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Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  6,398 ratings  ·  1,174 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Crown Archetype
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don’t read many celebrity memoirs, but it only takes a few to recognize patterns. Please see if my observations match your own experiences. I’ll use Eric Idle’s recent book to drive the points home.

Have a reason to write one

The first, and only truly difficult step, is to become famous. I’m not talking about the clichéd 15 minutes of fame here. That may be good for couch time on Good Morning America, but not a full length book. I think the bar for celebrity renown probably needs to be set high
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
Stephen Robert Collins
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Born in South Shields which for me explains a lot because that makes him A Shiely Dogger.A mad jolly sod from Shields. The biggiest disappoint is that there is nothing about One Foot in The Grave , a surprise as was in it & did the theme song . It is the missing bits that let you down, he has been married 41 years but they don't sleep together but in different parts of the house, that was in Sunday Times on 2/12/18 so it is not wonderful marriage he claims here.
Eric grew up hating Christmas as
Montzalee Wittmann
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography
by Eric Idle is an Audible book I picked up from the library. I always loved The Monty Python gang and all their crazy movies. Idle takes you back to his childhood, and goes from there. It is so interesting how his tough early life leads to a life filled with good and famous friends. Through this book we also get a closer look at a lot of his close friends and associated too! It is wonderful to get to know these people so closely. Robin Wil
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
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
And through it all Idle managed to find a way to laugh, and make others laugh, too.

I don't know if you've ever tried to sign a coconut, and why would you, but it's not easy.

Idle is naturally funny and the tone is conversational and he dishes. Name dropping left and right, down right gossipy in bits, but always in good spirit. Never malicious, and I guess that's what I enjoyed so much while reading it. It made me smile, and chuckle more than
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
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of Monty Python so I was eager to read this memoir. I really enjoyed it! Say no more, say no more, nudge, nudge!

Eric has had an incredible life and I highly recommend his memoir. He’s known so many famous people too including Robin Williams, Carrie Fisher, Mike Nichols and George Harrison. I hope everyone enjoys this book as much as I did!

Feb 26, 2020 rated it liked it
WYSIWYG –Those who are among the “illuminati” who enjoy Idle’s humor are not going to be disappointed. Those who are looking to understand him may not be satisfied and should read no further.

Is this book your pint of ale? Consider these excerpts:
Plenty of names dropped - “"Germaine (Greer) had come through the Footlights door with Clive James, and we became friends. He introduced me to his poetry and Brett Whiteley drawings, and I observed his unceasing pursuit of the female. His father, too, h
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, humor-satire
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.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
A few laughs and some unbidden whistling, a great way to kick off the New Year:
Always look on the bright side of life
If life seems jolly rotten,
There's something you've forgotten!
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing,

When you're feeling in the dumps,
Don't be silly chumps,
Just purse your lips and whistle -- that's the thing!
And always look on the bright side of life
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
very funny autobiography which I really enjoyed and made me laugh a lot
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, library, nonfiction
Now this was exceptional! I have always loved the Monty Python boys, and their work, but if hard pressed I would usually declare myself a Michael Palin girl. Palin's diaries of the Python years, by the way, are a great read as well.

But I may have to rethink my loyalty now as I come to understand how much of their truly great material was written by Idle. I had thought that more of it was a join effort, but a lot of my favorites, and a good chunk of the songs, were written by Idle, including bot
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I like Monty Python well enough, although I am certainly not a super fan. Because of that, I didn't know quite what to expect going in to this biography. I have always felt that Idle always seems really happy and fun (as opposed to eternally grumpy John Cleese), and this biography went a long way in confirming that. He has something funny to say about almost everything. His dad died while hitchhiking home from WWII at Christmas? There is a joke for that. He got the crap kicked out of him by his ...more
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. ...more
Steve Wiggins
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like many Americans in the eighties, I became aware of Monty Python in college. Having grown up in a rather humorless, economically depressed small town, we weren’t cultured enough for British humor. Eric Idle’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life is a fun, but at times poignant book. C. S. Lewis once wrote somewhere that biographies are most interesting at the beginning, and I think he was correct. Idle had a somewhat tragic childhood, growing up during World War Two, in which he lost his fa ...more
Nov 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an enjoyable read but not sure what I really learnt about the life of Eric Idle. The book is full of name dropping and witty anecdotes but lacks ant real depth to his life. There are chapters that were very good but in my opinion too much was made of his famous best friends, mentioned with every breath.

I enjoy the Monty Python team and was hoping for a more meaningful insight into Eric Idle's life so this was a little disappointing. The book left me wanting to read a book by Michael Pal
Phillip Saginario
Oct 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Never meet your Idle
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
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
It's sad when a book is used exclusively as a sleeping aid.

You could say that I am an Eric Idle fan: I've enjoyed his stint with Monty Python, including their hilarious films; as a teenager, I listened time and time again to The Rutles soundtrack and even sat behind Idle at a test run for a stage production of the same in Hollywood; and I've seen and enjoyed Spamalot on more than one occasion. But wow. This book really offered very little in the way of insight or descriptions of personal challe
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will start by saying that I am not the biggest fan of biographies - of any kind. Yes there are numerous ones out there and no doubt covering off some of heroes and other fascinating people but at some point or other I feel they descend in to name dropping narcissistic demonstration of why they are famous and you are not.

Now I will state here that yes there are sections of this book which do feel like that when it just becomes one long list of who who turned up out the blue and what exotic pla
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Eric Idle was always my favourite Python. His quick wit and way with words delighted me since I first watched any Monty Python.

His memoirs are a delight. Self deprecating in a typically English way, but refreshingly honest and upfront. He doesn't hide from his mistakes or blame others, which makes a change from a lot of other celebrity memoirs.

The book is also the history of a song. The wonderful "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" first performed in "Life of Brian". It has become the numbe
Mike Donahue
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
For a Python fan there are a lot of interesting tidbits. Eg. the number one requested song for funerals in the UK is Always look on the Bright Side of Life. The rest is shameless name dropping and I partied with all of these people. Absolutely devoid of any introspection. Read for entertainment only
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 Stars for Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (audiobook) by Eric Idle read by the author. I found it interesting to see how Monty Python got started. It’s also fun to see in biographies like this which unrelated stars get pulled into the story.
Philip Mills
Jan 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book has some interesting vignettes and a few good lines of the, 'Take my wife please!' variety. However, it mostly consists of a seemingly endless list of the various vacations and shows in which Mr. Idle participated over his long career. There was no unifying theme, no overall narrative, save an oft stated desire to earn money. While I am a fan of his work, I am not a fan of this work. ...more
Lance Carney
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I always knew Eric Idle was the glue that held Monty Python together post-Flying Circus and movies, but I had no idea he mingled with so many famous people. There’s David Frost, George Harrison, Lorne Michaels, Paul Simon, Ronnie Wood, Harry Nilsson, Mike Nichols, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Harrison Ford, Elvis, Robin Williams, Her Majesty and Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam—lovely Spam!
Jul 17, 2020 rated it liked it
A bio-by-numbers. The fun of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life comes from Eric Idle's cheery, showbizzy name-dropping. As he says at one point, you pick up this kind of celebrity memoir to read about people you have heard of, not their non-famous family and friends. Fair enough. And there are more than enough names dropped here to keep anyone with an interest in the pop culture of the '60s through to the early '90s very happy indeed. Hardcore fans of Python probably won't find much new here ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Eric Idle notes in “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” that he’s not very patient. Well, his “sortabiography,” as the cover says, isn’t a patient one. It’s quick-hitting, not especially revealing but occasionally quite funny, as you’d expect from a Monty Python legend.

Idle gets rolling on Page 3, second chapter, below an impish photo of himself as a young boy with “Oo’s ‘itler?” as the caption: “By an odd coincidence, I was born on my birthday. In the same place as my mother, Harton Hospita
Dec 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
I love Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It was a pivotal part of my adolescence. It was silly, a little naughty, and totally hilarious. (I delighted in showing it to friends at sleepovers knowing they would never 'get it' on first viewing.) I was vaguely aware of other Monty Python endeavors (that they existed; nothing by name) and I definitely could not have told you the names of any of the members. So, I came at this biography of Eric Idle's pretty naive in the ways of the Pythons, and at leas ...more
Noah Goats
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I don’t usually read celebrity memoirs, but I have been a lifelong fan of Monty Python so I made an exception for this one. Like every other teenage boy I hung out with in high school, I watched the Holy Grail a million times, and discovering that Monty Python also had a television show that I could watch in reruns every week on PBS was one of the great moments of my young life. I even performed the How to Defend Yourself Against Fresh Fruit sketch in acting competitions (yes, I was a nerd).

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Play Book Tag: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle- 4 stars 11 28 Dec 11, 2018 05:59AM  

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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.

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