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Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

A Sortabiography
Written by: Eric Idle
Narrated by: Eric Idle
Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
5 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 35.09
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Publisher's Summary

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 an unforgettable journey from his childhood in an austere boarding school through his successful career in comedy, television, theater, and film. 

Coming of age as a writer and comedian during the '60s and '70s, Eric stumbled into the crossroads of the cultural revolution and found himself rubbing shoulders with the likes of George Harrison, David Bowie, and Robin Williams, all of whom became dear lifelong friends. With anecdotes sprinkled throughout involving other close friends and luminaries such as Mike Nichols, Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Paul Simon, Lorne Michaels, and many more, as well as the Pythons themselves, Eric captures a time of tremendous creative output with equal parts hilarity and heart. In Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, named for the song he wrote for Life of Brian (the film he originally gave the irreverent title Jesus Christ: Lust for Glory) and that has since become the number-one song played at funerals in the UK, he shares the highlights of his life and career with the kind of offbeat humor that has delighted audiences for five decades. 

The year 2019 marks the 50th 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.

©2018 Eric Idle (P)2018 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"A hilarious, charming, book by this incredible, i̶n̶s̶u̶f̶f̶e̶r̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ genius.” (Steve Martin) 

"A gentle, sane man has lived a turbulent, crazy life and he's written a gorgeous book about it. Eric Idle joyously recounts his existence in these pages. Did I say 'joyfully'? I meant 'ruefully.'" (Patton Oswalt) 

"On the last day, when the last human beings look out at the blackened cinders of their world, I can only hope that one of them will sing, 'Some things in life are bad, they can really make you mad,' and 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' will ring out as humanity's final words. I loved this biography of a song and the man who made it, and the picture he paints of his life, his friends, his passions, five Pythons, and a Beatle." (Neil Gaiman) 

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A well done, almost complete history of Python

this autobiography feels way more complete than John's. though I do like 'So anyway' I felt it mostly focused on the pre-python days an ends as the pyhtons take off, but I wanted to know what happened afterwards, and this sortabiography did the trick.

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An awesome book!!

I really enjoyed this book. well written. I highly recommemd it! Eric Idle is very funny!

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Great fun

Well written, well read and funny. What more can you ask for? I recommend it.

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  • LJ
  • 2018-10-09

Eric Idle name-dropping, which can't be helped

So glad I was up late one night watching post-11pm news to see his name listed on whichever show he was on, otherwise I'd have not heard about this book.

I know I enjoyed this book because I stopped reading another book to read this one whenever I had a chance, finishing it in about 2-3 nights. I am so glad that he took the time to read (narrate) it so we could enjoy all the nuances. I especially liked the interruption by Michael Palin. (Makes me wonder how they did that in the printed version.) It has to be much better in Audible. Glad I purchased this version.

As a Beatles fan, and of George in particular, it was so nice to learn more about George. So glad they were friends. Learned a few more things about the Pythons. (I have always had a soft spot for Michael Palin, my favorite Python.) And so nice to hear how well they all collaborated and how a veto from one person for a project was enough to snuff it. Good for them. But also didn't realize just how prolific Eric Idle has been.

As for my title, he certainly name-dropped a lot (my reason for 4/5 stars), but then it's a sortabiography and he knew these people so how can he tell his story without mentioning them and their connections? Also clear that he met and married the love of his life so many years ago. It's so nice when two people meant to be together find each other!

On the downside, I created several Audible clips, none of which actually worked when I forwarded them to friends. It's that kind of book where you want to preserve parts of it to listen to again. Just wish I could share them with others so they'd buy the book, too.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • GuinnessTV
  • Cape Coral, FL
  • 2019-01-16

Confirmed

Without question, a book. Now, padding this out so the review contains 15 English words.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Constant Reader
  • LA, CA, USA
  • 2018-10-15

I'm Famous...and You're Not...

I love the Pythons. I adore Eric Idle. They have given me such great pleasure...such wonderful laughs...and such iconic
moments. THey define large swaths of my life. But sadly, not this "sortabiography" -- which should be subtitled "Famous People I've Met...And you Haven't!" The name dropping is relentless...and kind of joyless. This is more a timeline than a book, dotted with the boldfaced names Idle has met. A third of the way through, I'm exhausted. I give up.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Stacey Klitzing
  • 2019-01-13

It's better than Spam!

No... really! It is! What!? You don't think so?? Well, f**k off!!
And then enjoy the book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • William L Eckman
  • Sterling, Va. USA
  • 2019-01-09

Idle tells his life story hilarity ensues.

The performance was expectedly great as often Idle was laughing as he read his book. Python was like The Beatles or Rolling Stones of comedy and apparently rock royalty even Elvis were huge fans of Python. These fans became Idle's friends the best part of the book is Idle's many stories of his friend George Harrison who by all accounts was a very special person and as Idle noted Harrison had a great sense of humor and despite his image as being quite instead he was a big talker. Idle's poignant retelling of Harrison and his wife's 15 minute running battle for their life with a disturbed knife wielding assaulter was particularly engaging.
Name dropping is a double edged sword. Idle spent so much of his life hanging out with many of the most well know celebrities of his generation that his retelling nearly became tedious almost fatuous. But, his self mocking about his name dropping saved the book. This is light reading that has as much humor as one would expect from a member of one of the best comedy acts of the baby boom generation.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Carol J Tistan
  • 2018-10-24

The failed pessimist!

This is a wonderful telling of an extraordinary humans life. Eric Idle shares his story with honesty and compassion with the right amount of sentiment. Thru the telling Of his life i recall my own travel through life up to now and how I became who i am. Eric's narration is superb and his familiar voice comforting to listen to. Most importantly I laughed and laughed as if I was revisting my first watching of the Flying Circus. Thank you Eric for sharing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • michael k harlan
  • 2019-02-15

Always look

If you want to laugh until you cry this THE book for you! I have never enjoyed anything as much as this

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  • Deborah Burrell-Horn
  • Ohio
  • 2019-02-14

he's not dead yet.

fascinating look into the life of a legend in his own words. so much I learned about him that I did not know.

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  • mlsimmons
  • 2019-02-13

A must listen for Python fans

I was in a weird mood last week and didn’t want to listen to any of the books I had on my iPod. I started looking through my Audible wishlist and found this book by Eric Idle. I’ve been a fan of Monty Python movies for a long time now. My love started out with Monty Python and the Holy Grail (which has some of the best one-liners in any movie). Then I watched The Life of Brian (which to this day is still my favorite of all the Python movies).

This book starts off with Idle growing up as a poor boy in Britain during World War II. Then quickly moves on to his becoming a comedian and how he met the other Pythons. I really liked hearing about how Python came to exist.

I learned so much about Monty Python and about the many other celebrities they met and hung out with. Come to find out, Elvis was a huge Python fan and used to stay up nights reciting skits in bed. He also talks about how he made Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles laugh historically. How he became friends with all of the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Robin Williams and George Harrison (who funded the entirety of The Life of Brian because he wanted to see the movie).

There were some really great parts about the making of Spamalot (I’m still mad at my husband for not taking me to see it when it was here last month). He also talked about winning the Tony for best musical.

There’s also a very touching tribute to George Harrison. He talks about a vicious attack on Harrison and his wife that almost killed the two of them and that Idle thinks it made Harrison die faster. There’s also a very touching tribute to Robin Williams.

He ends the book talking about what his last words would be and what his obituary would be. He even believes he will be forced to sing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” (which is the most requested song at British funerals, also became a war song and at several different sports venues) at his own funeral.

This is a must listen to any fan of Monty Python.

Narration
This book is narrated by Eric Idle himself. I love listening to memoirs narrated by the author. You really feel like they are telling you their life story as if you’re sitting in a living room. No one else could’ve narrated this because Idle voice several of the characters that he played in movies and in Flying Circus.

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  • Camilo Villegas
  • 2019-02-12

A great and funny book

A great and funny book, by a great and funny man. Great anecdotes, great writing.