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Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

A Sortabiography
By: Eric Idle
Narrated by: Eric Idle
Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (150 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 a remarkable journey from his childhood in an austere boarding school through his successful career in comedy, television, theatre 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 and which 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 humour that has delighted his 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 Orion Publishing Group

What listeners say about Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

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Not just an Idle fan

I found the story funny, reflective, sad, unbelievable & most of all enjoyable. This is a person who has lived & is living a great life. Hearing Eric’s voice, telling his story a slam dunk, back of the net, top shelf yarn. To borrow a couple of quotes “Say no more, now f-off & get it.”

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Loved this book

Monty Python was an essential par of my University Education although I confess I was perhaps more amused by their anarchic humour than their creative genius. Now the latter is more obvious. I had underestimated the contribution of Eric Idle to their overall success and this book establishes how important EI was in their success. In addition, he describes his elitist life with enough humility for you to really like him. He still sees his failings and yet became a friend to many great celebrities some of us who have left us. I imagine he is much loved back. I was so pleased to know that they were also loveable people in private through his eyes. A man with significant wealth, privilege and high level contacts but I’d be happy to invite him found to dinner just because he still sees how funny we all are. To my surprise this turned out to be a nostalgic autobiography that anyone with a send of humour, love of 60-70’s popular music and the cult of personality will simply adore. please write more Eric!

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Not Quite Idle

This is the second autobiography I have read from one of the Python legends. And like the John Cleese memoir this one also falls a bit flat. It is written almost like a series of sketches but with a great deal more laughs. There is a lot of name dropping going on but if if he leaves all of the experiences with other celebrities out I guess it defeats the purpose of an autobiography. So consider that a moot point. What I did find pleasing was that Eric made a point of letting the reader know that the Python guys and gals were and still are good mates. His chapter on Robin Williams was very moving written with great compassion and humour. If you were/are a Python fan you should enjoy this.

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Good in parts

I was looking forward to listening to this book as I have always been a fan of Eric Idle. Unfortunately, the more I listened to the book, the more annoying was the incessant name dropping interspersed with sketchy details of other events in his life. Disappointing and I was unwilling to finish it.

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The name dropping became tedious and tiresome

Although some good stories are peppered throughout, this book is basically chapter after chapter of name dropping. It got very boring very quickly.

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Alt title: Diary of a Self-confessed Name Dropper!

Idle confesses up front that he’s going to drop a LOT of famous names throughout his book. Why not I say?!?!?! What a remarkable life Idle has led and when one of your best friends was George Harrison, I think you’re entitled, nay - compelled - to list as many of your “connections” as possible. What’s remarkable about all this is that Idle still seems to view all these celebrities with a certain sense of awe - humbly seeming not to realise he is a bigger celebrity than most of them! This is a very warm, frank and above all human, self-reflection on a life that has had all the ups and downs we’ve come to expect of the “rich and famous” yet Idle never yields to self-pity or (worse still) self-loathing and his infectious sense of humour is ever present throughout. A brilliant book, brilliantly told by the funny man himself. Do NOT miss this one!

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Brilliant!!!

Loved it from start to finish, great insight to his life so far, funny informative. a light and entertaining book for all.

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What are you waiting for?

If you’re aware of Monty Python, know the name Eric Idle, have a love of comedy and have an Audible credit burning a hole in your smart phone then click purchase. You won’t regret it and if you don’t find this enlightening, enchanting, educational, emotional and other e words, then tough shit, it’s a few more quid into the back pocket of a bloke who, with his friends, changed the face of comedy and entertained me throughout my life. You’ve come this far, you should see it through! Thank you Eric, I’ll get many laughs with each time I listen.

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Incredible

The best audiobook ever. Well it should be. It’s written by a bloody Python. 😂😂😂. Eric Idle to be precise. 😜

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Looking on the bright side

It’s no effort to always look on the bright side of Eric Idles lovely narrative. It’s a joyous trip through the Monty Python years and many a laugh can be enjoyed along the way.

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  • Wendy McLachlan
  • 29-10-2019

Worst book I have listened to!

I am a huge Monty Python fan, but this book was all about name dropping. I battled listening to the end.

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  • TullochReviews
  • 02-08-2019

Fantastic read by a brilliant comedian

A fantastic review by a brilliant comedian, goes into the laughs, the sad times and the legacy he has built and left behind. Kind, caring and funny

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  • Simon
  • 02-10-2018

Pop Idle!

There has been so much written and documented about the Pythons that I wasn’t totally sure I would enjoy this. In the end it was a real joy, some old stories with a new slant and plenty that I had never heard. This is a positive and uplifting story that seems to flash past all too fast. I think it’s so typical of the man that I’ve read the story of his life and I am left wanting more. If I was to make any complaint about this it’s just that, it’s too short for me. Major events seemed to come and go all too quickly because he may be Idle by name but he certainly isn’t idle by nature! He has packed so much variety into his life in comedy. If name-dropping was an Olympic sport Idle would have a string of gold medals, it’s amazing to hear about the people he is able to call friends from Rolling Stones to flying Beatles! If I have a favourite of all the stories it is one about Leslie Nielsen and how he manages to avoid talking to people in lifts. And as I am no great Python expert I was very surprised to hear the stories about one of their greatest ever fans and his Pepperpot bedroom antics! As I’ve always thought when listening to autobiographies in an audio format it’s best coming from the horse’s mouth and so it proves here too. Idle’s voice gives a very positive tone to what is a very positive story. When it comes to comedy in the UK we have some of the most amazing real-life characters and in these days when there can be a tendency to talk our country down it’s fantastic to be reminded of one of our genuine national treasures. As I said, my only criticism is that I finished wanting more but maybe it’s a mark of the man that he didn’t get too carried away when writing his own life story! This is definitely about looking mostly on the bright side of a life.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Lesley Goodman
  • 22-10-2018

A great read

Copious name dropping, a lot of blowing his own trumpet, but an interesting book. Would definitely recommend. Seems like a bloody nice chap who's had a bloody nice life. Good on him!!!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 21-10-2018

Warm and witty.

Always one of the more accessible members of the Pythons, Eric weaves a funny, insightful and touching account of a life full of creativity, extraordinary people, fame and iconoclastic wit.

2 people found this helpful

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  • mrs alison bethell collins
  • 20-10-2018

Fabulously entertaining!

What a lucky jammy life he’s had! And appreciated it too! Well worth a listen!

2 people found this helpful

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  • James M.
  • 18-10-2018

And now for something completely hilarious

A heart warming story of how a small, hunchbacked fish wife from the north side of Bristol and how she became one 1/6 of the greatest comedy team ever and all the celebrities that he’s hung out with over the years and the drink and drugs that went with that.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Richard
  • 04-10-2018

Brilliant, funny and moving

As Eric himself suspects, the length of the many Python documentaries may add up to be longer than the original series! So while of course there is alot about Python here, there's also lots of stuff that will is new. If you've read the Greedy Bastard Diary (also a brilliant book), you'll spot a few bits from there that he's reused but also expanded on. I laughed out loud in many places but was also moved in other places, especially the George Harrison chapter. The emotional power of course being all the more effective because Eric is reading his own words. A "must listen" for any Python fan.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr R B
  • 26-10-2019

This starts off great

Eric reads his book well and after the beginning I thought I was in for a treat. Somewhere near the middle it gets a bit lost in a luvvie's love in of Olympic proportions. I don't mind the namedropping as that's par for the course with a celebrity book, but even so it is a bit of a who's who of right on people. Some of the anecdotes, like his stories about George Harrison, are great and well worth the listen. His political views are bang on for mega-wealthy Hollywood types but irrelevant for the rest of us and to my mind didn't need to be in the book. Summary - the parts about Eric's early life and the beginnings of Python are great and well worth the listen (can we say the years before the money?). The rest was a bit of a slog. I was pleased when it finished.

1 person found this helpful

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  • S A.
  • 12-10-2019

I laughed, I cried and then listened to this book

see I was listening. absolutely brilliant. incredible snapshot of a legendary era that will never happen again. the cast of characters are a who's who of legend status. Eric tells it in such a brilliant and funny way. These guys are the last few remaining true comics of a lost generation

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-10-2019

Excellent and what more do you expect?

Just great, wonderfully read and written by the man himself. I was brought up with Python and all the wonders of Eric's work. To listen to his incredibly funny account of his life was well worth my time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • karin
  • 16-10-2018

Better than eating cake

Excellent book honest and uplifting. Tears off joy and sadness with a sprinkle of silly lunacy. Warning Can give you heartburn.

2 people found this helpful