Author Topic: Eric Idle  (Read 9695 times)

Eric Idle
« on: July 25, 2018, 11:24:27 AM »
I have grown to think Eric Idle isn’t very funny anymore.
But I really enjoyed reading this speech from 2013.
Some really funny insights.
https://speakola.com/grad/eric-idle-whitman-college-2013

Is the reason he seems less funny now just that he’s been so much more keen on recycling than creating of late?

(Speakola, top site by the way.)

Alberon

  • His heart is an empty fridge
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2018, 12:09:46 PM »
He turned up again on The Infinite Monkey Cage 100th episode TV special (it’s on the iPlayer).

The guy’s old now and if John Cleese isn’t funny anymore what chance does Idle have?

BeardFaceMan

  • Safely ensconced on top of the bathroom cabinet
    • mixes'n'mashes
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2018, 12:13:23 PM »
It was Eric Idle that stopped me getting into Monty Python properly, I just cant stand the sound of his voice, especially when he does that godawful cheeky chappy with a speech impediment voice like in Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life. Christ, even thinking about him saying "dont be silly chumps" is enough to make my shit itch. Such a silly thing, nothing to do with him personally, or his comedy really, but his voice is like a cheesgrater on my soul and I cant get past it. When hes being interviewed as himself its not too bad, but his performing voices and singing voices make me want to pull my eyeballs out and stuff them in my ears.

Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2018, 12:19:15 PM »
funny, on another forum I use we did a poll just yesterday about favourite Python (edit: all things considered). Palin is winning by a country mile but Idle seems to be a clear second. I liked him and think his broadness tempers the revue-style in-jokerey potential in the others. will have a listen to this now.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2018, 12:29:25 PM by sevendaughters »

Thomas

  • well they do all sixteen dances.
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2018, 12:26:22 PM »
I've just finished watching the first series of Flying Circus, my first experience of Monty Python proper beyond random sketches and out-of-context bits. After Palin (of course, a natural #1), I think Idle might be my favourite in the series. Perhaps he'll fall out of favour over the next three. I'll report back.

Shaky

  • I drink your thread
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2018, 12:34:57 PM »
I have grown to think Eric Idle isn’t very funny anymore.
But I really enjoyed reading this speech from 2013.
Some really funny insights.
https://speakola.com/grad/eric-idle-whitman-college-2013

Is the reason he seems less funny now just that he’s been so much more keen on recycling than creating of late?

(Speakola, top site by the way.)

The recycling is certainly a big part of it along with decades of endlessly lame Hollywood roles where he hasn't really had to try very hard. He's the most showbizzy of all the Pythons too and I think that's been to his detriment somewhat as the team used to take the piss out of that sort of thing. The speech posted above is funny, though, so I suspect he'd still be very witty company.

Attila

  • gif made by hedgehog90
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2018, 02:29:03 PM »
When I was a teenager, I could never decide if Eric Idle or Michael Palin were my top Monty Python crush (MP usually edged him out, tho).

Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2018, 01:44:19 AM »
Did anyone see the joint Cleese/Idle shows recently?
I was interested but had been burnt once before with a lazy Cleese solo show where he kept leaving the stage as the fire drill scene or the dog deaths scene played on a screen. Poor.

Twed

  • I need you so, Medieval Zone, you don't need me
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2018, 02:20:14 AM »
Thank god he's dropped that awful mid-Atlantic accent. I'm not 100% sure he had one but he probably would.

Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2018, 01:33:23 PM »
Eric Idle is my favorite, though I like John Cleese.

"All You Need is Cash"

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2018, 03:17:16 PM »
He's definitely the Paul McCartney of the Pythons- according to that Lawyer's Cut doc he was the one who handled most of the financial stuff, plus he was always pushing for reunions/further projects (Spamalot).  Could even say he had the same proclivity for 'grandma songs' as Paul.  Gilliam's my favourite, then Cleese.

Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2018, 03:23:33 PM »
He's definitely the Paul McCartney of the Pythons- according to that Lawyer's Cut doc he was the one who handled most of the financial stuff, plus he was always pushing for reunions/further projects (Spamalot).  Could even say he had the same proclivity for 'grandma songs' as Paul.  Gilliam's my favourite, then Cleese.

Also; he was pushing a lot of the stuff earlier that would be popular with the cool kids. Such as the books and records.
I do love his bit on "One Foot in the Grave" (not just the theme tune) where his singing of the altered version of Bread of Heaven is played as Mr and Mrs Meldrew sit stuck in the car with Mrs Warboys.

Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2018, 04:36:28 PM »
Also; he was pushing a lot of the stuff earlier that would be popular with the cool kids. Such as the books and records.
I do love his bit on "One Foot in the Grave" (not just the theme tune) where his singing of the altered version of Bread of Heaven is played as Mr and Mrs Meldrew sit stuck in the car with Mrs Warboys.

That’s a lovely bit in a fantastic episode. The tape is the kind of business that I think can be difficult to come up with a punchline that does it justice, but Mrs Warboys line is beautiful for so many reasons.

Also, Idle does physically appear in an episode, playing some kind of inspector, IIRC. It was a lovely guest spot and at the time, thought wouldn’t it be fantastic to see him do more of this.

New Jack

  • Biggy laughed at my family deaths; won't say sorry
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2018, 04:38:47 PM »
More like Eric Idle..! Oh wait.

Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2018, 04:40:52 PM »
To my own surprise, I very much enjoyed his his surprise appearance on the Harmtown podcast. Although really it's the way Jeff Davis suddenly starts talking in rhyme as if he's in a musical that I really love.

Rolf Lundgren

  • Remember you're a Womble
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2018, 06:03:35 PM »
The interviews he did a couple of years ago with Cleese when they went on tour were all good fun.

Here's a lovely long talk between the two of them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnpY46lOTX4


Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2018, 07:45:55 PM »
Also; he was pushing a lot of the stuff earlier that would be popular with the cool kids. Such as the books and records.

In "The Pythons by The Pythons" they say that Eric did most of the work producing the books, Terry J and Michael did most of the work producing the records, although Eric produced "Contractual Obligation Album".

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
    • Me Twitter
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2018, 08:21:17 PM »
The clips posted above illustrate that Eric Idle is still a funny man, it's just that he's long since lost his ability to channel his natural wit into great scripted comedy. And that's fine; in his virile youth he wrote and performed inspired, hilarious sketches in one of the greatest comedy troupes of all time. He's an old man who's done his bit.

Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2018, 09:43:59 PM »
He appears in the Robin Williams documentary "Come Inside My Mind", which brought home how much of a cultural presence he made of himself in America as a "solo artist". He was a repeat guest on the early SNL and hung around with all the hip people. He stuck it out in Hollywood for a good long while, made friends with some greats. I think I'm right in saying he was also the Python closest to George Harrison and the music world, so it makes sense that he would be the one to score a hit single and later, conquer Broadway. Rather than, say, Cleese trying to spin gold from "Eric The Half-A-Bee" or "Oliver Cromwell". Idle was sort of a natural "frontman", as the most youthful-looking, and with the guitar and the long curly hair and all. If you just met the Pythons in a pub, Idle would be the one you'd expect to be a jokester, for better or worse.

I honestly don't know if Palin or Cleese is my favourite Python, but I'm pretty sure Idle is third (if it's FC only, he beats Chapman comfortably). I love the ranting tourist in the Hollywood Bowl movie, and lots of his fast-talking "cheeky" characters, like nudge nudge man, alternately rude and polite man, novelty salesman, various announcers. And yes, he's also funny outside of Python, and a good interview. Long may he grin, and perma be his tan.

Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2018, 09:59:23 PM »
Wasn’t he ultimately the only Python Carol Cleveland struggled to get on with?

Maurice Yeatman

  • His Reverence won't like it
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2018, 11:51:11 PM »
I love the ranting tourist in the Hollywood Bowl movie...

Yes! Brilliant in Live at Drury Lane too. King's Bollege Bambridge seemed the funniest thing in the world when I was 14. Radio 5, RWT, Rutles, all ace, and being the engine that drove the Python books as others have already said. Maybe not the time to mention the unhappy Innes falling out, or him getting away with that six months suspended sentence for mass murder, the twister.

Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2018, 07:59:13 AM »
I love some of his stuff, such as the word-heavy Python sketches and RWT in general, but I get the feeling that I'd never like him the person.
Not sure why, there's just something about him.

As for favourite Python; it'd be Michael Palin and then Gilliam.
But Chapman would have been the best fun on a night out.

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2018, 02:13:59 PM »
I went massively off Idle when all the feuding with Neil Innes came to light.  Idle, with all his millions, suing Innes because the latter was using the Rutles name to release new tracks in the wake of the Beatles Anthology.  The thought of that just turns my stomach.

http://web.archive.org/web/20010531153921/http://home.earthlink.net/~wyuen/rutlesstory.htm

mobias

  • Member
  • **
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2018, 02:43:26 PM »
I really like Eric Idle. Like Gilliam it's obvious his input into the Pythons was singular and as others have said its pretty clear he's been a real creative driving force behind a lot of Python related stuff in the years since.

I'll just post this here incase some of you missed it but when David Bowie died Eric Idle shared some stories and correspondence between the two of them, as they were good friends. I love Eric Idle's thank you letter to David Bowie after David allowed Eric and his family to stay in David's villa in Mustique. https://www.ericidle.com/blog/the-needy-bastard-diary-6/

Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2018, 02:50:42 PM »
I have grown to think Eric Idle isn’t very funny anymore.

Nobody should have to be funny for 50 years in a row. That's a ridiculous burden to put on anyone. If he was funny for a few years in the sixties then that's still way better than 99.9999% of the people in the world.

Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2018, 07:42:54 PM »
Here's a lovely long talk between the two of them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnpY46lOTX4

That is lovely. Also informative, interesting and gently funny and amusing. I'm warming to Idle watching this whereas previously I took hearsay about his antipathy towards Neil Innes and business acumen as signs he's a bit of a so and so. Not sure about that now.

All You Need is Cash
is probably his best solo work and is probably up there with Spinal Tap as one of the all time great mockumentaries and most likely an influence on Tap.

Although the Cash follow up Can't Buy Me Lunch is an absolute atrocity that is so bad it's hard to believe it was done by Idle as well.

Dr Rock

  • The BEST of luck!
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2018, 08:16:04 PM »
I went massively off Idle when all the feuding with Neil Innes came to light.  Idle, with all his millions, suing Innes because the latter was using the Rutles name to release new tracks in the wake of the Beatles Anthology.  The thought of that just turns my stomach.

http://web.archive.org/web/20010531153921/http://home.earthlink.net/~wyuen/rutlesstory.htm

I think that's a mix of truth and one-sided speculation.


Quote
One of the other reasons that Idle had rejected Innes’ invitation to be involved in any capacity he chose in the new Rutles album was that he was convinced that it would be a massive failure. And he wasn’t shy in telling this to his pals. After all - what was a Rutles project without Eric Idle? Who would want to issue a Rutles album without Eric Idle’s face on the cover? What celebrities would want to appear as special guests in a Rutles music video in which Eric was absent?

The answers had became apparent. And to his shock and horror - they were the exact opposite of Idle’s assumptions.

Who are these 'pals' he said such bitter and vain things to? Was he really 'shocked and horrified' when the Rutles album was successful? Possibly, but how does the writer here know this?

Suing Innes doesn't seem to be anything about money (although financial remunerations were demanded), it's that rightly or wrongly he thinks the Rutles is his creation and Innes has a cheek going ahead with a new release and only telling him at the last minute rather than asking him if it's ok.

Quote
Hence the bizarre credit placed on the "Archaeology" album - "The Rutles were conceived and created by Eric Idle."

This was ridiculous not least because, as Innes pointed out - the original conception and creation was by The Beatles. Innes had then devised a witty parody of that creation. And Idle had then come up with a whimsical name for THAT creation. Idle’s credit should have read: "The Rutles’ name was conceived and created by Eric Idle - based on a cross between the name of The Beatles and the name of the British county of Rutland."

And yet earlier the article says

Innes’ recollection of the sequence of the creative genesis of the skit is crystal-clear. However he has never attempted to claim SOLE credit for the origin of the Rutles. And he has always been swift to credit Idle as the co-creator - saying that while he had had the initial concept of a spoof Beatle-esque band from a parallel universe - it took Idol's enthusiasm and additional ideas to develop what would have otherwise been a one-off skit into a gag which had longevity.

Quote from: Neil Innes
"If Eric hadn’t come up with the ‘Rutles’ names and the idea of spoofing pompous TV documentaries - then I’d have almost certainly dropped the idea after we did it the first time. So Eric must be credited with developing the original idea."

So it's not so bizarre that Idle sought that credit is it? Creative people can get very funny if they think they're not getting their due, look at Stew and Rich's decades long fight to get recognition for inventing Alan Partridge.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
    • Me Twitter
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2018, 08:27:19 PM »
All You Need is Cash [/b]is probably his best solo work and is probably up there with Spinal Tap as one of the all time great mockumentaries and most likely an influence on Tap.

All You Need is Cash is perfect, it's one of the funniest spoofs ever made. The gag-rate and attention to detail are tremendous, Idle and Innes are firing on all cylinders.

For me, it's the best post-Python project apart from Fawlty Towers. Idle's script is sublime, really. "Che Stadium, named after the Cuban guerrilla leader, Che Stadium" is one of my favourite jokes, the first time I heard it I couldn't stop laughing. It's deceptively simple and obvious, yet utterly surprising.

Also, I know this isn't an original point of view, but Innes' songs are actually as great as the Fab tunes they're ostensibly parodying. Some of the musical gags he includes - e.g. the blunt piano chord at the end of Cheese and Onions referencing the endless chord at the end of A Day In The Life - are hilarious, but by and large he never tries to write self-consciously funny Beatle parodies. He captures their essence with wit, charm and just the right combination of irreverence and reverence. 

I love This Is Spinal Tap, but The Rutles: All You Need is Cash should be just as feted.


Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2018, 08:30:22 PM »
I think that's a mix of truth and one-sided speculation.


Yes I think so to, I remember that article being heavily disputed at the time. Idle and Innes seem to've had a big falling out more recently though, about the royalties to Spamalot (e.g. Innes didn't get any for the use of his songs).

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
    • Me Twitter
Re: Eric Idle
« Reply #29 on: July 27, 2018, 08:34:08 PM »
I've never seen Spamalot and didn't realise that it contained some Innes tunes. What songs of his are in the show?