Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Eric Idle) - Crown Archetype - 2018 - 289 pages

This is the second great autobiography from members of Monty Python's Flying Circus after John Cleese's So Anyway ... in 2014.  The Monty Python phenomenon was the culmination of British humor that bubbled out of their comedy scene in the 1960s.  They had three glorious years on BBC and then one so-so year, but peaked again with the classic 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  The Pythons, British humor and humor in general has slowly gone downhill since then.  The peak period for performance comedy (and jukebox music) was 1965 to 1975.  We will not see those days again.  As Cleese, Eric Idle does an excellent job of explaining how Monty Python came to be and what happened after that.  The formation of the group of six giant comedy egos can best be summarized by Idle's quote about 1969: "We didn't know what we were doing, and insisted on doing it."  After losing his father in 1945, and spending 12 years in an orphanage, Eric Idle found comedy and that saved his life as he tells it.  It seems that he has been a nonstop comedy/acting/singing/writing machine for over 50 years.  Cleese said that his career was done in 2014 but then he and Idle toured three countries to sold-out crowds (136,000) through 2016.  They always say that this is the last reunion.  But even though Graham Chapman (1941-1989) is dead; Terry Jones has a touch of dementia; Michael Palin is off making travelogues; and Terry Gilliam was always just a yank who wanted to make epic movies; they will somehow pull themselves together for some sort of entertainment event.  After all, Paul and Ringo are still working on Beatles projects.  This proves for all time that Eric Idle always was the philosopher of the group.  The following quote from the book says it all.  [JAM 10/7/2018]

"So, what were we Pythons, we who were once so young and who are now so not?  Were we friends, comrades, coworkers, teammates, gang members, rivals, siblings, brothers, brothers-in-law, or brothers-in-arms?  I noticed we had become legends quite a while ago.  We used to be icons, and before that stars, and before that celebrities, and before that merely TV comedians, but the Reaper keeps on Reaping and you go up a notch each time until you finally end up as myths, which is when you know you're dead."