Entertainment

Monty Python is a financial ‘disaster’ – Eric Idle says working at 80 isn’t easy

He says he sold his house but is working on a TV show.

Eric Idle, star of Monty Python
Eric Idle Eric Idle, star of Monty Python (Ian West/PA)

Monty Python star Eric Idle has said that he has continued to work at the age of 80 for financial reasons.

The comedian and actor, known as Sir Robin the-not-quite-so-brave-as-Sir-Lancelot in Monty Python And The Holy Grail and for many other characters in the group’s films and series, said he sold his home last year.

In an series of posts on X, formerly Twitter, Idle also said: “I don’t know why people always assume we’re loaded. Python is a disaster.

“Spamalot made money 20 years ago. I have to work for my living. Not easy at this age.”

Idle created the medieval musical Spamalot, which earned a best musical Tony after being on Broadway. He also appeared in Shrek The Third and in 2014 in Monty Python Live (Mostly) alongside some of the troupe.

Based for much of the last decades in Los Angeles, Idle also thanked his followers for the “kind words and encouragement”.

“It means a great deal to me,” Idle added.

He also seemed surprised by the downturn in their fortunes following the success of Monty Python.

“We own everything we ever made in Python and I never dreamed that at this age the income streams would tail off so disastrously,” Idle wrote.

When asked if a Netflix documentary could help, he said “f*** documentaries” and the streaming giant.

Eric Idle, John Cleese and Michael Palin
Eric Idle, John Cleese and Michael Palin Eric Idle, John Cleese and Michael Palin (Ian West/PA)

Idle also said: “I’m fine. I’m engaged and writing. It’s the thing I do and like the most. Creating a new show. Something that feels so completely normal. Been doing it since 1963. I have learned a lot. But then I had some great mentors.”

In September 2022 he said he said he survived pancreatic cancer after receiving a rare early diagnosis, and appeared on celebrity singing show The Masked Singer in the US.

Alongside Graham Chapman, Fawlty Towers star John Cleese, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas director Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and travel writer Sir Michael Palin, Idle founded the comedy troupe in 1969.

Chapman died in 1989 of tonsil cancer aged 48 and Jones died in 2020 aged 77 from a rare form of dementia.

In 2013, a producer of the 1975 film Monty Python And The Holy Grail won a High Court royalty fight with the comedy team to get some of the Spamalot profits.