Ba$tard, Python, Idle

“You have 15 minutes with Eric Idle beginning… now! First question!”

I interrupt him here, much as I would love to have Eric Idle, legendary Monty Python member and co-founder, interview me.

“I think, actually,” I say, “that I’m supposed to ask the questions.”

“Oh, is that how it works? Alright then…”

How do you begin an interview with a comic legend? A man who has been on screen and on stage for over 40 years, written classic songs like “Always Look on the Bright Side” and “The Penis Song,” parodied the Beatles in The Rutles mockumentary. How do you speak to a comic god?

Ask him about his upcoming show, ask about The Greedy Ba$tard Tour. Stupid.

“Any fool would be an idiot to miss it,” he replies deftly. “You’ll be rocked sensuously by things to intrigue and mesmerize the senses, laugh like you’ve never laughed before. Women will be falling at your feet for having chosen such a fine show.”

Though the idea of women flocking does hold a certain appeal, I’ll be the first to admit, it’s Eric Idle the audience will clamour for. Think of the dead parrots, lumberjacks belting out song, the insanity of Monty Python!

“Greedy Ba$tard is all me,” says Idle simply, knocking my rabid fandom promptly unconscious. “There will be some Python of course, it would be like going to a Rolling Stones concert and not hearing them play ‘Satisfaction.’ Greedy Ba$tard is a melange of all things, fresh and different material.”

My fandom offers a faint, hopeful twitch.

Fans. They’re holdovers from the Python heydays. Fanatics who would–and will–do anything for a glimpse at the man who nudged, winked and said no more. Has 40 years of adoration worn thin?

“[Fans] aren’t dangerous, religious or trying to hurt you, they’re a good gang to be a part of,” says Idle. “It’s about getting up on stage, getting them all excited and singing ‘Spam.'”

And with a repertoire of songs that are already classics among fans and the mainstream alike–who, after all, can resist singing “Isn’t it awfully nice to have a penis?” The Greedy Ba$tard Tour promises a semi-wholesome, inclusive night.

“We have sing-a-longs, encourage the audience to make noise, and we even put up words for those who are a little slow,” Idle says reassuringly. “And most of the songs we’re performing on the tour have never been performed live. It’s a laughter generator.”

It was more than 20 years ago that the last Monty Python film, The Meaning of Life, was produced, and nearly 30 since the original television series stopped filming in 1974. Though Idle has gone on to establish himself as a solo actor and is currently developing a musical stage adaptation of Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail entitled Spamelot, he will likely always be known best for his role as a Python.

“After you split up, you have less control,” he says. “You’re working with other people and they come into the room with an idea they think is ‘Pythonic,’ which is actually a lot of shit, and would have been laughed right out of the room. With the Pythons, we would solve a problem: ‘here it is, what the fuck do we do?’ From writing to posters to promotion, it’s empowering to be part of a gang.

“But it’s nice to control your own destiny, your own life. That’s why groups break up in the first place.”

For now, at least, it’s time for every rabid fan to flock to the Jubilee Auditorium and take in the “last Python petting zoo.” Time to dress silly, stand on your feet and sing-along with a comic legend.

“Come out and contribute to the retirement fund.”

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