Monty Python is a financial disaster, says Eric Idle

Eric Idle says the Monty Python comedy team aren't swimming in cash from their productions.

Eric Idle says the Monty Python comedy team aren't swimming in cash from their productions. Photo: Getty

Comedy legend Eric Idle has revealed a major rift in the Monty Python troupe, amid a “disaster” in its finances.

The British comedian and actor, known as Sir Robin the-not-quite-so-brave-as-Sir-Lancelot in Monty Python And The Holy Grail, said he sold his home last year.

The star said he was so cash-strapped he still had to work at 80

“I don’t know why people always assume we’re loaded. Python is a disaster,” Idle wrote in a series of posts on X.

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

Idle created the mediaeval 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 comedy 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 said.

He also seemed surprised by the downturn in the group’s 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.

Idle founded Monty Python alongside Graham Chapman, Fawlty Towers star John Cleese, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas director Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin in 1969.

They had huge success with their BBC sketch show Monty Python’s Flying Circus, as well as numerous live shows, films, books and radio.

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

Gilliam’s daughter Holly has been Monty Python’s manager since 2013.

In September 2022 Idle 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.

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.

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

“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,” he said.

Idle, who is also a prolific voice actor, said he “[didn’t] mind not being wealthy”.

“I prefer being funny. I don’t like being assumed to be wealthy. It’s different. I think Python was Executive free comedy,” he said.

-with AAP

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