launching into the amusing ditty. “It’s one from the heart,” Cleese added. Check out the full song in the clip above. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=573ed206e4b045cc9a709ea7,57e68749e4b0e28b2b5442f5,56489981e4b06037734970e7,56543100e4b0258edb32d0a9 -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Huffington Post article
A Most Ingenious Paradox
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Many opera companies have experimented with updating works from the standard repertoire in order to make them more relevant to contemporary audiences. Why? Doing so has financial as well as artistic rewards (because the scores to many operas are now in the public domain, an impresario may not need to pay royalties in order to be granted production rights). In 1866, Gaetano Donizetti's 1832 opera, The Elixir of Love, became the subject of a musical parody written by none other than William S. Gilbert, entitled Dulcamara, or the Little Duck and the Great Quack. In the 1980s, James De Blasis used a new translation of Felice Romani's libretto for an updated version of Elixir of Love that was set in the Wild West and has occasionally been referred to as "Adina Get Your Gun." In 2012, tenor Rolando Villazòn sang the role of Nemorino and directed a new "Wild West" production of Donizetti's opera at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. The San Francisco Opera recently scored ...
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Huffington Post article
Laugh On
Huffington Post - over 1 year
I was raised with laughter. My parents' house was always filled with comedians, dancers, actors and writers. My Mother was a ballerina, and danced with The Royal Ballet Company in London."Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship,and is by far the best ending for one." OSCAR WILDE I learned to laugh young from the best in the business. Eric Sykes, Tommy Cooper, Norman Wisdom, Hattie Jacques, Spike Milligan, and Peter Sellers. In 1968 however I discovered a new breed of comedian, a group that'd recently graduated from Cambridge and would eventually become Monty Python's Flying Circus in 1969. A year earlier David Frost produced a TV show called "HOW TO IRRITATE PEOPLE" written by Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, and Marty Feldman, and starring Connie Booth, Michael Palin and John Cleese. I remember roaring with laughter when I watched sketches like "The Car Salesman" and "Airline Pilots," where Cleese and Chapman as the pilots start "reassuring" the ...
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Huffington Post article
Rock on but lighten up: At Festival Supreme, 'real bands' with, yes, a sense of humor
LATimes - over 1 year
When Festival Supreme launched in 2013, music felt more like the setup than the payoff on a bill packed with guitar-strumming comedians such as Adam Sandler, Eric Idle and Garfunkel and Oates. Last year the same was mostly true of this annual event, organized by Jack Black and Kyle Gass of the...
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LATimes article
Stephen Hawking, Brian Cox and Eric Idle cover Monty Python's Galaxy Song
Daily Mail (UK) - almost 2 years
British physicist Stephen Hawking has sung Monty Python's Galaxy Song (clip from the video shown). The song is being released digitally and on vinyl for Record Store Day 2015.
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Daily Mail (UK) article
All You Need Is Love: The Beatles in My Life
Huffington Post - about 3 years
For the past month or two, I've had the honor of spending a significant part of my time helping to celebrate the uniquely positive and enduring impact of The Beatles on our lives. I was happy to do so on The Grammy Awards, in Playtone's The Sixties: The British Invasion on CNN, and this Sunday night on CBS, The Beatles -- The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute. Our big Grammy Salute to The Beatles is airing on the same network exactly 50 years after John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr first played on The Ed Sullivan Show. Please please me and see it -- it's Fab. This two-and-a-half-hour CBS special features performances by Stevie Wonder, Dave Grohl, Katie Perry, Jeff Lynne, Joe Walsh, Maroon Five, Brad Paisley, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Keith Urban, Pharrell Williams, Gary Clark Jr., Imagine Dragons and John Mayer, and appearances by Johnny Depp, David Letterman, Anna Kendrick, Jeff Bridges, LL Cool J, Kate Beckinsale and Eric Idle. Of course, the who ...
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Huffington Post article
Speaking to Terry Gilliam About "The Zero Theorem"
Huffington Post - about 3 years
"Your movie is so sad!" I said to Terry Gilliam, as we sat to discuss his film The Xero Theorem, which just screened in The Marrakech International Film Festival. The Zero Theorem features an alienated solitary computer programmer who lives in a post-modern desacralized ruin of a church, staring at virtual computer images and waiting for one day the "answer" to come to give him meaning in his life. The only answers seem to come from the (im)possibility of romance with a young blonde or from the cheerful company of a geeky boy who comes to help. The film finishes with the man alone before a ridiculously kitsch sunset. Might Gilliam be sad himself? "Of course I am a bit like my character," Gilliam laughed, jolly, and leaned before us, over his Moroccan tea. "I am sad! I was once an optimistic boy, and then...then life happened! Now I need more money. It takes years to find the money to make a film. I spend a lot of time depressed. I think sometimes I will never wor ...
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Huffington Post article
Monty Python reunion show sells out in 43.5 seconds
Yahoo News - over 3 years
Monty Python added another four dates to their "one-off" reunion show on Monday after thousands of tickets to their first London live performance sold out in just 43.5 seconds. John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin announced their long-awaited return to the stage last week, sparking huge excitement among fans of the comedians who have not performed together since 1980. Four further shows immediately went on sale: 2-5 July," a spokesman for Monty Python told AFP. The troupe became famous with their irreverent and surreal television show "Monty Python's Flying Circus" from 1969 to 1974, which was sold to almost 100 countries.
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Yahoo News article
Comedy troupe Monty Python announces reunion
Yahoo News - over 3 years
The five surviving members of Britain's cult comedy troupe Monty Python reunited on Thursday to announce a one-off show next year, three decades after they last performed together. John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin will perform some of their best-known sketches at London's 20,000-capacity O2 Arena on July 1. Asked why they were getting together now, Idle joked: "We're all trying to pay for Terry Jones's mortgage." Cleese said "at first" the gig would be "a one and only" but refused to rule out other performances in some of the 98 countries where the Monty Python TV shows were sold.
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Yahoo News article
Climate Counts Heads North in Search of Great White Hope
Huffington Post - over 3 years
For years, whenever the topic of climate change arises, it is seemingly always juxtaposed with an image of a polar bear; usually a starving one, or one that is clinging to the very last outcropping of sea ice on the North Pole as an unwitting poster child of man's greatest pitfall. So often is this the case, that when I joined Climate Counts in the summer of 2011, my mantra became, "We need to make this less about the polar bears." Well, here I am, 10 days out from joining my friends at Polar Bears International on a 5-day excursion of the frozen tundra to broadcast about climate change in Churchill, Manitoba (polar bear capital of the world) and I'm hoping against hope the great white beasts haven't been listening. Drip, goes the irony. Truth be told, while the primary goal of the trip is to conduct a series of climate change web events targeted at university students, corporate sustainability folks and the zoo and aquarium community, for me it's become a soul-searching missi ...
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Huffington Post article
A Comedy Woodstock, Courtesy Of Tenacious D
NPR - over 3 years
Next weekend, Los Angeles will host a massive festival dedicated to alternative comedy, featuring acts Eric Idle of Monty Python, Sarah Silverman, Adam Sandler and dozens of others. Host Arun Rath speaks with the organizers (as well as one of the marquee acts): Jack Black and Kyle Gass, better known as the outrageous acoustic-metal band Tenacious D. » E-Mail This     » Add to
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NPR article
Monty Python lose 'Spamalot' court battle
Yahoo News - over 3 years
By Li-mei Hoang LONDON (Reuters) - The surviving members of the British comedy troupe Monty Python lost a High Court battle on Friday over tens of thousands of pounds in royalties from their hit Broadway musical "Spamalot". Mark Forstater, who helped produce the 1975 film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" on which the stage show was based, said he had not received his fair share of the profits from the spin-off. Despite hearing evidence from three Pythons - Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones - the judge, Justice Alastair Norris, sided with the producer. ...
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Yahoo News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Eric Idle
  • 2014
    Age 70
    Eric Idle was the creator and director of the live show "Monty Python Live (mostly) – One down, Five to go", which took place at the O2 Arena in London between 1 and 20 July 2014.
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  • 2012
    Age 68
    Idle performed the song at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on 12 August 2012 and as the farewell song of the last show of the Pythons at the O2 arena, 20 July 2014.
    More Details Hide Details As Ko-Ko in the 1987 English National Opera production of The Mikado, Idle wrote his own 'Little List' on "As some day it may happen". In 1990, Idle sang and co-wrote the theme tune to the popular British sitcom One Foot in the Grave. The song was later released, but did poorly in the charts. However, when "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" was adopted as a football chant in the late 1980s, Idle's then neighbour Gary Lineker suggested Idle re-record and release the popular track. With help from Radio 1 breakfast show host Simon Mayo, who gave the song regular airplay and also used the chorus within a jingle, it became a hit, some 12 years after the song's original appearance in Life of Brian, reaching number 3 in the UK charts and landing Idle a set on Top of the Pops in October 1991. He recorded a special version of the song for Mayo's own use on air ("Come on Simon, get another song on now; why don't you put on a nice Cliff Richard record?") and changed the line "life's a piece of shit" to "life's a piece of spit" in order to get daytime airplay on radio. Idle presented Mayo with a model human foot, akin to the one used in the Monty Python title sequence, as a thank you gift for promoting the song.
    Eric Idle was a popular addition to the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in London on 12 August, performing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life".
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  • 2011
    Age 67
    Idle contributed a cover of Buddy Holly's "Raining in My Heart" for the tribute album Listen to Me: Buddy Holly, released 6 September 2011.
    More Details Hide Details Idle also wrote and sang a variant of the galaxy song for Professor Brian Cox's show, Wonders of Life as well as the new theme for Cox's radio show The Infinite Monkey Cage.
  • 2007
    Age 63
    In June 2007, "Not the Messiah", a comic oratorio by Idle and John Du Prez premiered at the inaugural Luminato arts festival in Toronto.
    More Details Hide Details Idle himself performed during this 50-minute oratorio, along with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and members of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. The composer, John Du Prez, was also present. Shannon Mercer, Jean Stilwell, Christopher Sieber, and Theodore Baerg sang the principal parts. The American premiere was at Caramoor (Westchester County, New York) on 1 July 2007. Soloists were the same as in the Toronto performance, but the accompanying chorus was made up of members of New York City's Collegiate Chorale. The show was revised and expanded for a tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2007, including two sell-out nights at the Sydney Opera House. A tour during the summer of 2008 included performances with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C., the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Virginia, and Houston.
  • 2004
    Age 60
    In 2004, Idle recorded a protest song of sorts, the "FCC Song", in which he lambastes the US Federal Communications Commission for fining him $5,000 for saying the word "fuck" on national radio. Fittingly, the short song contains 14 uses of that expletive. The song can be downloaded in MP3 and OGG Vorbis format at the Internet Archive. In 2004, the musical comedy Spamalot debuted in Chicago and opened in New York's Shubert Theatre on 14 February 2005.
    More Details Hide Details Idle wrote the lyrics and book for Spamalot, collaborating with John Du Prez on much of the music. The original 2005 Broadway theatre production was nominated for 14 Tony Awards and won three: Best Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Sara Ramirez), and Best Direction of a Musical (Mike Nichols). He wrote, produced and performed the song "Really Nice Day" for the movie The Wild.
  • 2003
    Age 59
    During his Greedy Bastard Tour of 2003, he wrote the diaries that would be made into The Greedy Bastard Diary: A Comic Tour of America, published in February 2005.
    More Details Hide Details Idle also wrote the book and co-wrote the music and lyrics for the musical Monty Python's Spamalot, based on the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It premiered in Chicago before moving to Broadway, where it received the Tony Award for Best Musical of the 2004–05 season. Idle won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics. In a 2005 poll to find "The Comedians' Comedian" (UK), he was voted 21 in the top 50 greatest comedy acts ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders. An example of Idle's idiosyncratic writing is "Ants in Their Pants" – a poem about the sex life of ants. It starts as follows: Idle is an accomplished songwriter, having composed and performed many of the Pythons' most famous comic pieces, including "Eric the Half-a-Bee", "The Philosophers' Song", "Galaxy Song", "Penis Song" and, probably his most recognised hit, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life", which was written for the closing scene of the Monty Python film Life of Brian, and sung from the crosses during the mass crucifixion. The song has since been covered by Harry Nilsson, Bruce Cockburn, Art Garfunkel and Green Day. Idle, his fellow Pythons, and assorted family and friends performed the song at Graham Chapman's memorial service.
    In late 2003, Idle began a performing tour of several American and Canadian cities entitled The Greedy Bastard Tour.
    More Details Hide Details The stage performances consisted largely of music from Monty Python episodes and films, along with some original post-Python material. In 2005, Idle released The Greedy Bastard Diary, a book detailing the things the cast and crew encountered during the three-month tour. In 2004, Idle created Spamalot, a musical comedy based on the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The medieval production tells the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as they journey on their quest for the Holy Grail. Spamalot features a book and lyrics by Eric Idle, music by Idle and John Du Prez, direction by Mike Nichols, and choreography by Casey Nicholaw. More recently, Idle provided the voice of Merlin the magician in the DreamWorks animated film Shrek the Third (2007) with his former Python co-star John Cleese, who voiced King Harold.
  • 1999
    Age 55
    From 1999 to 2000, he played Ian Maxtone-Graham on the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan.
    More Details Hide Details He has also acted as narrator of the AudioNovel version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl and Waddlesworth the parrot in 102 Dalmatians and the video game of the same name.
  • 1998
    Age 54
    In 1998, Idle appeared in the lead role in the poorly received film Burn Hollywood Burn.
    More Details Hide Details That same year, he also provided the voice of Devon, a dragon, in Warner Bros. Animated film Quest for Camelot and as Slyly the albino Arctic fox in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie. In recent years, Idle has worked with people who regard him as a huge inspiration, such as Trey Parker and Matt Stone in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, in which he voiced Dr. Vosknocker. He has also made three appearances on The Simpsons as famous documentarian Declan Desmond, so far the only appearance on the show by a Python.
  • 1996
    Age 52
    In 1996, he reprised his role as Rincewind for the game's sequel, and composed and sang its theme song, "That's Death".
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  • 1995
    Age 51
    In 1995, he voiced Rincewind the "Wizzard" in a computer adventure game based on Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels.
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  • 1994
    Age 50
    In 1994, he appeared as Dr. Nigel Channing, chairman of the Imagination Institute and host of an 'Inventor of the Year' awards show in the three-dimensional film Honey, I Shrunk the Audience!, which was an attraction at Walt Disney World's Epcot from 1994 until 2010 and at Disneyland from 1998 until 2010.
    More Details Hide Details The film also stars Rick Moranis and other members of the cast of the 1989 feature film Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. In 1999, he reprised the role in the second (poorly received) version of the "Journey into Imagination" ride at Epcot, replacing Figment and Dreamfinder as the host. Due to an outcry from Disney fans, Figment was reinstated into the ride. Idle is also writer and star of the 3-D film Pirates – 4D for Busch Entertainment Corporation.
  • 1989
    Age 45
    In 1989, he appeared in the U.S. comedy television series Nearly Departed, about a ghost who haunts the family inhabiting his former home; the series lasted for six episodes as a summer replacement series.
    More Details Hide Details Idle received good critical notices appearing in projects written and directed by others – such as Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989), alongside Robbie Coltrane in Nuns on the Run (1990) and in Casper (1995). He also played Ratty in Terry Jones' version of The Wind in the Willows (1996). However, his own creative projects – such as the film Splitting Heirs (1993), a comedy he wrote, starred in and executive-produced – were mostly unsuccessful with critics and audiences.
  • 1987
    Age 43
    In 1987, he took part in the English National Opera production of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera The Mikado, in which he appeared in the role of the Lord High Executioner, Ko-Ko.
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  • 1986
    Age 42
    In 1986, Idle provided the voice of Wreck-Gar, the leader of the Junkions (a race of robots built out of junk that can only speak in film catchphrases and advertising slogans) in The Transformers: The Movie.
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  • 1973
    Age 29
    This ran for two seasons from 1973 to 1974 and involved Idle performing sketches and links to records, with himself playing nearly all the multi-tracked parts.
    More Details Hide Details On television, Idle created Rutland Weekend Television (RWT), a sketch show on BBC2, written by himself, with music by Neil Innes. RWT was 'Britain's smallest television network'. The name was a parody of London Weekend Television, the independent television franchise contractor that provided Londoners with their ITV services at weekends; Rutland had been England's smallest county, but had recently been 'abolished' in an administrative shake-up. To make the joke complete, the programme went out on a weekday. Other regular performers were David Battley, Henry Woolf, Gwen Taylor and Terence Bayler and George Harrison made a guest appearance on one episode. A legacy of RWT was the creation, with Innes, of the Rutles, an affectionate parody of the Beatles. The band became a popular phenomenon, especially in the U.S. where Idle was appearing on Saturday Night Live – fans would send in Beatles LPs with their sleeves altered to show the Rutles. In 1978, the Rutles' mockumentary film All You Need Is Cash, a collaboration between Python members and Saturday Night Live, was aired on NBC television, as written by Idle, with music by Innes. Idle appeared in the film as "Dirk McQuickly" (the Paul McCartney-styled character of the group), as well as the main commentator, while Innes appeared as "Ron Nasty" (the band's stand-in for John Lennon). Actors appearing in the film included Saturday Night Live John Belushi, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner, as well as fellow Python Michael Palin, but also real musicians of the 1960s such as former real Beatle George Harrison, as well as Mick Jagger and Paul Simon.
  • 1965
    Age 21
    Idle started at Cambridge only a year after future fellow-Pythons Graham Chapman and John Cleese. He became Footlights President in 1965 and was the first to allow women to join the club.
    More Details Hide Details Idle starred in the children's television comedy series Do Not Adjust Your Set co-starring his future Python fellows Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Terry Gilliam provided animations for the show. The show's cast also included comic actors David Jason and Denise Coffey.
  • 1948
    Age 4
    Idle also appeared as guest in some episodes of the television series At Last the 1948 Show, which co-featured future Python members John Cleese and Graham Chapman.
    More Details Hide Details Idle wrote for Python mostly by himself, at his own pace, although he sometimes found it difficult in having to present material to the others and make it seem funny without the back-up support of a partner. The other Pythons usually worked in teams and Cleese admitted that this was slightly unfair – when the Pythons voted on which sketches should appear in a show, "he (Idle) only got one vote". However, he also says that Idle was an independent person and worked best on his own. Idle himself admitted this was sometimes difficult: "You had to convince five others. And they were not the most un-egotistical of writers, either." Idle's work in Python is often characterised by an obsession with language and communication: many of his characters have verbal peculiarities, such as the man who speaks in anagrams, the man who says words in the wrong order, and the butcher who alternates between rudeness and politeness every time he speaks. A number of his sketches involve extended monologues (for example the customer in the "Travel Agency" sketch who won't stop talking about his unpleasant experiences with holidays), and he would frequently spoof the unnatural language and speech patterns of television presenters. Unlike Palin, Idle is said to be the master of insincere characters, from the David Frost-esque Timmy Williams, to small-time crook Stig O'Tracy, who tries to deny the fact that organised crime master Dinsdale Piranha nailed his head to the floor.
  • 1943
    Born on March 29, 1943.
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