Eric Idle denies collaborating with John Cleese on Life Of Brian stage show: ‘I have nothing to do with this’

Eric Idle has denied any involvement in John Cleese’s reported forthcoming stage production of Monty Python's Life of Brian.

Idle, 80, responded to a report Friday (19 May) that he and Cleese had been adapting the 1979 comedy classic for theatre.

“The stage show version of Monty Python’s Life of Brian will be launched in London in 2024, John Cleese has confirmed. He and Idle have made changes – for example, there'll be no crucifixion scene,” British Comedy Guide tweeted.

In response to the tweet, Idle wrote: “I have nothing at all to do with this production or adaptation. Apparently Cleese has cut the song. Of course.”

Idle appears to be referring to “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” the song that he wrote for the crucifixion scene in Life of Brian.

The film was written by the founding members of the Monty Python comedy troupe, Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Graham Chapman.

“I think Life Of Brian is our best film. We are going to do it in London in the second half of next year and I've changed certain things,” Cleese said recently according to the Daily Mail, which originally reported the news of the adaptation.

The Mail reports that Cleese is working on the project with veteran stage director Caroline Jay Ranger. The Independent has contacted representatives for Ranger and Cleese for comment.

During a one-man-show performance last week, Cleese, 83, reportedly told his audience that he had to cut a scene in which a male character expresses their desire to be known as Loretta and to have babies.

“So here you have something there’s never been a complaint about in 40 years, that I’ve heard of, and now all of a sudden we can’t do it because it’ll offend people. What is one supposed to make of that?” Cleese asked the audience, according to the Mail.

In recent years, Cleese has made headlines for his rants about “cancel culture” and political correctness.

Eric Idle (left) and John Cleese (Getty Images)
Eric Idle (left) and John Cleese (Getty Images)

Idle, on the other hand, has taken a more understanding approach in regard to modern sensibilities.

Asked in a recent interview about Dave Chappelle’s complaints that he is being silenced for his controversial jokes, Idle responded: “Where does he say it? On SNL… well you’re not being that much cancelled, are you?

“If you were in your room complaining. I’d have a lot more sympathy.”

He continued: “You shouldn’t moan about the audience. There’s nothing wrong with the audience. If they don’t laugh at your jokes, there’s something wrong with your joke. And so… I’m not terribly sympathetic to that sort of attitude, to be honest.”

In February, Cleese also announced the revival of his Seventies sitcom Fawlty Towers, which is widely considered to be one of the greatest comedies of all time.

The news prompted shock from comedy fans, many of whom questioned why the already adored show needed to be revived.