The phrase “And Now For Something Completely Different” is now a cliche when talking about anyone or anything related to Python.
It’s like talking about James Bond and mentioning gadgets, cars, and Bond girls, or cool entrances in superhero movies.
We get it, you know the thing.
But Idle opening up like this kind of epitomizes that oft quoted Cleese line.
Since this is an autobiography, I don’t think it really needs one, but just incase, this is your obligatory ***SPOILER ALERT***
I’ve been an Idle and/or Python fan for as long as I can remember, and yet this book somehow seems to deepen my appreciation for both.
He took a path into entertainment that’s been demolished by modern day standards and requirements and it’s fascinating to read about.
It was a path of opportunity seizing and having something to say, and that something isn’t anything harder to comprehend than “let me entertain you”.
And you may notice I won’t be calling him a comedian, but an entertainer.
This dude has tried his hand at pretty much every single form of entertainment in his 76 years, he’s probably even done some weird ass greased up, nude, interpretive dance, though he doesn’t mention it.
But it’s not all giggles and fun.
While it seems like he’s lived a life of nothing but bright side, the most resonant chapters are those where he talks frankly and openly about death and the friends he’s lost along the way, from musicians to comedians to actors.
The one that struck me hardest and was most unexpected to find the depth of would be Robin Williams.
After many mentions earlier, he spends an entire chapter recounting his meeting and bonding with this utter goddamn genius.
Idle was riding high, coming off of the 2014 reunion and farewell Python performances at the O2 when he got the call.
It shows Robin in a light that a fan could never have seen and it’s heartbreaking all over again.
The end chapter where he looks at his own eventual death is similarly hilarious and heartbreaking as well.
The only disappointment for me would be that he didn’t cover my 2 favorite movies of his thoroughly enough.
The first, Nuns On The Run, which only gets a paragraph of coverage, where as I could read an entire book about that particular flick.
The other, the chaotic but brilliant The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen, gets a bit more detailed and actually leads him to a revelation about his old friend Terry Gilliam and the tumultuous nature of his sets.
Both are serviceably covered, but I love them so much that I greedily want more.
And isn’t that the goal of every entertainer, leave them wanting more?
Boil it all down and this is the tale of a kid going from orphanage to Icon, and every step he took from one to the other.
He recounts how, where, and when he met the five other dudes with whom he would come to be collectively know as Monty Python, obviously.
But it runs a bit deeper than that.
There’s a soul to his story that, upon reflection, most autobiographical tales lack.
By definition, an autobiography is an exercise in introspection, but he comes at it from a seemingly wiser angle.
The title of this book isn’t just a line from a strange and anachronistic song in a movie, it’s truly his philosophy.
In the darkest of times, he faced it with a joke and a smile.
Let us what you think of this review in the comments below or share this post on Twitter with the Hashtag #TNBBookReview.
Special thanks to @ACFerrell1976 for her editorial assistance.
Also, as this is probably the last book review I’ll get to this year, I want to thank everybody for reading and sharing all of them and every other post we’ve put out in the last 12 months.
We greatly appreciate the support more than you know, gang.
So until next time, thank you so much.