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Eric Idle Replaces John Cleese With Steve Martin

By Andrew Sanford | Celebrity | November 13, 2023 |

By Andrew Sanford | Celebrity | November 13, 2023 |


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Discovering Monty Python was life-changing for me. The troupe possessed an unabashed silliness that my seven-year-old brain could hardly comprehend. My first experience with them was watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It was playing on a TV at a store, and my dad decided we should go home and watch it. Not only was it hilarious, it was making fun of medieval times, which I assumed was verboten! They also looked like they were having a blast together.

I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up. I was weird and loud (and probably a bit obnoxious). Being silly and playing pretend were some of my favorite things to do, and I didn’t find my tribe for that until I left for acting school (as cliche as that may sound). Now, fifteen years removed, that tribe isn’t my tribe anymore. We shared a pivotal part of our lives. We worked, played, made mistakes, and thought it would be that way forever. It isn’t.

It’s not just that I don’t see my old friends anymore. There are several of them that I had legitimate fallings out with. Our priorities changed, and it became easier not to have them in my life than I thought. The fact that I’m even writing about it makes it definitive for me. All this to say, I was not too surprised when famed Monty Python member Eric Idle revealed his decision to not work with his former troupe mate John Cleese.

A musical version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail called Spamalot has recently returned to Broadway. Eric Idle wrote the musical and has been involved with the new production. Part of his involvement included voicing God. After a time, he decided it would be better if someone else did that. In the original run, John Cleese played the role. The person he chose this time was Steve Martin. But, in an interview with Jimmy Fallon, he made it clear that it was Martin over Cleese.

“John’s gone a bit strange,” Idle remarks at one point. He’s being fair to his old friend. To say Cleese is “strange” is a bit of an understatement. Cleese has gone the way of JK Rowling in his bigotry, and Idle has not. There could be other factors involved. Idle jokes at one point that Cleese is getting older, but he’s only nine years Martin’s senior. No, in this case, it seems to be a friendship that did not stand the test of time. These things happen. Sometimes, they happen a bit more publicly.