Tag Archives: Eddie Izzard

Last Night of Python Part One

July 20 had a much different feel to it than the previous night.

 
We took an earlier train to the O2 than we had on Saturday, but it seemed more crowded. I noticed a familiar-looking face in our car, about half a dozen seats away, and could swear it was Steve Coogan, who I last saw a few months before on the Academy Awards telecast. Funny who you see on the Tube…
 
Most of the passengers disembarked for the O2 and made their way through a light rainfall. My son and I picked up our tickets and passes and went inside, making our way to the green room. Along the way, we passed the 50-foot-long Norwegian Blue, which already had about a dozen fans queued up for photos with it. I picked up a few souvenirs, and we walked past a waiting crowd and stepped into the green room.
 
To our surprise, the room had been transformed from a low-key lounge and bar into a shrine to Python, complete with cages filled with dead parrots, and a pair of couches and cameras and lighting equipment at the far end. There was obviously going to be some sort of broadcast (I later found out that there was a live broadcast for British TV, hosted by and featuring a few British TV personalities). Eddie Izzard came out of the hallway with the dressing rooms; we said a quick hello and he went off to be interviewed by a roaming camera crew.
 
The crowd of people who had been held outside the green room were then allowed in; they were obviously background players for the broadcast. It was getting uncomfortably crowded. And then, someone who was obviously NOT a background player was wheeled into the room, accompanied by a pair of assistants. There was no mistaking Prof. Stephen Hawking; everyone respectfully deferred to him as he came to a halt near us behind the couches. A trio of girls in low-cut dresses swarmed around the good doctor for a few minutes, and my son had the chance to speak to him as well, mentioning his high school and the Nobel-Prize-winning doctor who founded it, and I snapped a picture of the two of them.
 
MJ Hawking
 
Most of the celebrities were British, and I didn’t recognize them. But I did recognize Warwick Davis and his family, who was also a center of attention. He stood near us and introduced himself to Prof. Hawking. I complimented him on his work at the Python press conference that had started the whole reunion, and we had a nice chat. And it was time to take our seats for the final show…
 
 
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The Penultimate Night of Monty Python

The scene backstage after the July 19 show was one of subdued excitement.

Python live photo op
 
Many of the folks in the green room had already seen one or more of the reunion shows, and were just enjoying the afterglow. Eddie Izzard, who had just seen his sixth show was at the bar, apparently being interviewed. It was his first time as the onstage celebrity during the Blackmail sketch, though, and he seemed to have really enjoyed his time up there with the Pythons.
 
After a few minutes, Terry Jones entered the room, and made a beeline to my son and me.We discussed the show, and Terry again marveled at how their audience just lifted them up and made it such a special event. Not long after, John Cleese entered and headed straight for us. I secretly enjoyed noticing that Eddie Izzard watched both John and Terry make a point of greeting me immediately, and he seemed to decide that I was someone worth noticing… Eddie joined us, and he gave John a couple of suggestions (undoubtedly solicited by John) about a couple of moments. I asked John if, during a couple of moments when lines were shaky, he had done what he had done in other live shows–leaning over and asking the audience “What’s the next line?” He said that no, he hadn’t, but might well utilize it the next night if the situation arose. 
 
The rest was a blur. Terry introduced me to Ian Davidson, a familiar name to Python fans but someone I had never before met. Carol Cleveland walked through the room in showgirl costume, too far for me to get her attention. Michael Palin came over and said hello, and we were able to catch up for a few minutes. Then he begged off, explaining that they had to do a meet and greet, and I told him that John had invited us along if that was okay. He was very happy to have us along, and so our group, the five Pythons and a few of us stragglers, tailed by a camera crew, made our way through the hallways of the O2, and finally came to a freight elevator. We all piled in–the five Pythons, my son and I, Eddie, their manager, the promoter, the camera crew, and a couple of other miscellaneous folks, all crammed inside. I think we went up several floors, though we may have descended–I’m not really sure, that’s how crowded and hectic it was. We got off in a large darkened storage area and headed toward what turned out to be a working pub crammed with fans who had opted for the meet and greet opportunity.
 
While the Pythons were being miked, Eric Idle noticed me for the first time, greeted me warmly, and asked how my little boy was. I pointed out that the young man towering over both of us was the little boy that he had remembered.
 
They entered the room to a rousing response, and fans who had literally come from around the world. They asked questions and Eddie moderated, and all seemed to have a great time. After about a half hour, the Pythons and the rest of the group headed back the way we came, down the elevator, and back to the bowels of the O2. Terry offered us a ride back to our bed and breakfast, which we gratefully accepted, and we had a drink in the Family Reception Room while he ran back to his dressing room for his bag.
 
As we rode back to North London, Terry explained that after the first show, as an experiment and at their promoter’s behest, they did an extensive meet and greet with fans, posing for photos and signing autographs. Unfortunately, it took them over two hours, and they were totally exhausted afterward, so from that point on, they did the up-close-and-personal Q&A sessions instead–otherwise they’d probably have been too exhausted to make it through the weeks of shows. I asked question after question–after all, we hadn’t seen each other in nearly five years–but it wasn’t long before the adrenalin wore off, and we were all longing for bed. We thanked Terry again as the car pulled up in front of our inn, and promised we’d see him tomorrow night for the Last Night of Python. 

What About Dick?

I just realized that, during the 6 months or so that I’ve been blogging, I haven’t mentioned WHAT ABOUT DICK?, Eric Idle’s hilarious, only slightly naughty comedy. It’s not exactly a comedy, it’s not exactly a play, and there is some improv and stand-up.

A few years ago, Eric wrote a script called THE REMAINS OF THE PIANO, which he has transformed into WHAT ABOUT DICK? He assembled an incredibly talented cast consisting of Billy Connolly, Russell Brand, Tracy Ullman, Jim Piddock, Eddie Izzard, Jane Leeves, Sophie Winkleman, and Tim Curry for a one-time-only performance in L.A. For those of us not in L.A., however, it was filmed and edited and is available as a digital download at whataboutdick.com.

If you’d like to order it but aren’t sure how to digitally download anything, I’ve included a video here that should help, featuring a very kind gentleman who packs more Dicks into three minutes than–well, you can insert your own Dick joke here. Enjoy.

Terry Jones Progress

The latest news is that Terry Jones’ new film, Absolutely Anything, is coming along very well. Kate Beckinsale has now signed on to the sci-fi comedy, which will star Simon Pegg and the voice of Robin Williams, along with Eddie Izzard and the voices of John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, and Terry Gilliam. Shooting is set to begin in London on March 24, and there’s more information available here

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And after he wraps, he should have just enough time to head over to the O2 Arena for the Monty Python reunion!