Eric Idle savagely lays into John Cleese and claims he is a bully

Richard Bevan
Richard Bevan
4 Min Read

Eric Idle, the iconic Monty Python star, caused a stir on X (Twitter), launching a scathing attack on his former co-stars, John Cleese and Terry Gilliam, and criticising the management of the Python royalties. The 80-year-old comedian revealed his surprise at the drying up of Monty Python’s income, insisting that contrary to popular belief, the comedy troupe is not as financially secure as people think.

“I don’t know why people always assume we’re loaded,” Idle lamented on Twitter. “Python is a disaster. Spamalot made money 20 years ago. I have to work for a living. Not easy at this age.”

Idle pointed fingers at the mismanagement of the Python brand, placing the blame squarely on Gilliam and his daughter, Holly, who manages Python through HDG Projects. Eric Idle did not mince words, stating, “One Gilliam is bad enough. Two can take out any company.” Holly Gilliam has yet to respond to these claims.

The revelation of the financial struggles prompted Idle to engage with fans on Twitter, where he candidly addressed questions about his relationship with Cleese. When asked if he is still close to Cleese, Idle replied, “I haven’t seen Cleese for seven years,” with a dismissive tone that surprised some fans. To a follower expressing sadness over their apparent rift, Idle retorted, “Why. It makes me happy.”

Eric Idle brands John Cleese a bully

The heated exchange didn’t stop there. A user suggested that Netflix could create a documentary on the rise and fall of Monty Python, to which Eric Idle vehemently replied, “F*** Netflix and f*** documentaries.” His daughter, Lily Idle, took to Twitter to express her support, stating, “I’m so proud of my dad for finally starting to share the truth.”

Eric Idle alongside the other Pythons, Cleese, Gilliam, Palin and Jones.

Idle, however, assured fans that he is doing well for himself, engaged and focused on creating new content. “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.”

The rift among the Pythons isn’t a recent development. Eric Idle revealed that he hadn’t spoken to Cleese in seven years and accused him of bullying Terry Jones. “I still love and am proud of what we did as Python. It was a very unique group,” Idle reflected. “But it was never very supportive of people’s feelings and emotions. Not brothers. Colleagues.”

This public airing of grievances comes decades after Monty Python’s monumental success. The comedy troupe, known for their groundbreaking TV sketch show and films like “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” “Life of Brian,” and “The Meaning of Life,” saw a resurgence in 2014 with their reunion shows, “Monty Python Live (mostly) – One Down Five to Go.”

Monty Python is still loved by fans Worldwide

While the financial disputes and personal conflicts between the Pythons are gaining attention, it’s essential to acknowledge the enduring popularity of their work. The Python series and films, despite facing bans in some cases, remain beloved by fans worldwide. The timeless humour and satirical brilliance continue to resonate, reminding us that even the most legendary comedy troupes are not immune to behind-the-scenes challenges.

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