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John Cleese Feuds with Eric Idle: ‘We Always Loathed and Despised Each Other’

Split screen image of John Cleese and Eric Idle
Source: Bruce Baker & Eduardo Unda-Sanzana/Wikimedia Commons

In the realm of comedy, few names shine as brightly as Monty Python. The British comedy group, known for their surreal humor, wordplay, and disregard for conventional storytelling, has left an indelible mark on the genre. However, recent developments have revealed a less humorous side of the group’s legacy, spotlighting a feud between members John Cleese and Eric Idle that has both shocked (and entertained) the public.

The crux of the disagreement lies in the management of Monty Python’s financial affairs, specifically the role of Holly Gilliam, daughter of Python co-founder Terry Gilliam.

Eric Idle publicly criticized her management skills on X (formally Twitter), suggesting that the group’s financial streams have “tailed off disastrously” under her watch.

“But I guess if you put a Gilliam child in as your manager you should not be so surprised. One Gilliam is bad enough. Two can take out any company,” Idle lamented.

John Cleese quickly jumped to Holly Gilliam’s defense, countering Idle’s criticisms with high praise for her work ethic and efficiency.

“I have worked with Holly for the last 10 years, and I find her very efficient, clear-minded, hardworking, and pleasant to have dealings with,” Cleese wrote on X, adding that Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam share his opinion.


This public spat has unearthed long-standing tensions within the group, with Cleese bluntly revealing on X, “We always loathed and despised each other, but it’s only recently that the truth has begun to emerge.”

Such candidness is rare among celebrities, especially those with a legacy as cohesive and celebrated as Monty Python’s.

Idle’s grievances extend beyond internal management to the broader issue of financial expectations and realities. “I don’t know why people always assume we’re loaded,” he shared online, expressing frustration over having to “work for my living” at the age of 80. This sentiment, coupled with his stark critique of Netflix and documentaries, paints a picture of a man disillusioned with the entertainment industry’s mechanisms and, perhaps, the legacy handling of Monty Python.

The feud has sparked a wide range of reactions from fans and the public alike. A quick scroll through the comments of Cleese and Idle’s posts reveals some users saddened to see such iconic figures at odds, while others find the honesty refreshing, if not entirely in keeping with the irreverent spirit of Monty Python.

Despite the current feud, Monty Python’s contribution to comedy remains undisputed. The group’s ability to blend absurdity with intelligent satire has influenced generations of comedians and writers. Yet this unfolding saga adds a bittersweet layer to their legacy, reminding fans that behind the laughter and iconic sketches, the Pythons are, after all, human — with all the complexities, disagreements, and emotions that come with it.

As the dust settles on this particular chapter of Monty Python’s history, how it will affect the group’s legacy remains to be seen. For now, fans are reminded that even the most brilliant collaborations are not immune to the trials and tribulations that come with success, aging, and differing visions for the future.


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