Beef of the Day: John Cleese, Eric Idle Wage War Over Spamalot Royalties

ericidle_johncleese300First came the real talk from Eric Idle revealing why he recently canned fellow Monty Python mate John Cleese from the touring production of Spamalot, the stage musical adapted from their 1974 comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail. "I fired John Cleese -- surgically removed him," Idle told the Telegraph. "It wasn't mean -- he's had millions of dollars from it. He charges people a fortune for using his voice. He's always been in financial crisis." A miffed Cleese took to Twitter to strike back at "Yoko Idle."

I see Yoko Idle's been moaning (again), about the royalties he had to pay the other Python's for Spamalot. Apparently he paid me "millions"
Dec 14 via Twitter for iPhoneFavoriteRetweetReply

... actual rough figures last time we checked - Yoko Idle $13m, Michael Palin $1.1m, the others just under a million each...
Dec 14 via Twitter for iPhoneFavoriteRetweetReply

To add insult to injury, Idle had also brought up the subject of Cleese's marital problems in his chat with the Telegraph. "His ex wife was married to him for 20 years. I wouldn't take £13 million to be married to him. I don't feel guilty. I gave him a million dollars. Has he sent me a Christmas card? No, he's too busy on the road."

Ouch. Not cool, Yoko.

Spamalot debuted on Broadway in 2005 and has been touring since to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars; meanwhile, Cleese's one-man show An Evening with John Cleese continues to tour because, as he told Yahoo last month, "I have fallen on hard times... partly, because I am now on the far-side of romantic leading roles, but also because I've just been through a costly and acrimonious divorce..."

[@JohnCleese, Telegraph]


  • j'accuse says:

    Didn't Yoko Idle burn off what was left of his credibility with An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn?

  • The WInchester says:

    It's getting a bit cliched now that every funny person leads a sad depressing existence in reality.

  • milessilverberg says:

    It's time for Terry Gilliam to step in and produce his own special version of a Taiwanese animation of this conflict.

  • KevyB says:

    There's no hero here. John Cleese keeps marrying women so his stupid ass deserves to keep paying money out to them. And Eric Idle should have NEVER made Spamalot. It's Monty Python meets Mel Brooks, which are about opposite ends of the humor spectrum. Supposedly nobody else wanted him to do it, and they've all made sure to point out that it's not really a Monty Python thing but an Eric Idle thing resurrecting a few Monty Python things. Poorly.

    • Elaine says:

      Although I agree with your assertion that Spamalot is primarily Idle's project, as none of the other Pythons did not want to be involved in the new song writing and direction, Spamalot was VERY well done, and critically well-recieved. I was lucky to watch a touring production, and being a Python fan, I enjoyed it immensely. It's a shame to hear about the fighting, but it doesn't detract from the fact that it's an excellent and funny musical.

  • casting couch says:

    Why doesn't Idle pay the Spamalot dues to "Basil" with a suitcase full of house bricks.

  • pjnlsn says:

    Idle must be confused to imply that Cleese is greedy while he takes away 13x the money from the show that he does.

  • Makayla says:

    Just about all of whatever you mention happens to be astonishingly accurate and it makes me wonder why I hadn’t looked at this with this light previously. This particular piece really did turn the light on for me as far as this particular subject matter goes. But there is just one issue I am not really too comfy with and while I try to reconcile that with the actual core idea of your issue, let me see just what all the rest of the visitors have to say.Very well done.

  • Wow! This can be one particular of the most helpful blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Excellent. I’m also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your hard work.