Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Monty Python's Tunisian Holiday: My Life with Brian” as Want to Read:
Monty Python's Tunisian Holiday: My Life with Brian
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Monty Python's Tunisian Holiday: My Life with Brian

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  186 ratings  ·  45 reviews
In 1978, Kim “Howard” Johnson ran away to join the circus---Monty Python’s Flying Circus, that is. The Pythons converged on Tunisia to film their timeless classic, Life of Brian, and Howard found himself in the thick of it, doubling for nearly all the Pythons, playing more roles in the film than John Cleese, and managing to ruin only one shot. He became the unit ...more
Hardcover, 335 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2008)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Monty Python's Tunisian Holiday, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Monty Python's Tunisian Holiday

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  186 ratings  ·  45 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Monty Python's Tunisian Holiday: My Life with Brian
Nov 01, 2010 rated it did not like it
A Monty Python fanboy inexplicably hooks up with the Python troupe, heads to Tunisia to "help" with making the movie "Life of Brian" with no skills or experience, then captures his tedious observations in a personal diary along with a few photos. The author drones on and on about the most mundane details on and off the set, sounding like a guy at a party who bores everyone to death about the backstage experience with The Rolling Stones that he won as the Grand Prize in a Dr. Pepper sweepstakes. ...more
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite an interesting look into the filming of Monty Python’s Life of Brian. I enjoyed hearing the inside stories and was impressed with the narrator’s ability to jump between accents.

It was filmed at the same location in Tunisia as Franco Zefffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth.

I love the fact that they took a look at the life of Jesus and found nothing to parody, so they had to take a different tack.

If you’re a Python fan - or a fan of this movie, you’ll probably enjoy this short book.
Apr 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m not really sure why so many people have called this book “boring.” I’m assuming it’s because they don’t realize how uneventful being on a movie set can be. (I’ve been on dozens of them; trust me, they can be pretty darn boring a majority of the time.) And yes, I agree that the forewords written by Cleese and Palin et al. were quite funny, but what they wrote was fictitious. It was meant to be outrageous, it was meant to be over the top. What Mr. Johnson gave us was reality; he gave us what ...more
Dec 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
While I really enjoyed the story, the typeface was so difficult that what most sticks with me is how difficult it was to read. That being said, I was quite a lot of fun, had some laughing-out-loud moments, and I got breathless with anticipation waiting for George with the rest of them. Really a fine book, both from the perspective of Monty Python and film-making. I'd gladly recommend it, but be sure to bring your reading glasses.
Nov 30, 2010 rated it did not like it
Unfortunately, after the foreword there were few laughs during this bland diary of the making of Life Of Brian. So disappointed. I really wanted to love this book.
Jan 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: other Monty Python fans
A great look at the behind the scenes of the filiming of "Monty Python's Life of Brian". Now I need to watch the film again to see if I can spot "Kim" in all the scenes in which he appeared.
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If you want to find out more about Monty Pyhton and behind the scenes at the filming of "the life of Brian", heres a really good book.
May 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: biography, film, humor
review of
Kim "Howard" Johnson's Monty Python's Tunisian Holiday
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - May 19, 2012

I stopped watching tv when I was 16, around 1969 or 1970. I still think it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Monty Python's Flying Circus started broadcasting in England around the same time. I don't know when the program started being broadcast in the US but I'm sure I knew about it when it happened. Undoubtedly I witnessed bits & pieces of it here & there & found
Derelict Space Sheep
Sep 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, humour

Though mildly interesting, Johnson’s memoir of the Life of Brian location filming will fail to engage most readers. Behind the scenes, the Pythons were normal, funny people (who no doubt seemed funnier at the time). The production itself was drudgerous but uneventful.
Steve Chaput
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose the audiobook version of the book and quite liked it. Would have been nice to see the accompanying photos and such, but I don't think you really miss much by not getting those.

For those not familiar with Kim "Howard" Johnson he was a fan of the Pythons, like so many of us were, but through correspondence with several of them and some meetings he eventually befriended the group. I'm reminded of my ex who turned her love of the Firesign Theater into a long-time friendship with those
Jul 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
Kim "Howard" Johnson lived an incredible fantasy. He went from being a kid in Michigan editing a fanzine about Monty Python to befriending the cast and being flown to Tunisia to take part in the filming of The Life of Brian, arguably Python's finest film. While on location, he was in many scenes as an extra or bit player, was the official still photographer for the film, conducted deadly boring interviews with just about everyone he could find, and kept a diary. This book is that diary and those ...more
Feb 08, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: i-give-up
Four members of MP wrote separate introductions - those are funny. The book itself is boring after not very long.

Since the movie for which he is describing the making was done 30 years ago, one had to wonder why this fellow waited so long to convert his notes, taken while an actor in the film, into a book. He had in the interim produced five other books about Monty Python. Perhaps the answer is because even he realized it wasn't going to be a terribly engaging reading experience. Still, there is
Feb 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, film, memoir
Kim "Howard" Johnson's diary of his experiences with the Pythons while they were shooting Life of Brian is pretty bland stuff, really. Why it took a couple of decades after the movie was made to get published is a mystery, unless it seemed such mild stuff that there was no real need to get it out. There are some mildly interesting moments when he reports brief interviews with the Pythons or others, or describes the shooting of scenes that didn't make the final cut, but mostly this is just a ...more
Daniel Currie
Dec 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
The debate about whether this person is real or not is beside the point. I read the book, regardless of who wrote it, and enjoyed it quite alot.

It is a first person account of the day-to-day making of the film. There are tons of small (trivial?) details of what goes on during the filming and especially during the off time. The author talks about what alot of people have a secret fantasy to do and that is to get to know their artistic heroes on a daily, human basis.

It really takes you there and
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I passed by this book twice in the library. And kept coming back…it’s hard to ignore the Monty Python group…especially when you imagine hearing them trying to get your attention! I had to give in. The forward’s are hysterical. The rest of the book is exactly as described, a behind the scenes making of the movie. For me this was very interesting and seemed like it was a most congenial bunch of people. Candidly written, I enjoyed the experience right along with the author…and was quite excited ...more
So, this was a memoir written by a fictitious person who supposedly was with the Monty Python crew when they were filming "Life of Brian" in Tunisia. Kim Howard Johnson is not real! Which is ok. I started listening to this while I was cleaning my house, and it made for a good background distraction (I sometimes find that I'm better able to concentrate on listening when I'm doing something active otherwise). But after about 3 hours of that, I found I'd had enough. Neither Kim nor the filming ...more
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, memoirs, tv
A mostly fascinating diary of a Python fan's dream experience - observing and working behind the scenes of the "Life of Brian" movie filming. The stories and musings of the trip of a Monty Python follower's lifetime, ranging from the hilarious to the mundane, were highly interesting overall, though most of them would likely be appreciated properly only by other Monty Python fans. Being one myself, I enjoyed hearing about the MP off-screen environment, though a few spots prodded a bit. An ...more
Josh Street
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
A fairly average look at the making of Life of Brian. The book is by no means bad, but is very much a simple presentation of the author's diary from his time on the set of the movie. If this sort of thing appeals to you, you'll adore the book. If you're looking into this title for insight into the Python troupe, you'll find some interesting tidbits, but probably fewer than you might expect. All of this said, the forwards by the surviving members of the troupe are exquisite and worth perusing ...more
Sep 18, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This was essentially just a journal of Johnson's time on the set of Life of Brian - So there's a lot of "and today we ate x for breakfast, then took the minibus to y, and the weather was like this, and the cameras acted like that..." A lot of play-by-play, and not realy so much insight.

It was definitely interesting to hear how it all came together, but ultimately, I expected it to be more interesting.
Hella Comat
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a perfect book to listen to as an audiobook. The author spent 6 weeks involved in the filming of Life of Brian in Tunisia and spends his time observing the Monty Python comedians. He has a unique, authentic accent for each of the characters as he relates his interviews and watches the filming. The clever genius of each of the 'gang' of six comes out as they make the film, rewrite on set, and create impromptu funny live sketches just sitting around waiting for their parts.
Dec 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: media, audiobook
This was mostly a detailed description of life as a movie extra (on one movie) with some interesting anecdotes. Blatant hero worship of the Pythons. Felt like a fanzine. The reader is left with the thought that the Pythons are competent, thoughtful, and a fun group to hang around, so that's not so bad. I listened to this on audio. It was nicely read, but the writing was quite repetitive.
Greg Converse
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I will read anything I can find about Monty Python. Call me a nerd, a goon, a fish-slapper, but I think the stories are great, funny, suave, sophisticated and Rutle, er, subtle.

Yours sincerely,
Charles Monkey-Finger Smith, Mrs.
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
For die hard Python fans or people who want to learn about the movie industry in the 70's only. Not much comedy or entertainment to be had. More of a day to day diary of a guy with some access to the filming in Tunisia.
Jan C
May 29, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm about half-way through and really can't see wasting any more time listening to this book.

I liked the movie. I saw it at the Parkside and later we went to play pool at some upstairs dive down the street.
Sep 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wow, the group was just as comical and ad lib off-camera as they were on. "Howard" really puts you there in the action. I listened to the book and the narrator really helped by putting the appropriate accent to the person.
Jul 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Probably better to listen to the audio version of this book, as I did, to enjoy it. It's a bit fluffy, but does put the listener into the action of making this great MP film, and supplies a few tidbits of info (on missing scenes, etc) along the way.
David Macpherson
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Fo a behind the scenes look at a movie, this was a decent one. The author schlepps across the world to be in the filming of Life of Brian. The only thing I wished the book addressed was why it took him nearly 30 years to go through his material and write the bloody book.
Sep 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Very intresting read, gives a good account of what it was like to be on the set of the Monty Python film, life of Brian.
Very much doubt one could do what this man did in a effort to meet his idols, and become part of their group whilst filming, in this day and age.
Brave SirRobin
Sep 24, 2013 rated it liked it
right from their silly mouths
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A must read for all Monty Python fans.
« previous 1 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography
  • Scarecrow (Shane Schofield, #3)
  • Strange Things Happen: A Life with The Police, Polo, and Pygmies
  • Hear the Wind Sing (The Rat, #1)
  • Pinball, 1973 (The Rat, #2)
  • Dance Dance Dance
  • Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently, #1)
  • A Liar's Autobiography: Volume VI
  • The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden
  • The Shell Collector
  • Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs
  • Monty Python Speaks!
  • The Food Dehydrating Bible: Grow it. Dry it. Enjoy it!
  • Side Effects
  • Without Feathers
  • Roman by Polanski
  • Herzog on Herzog
  • Red Wolf
See similar books…