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Quiz about Eric Idles PostPython Achievements
Quiz about Eric Idles PostPython Achievements

Eric Idle's Post-Python Achievements Quiz


Sketches, monologues, movies, novels, songs, tours, theatre, rockumentary, operetta, travelogue, narration, video games, diaries, sitcoms, series, dramas... You name it, Eric did it. Let the eclecticism of this master of comedy be your challenge!

A multiple-choice quiz by ecoutelebeat. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
ecoutelebeat
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
173,481
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
20
Difficulty
Difficult
Avg Score
10 / 20
Plays
715
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. From which of the following did Dirk from the Rutles cause a sensation by admitting, with some embarrassment, he had already tried? Hint

Spam
To read Socrates
Lipstick
Tea

2. In what film is the immortal "Say no more!" cue revived, and who delivers it? Hint

Splitting Heirs and Eric himself
Splitting Heirs and John Cleese
The Wind In The Willows and Terry Jones
The Wind In The Willows and Eric himself

3. Eric's children story, "The Owl and the Pussycat," was based on the writings of: Hint

Lewis Carroll
Edward Lear
Roald Dahl
Eric himself

4. Which video game includes the song "That's Death," where Eric praises the Grim Reaper and tells you about the hipness of being dead? Hint

Discworld 2
Discworld Noir
Discworld 1
The Meaning of Life

5. How many times did Eric host "Saturday Night Live"? Hint

2
4
3
5

6. Which of Eric's works deals with the embalmed body of a dead Foreign Secretary still turning up for Cabinet meetings, a frustrated astronaut who's upset to remain in orbit while the others walk on the moon, and America deciding to invade France because the Vietnam War is losing public appeal? Hint

Pass the Butler
Rutland Weekend TV 's first programme
The Road to Mars
Hello Sailor

7. Which of these George Harrison clips did Eric direct? Hint

True Love
Wilbury Twist
All Those Years Ago
This Song

8. In which of these movies did Eric play the villain? Hint

Missing Pieces
Dudley-Do-Right
Too Much Sun
Yellowbeard

9. Eric's signature song, "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life," turned out to be Monty Python's only hit, reaching n3 in the UK charts and also topping Swiss and German ones. When was it? Hint

1979
1987
1996
1991

10. Of which director did Eric say: "I was always smart enough to avoid his films before, but I guess with old age and sentimentality I thought, wouldn't it be nice to be on one of his films? Big mistake!" Hint

Terry Jones
Terry Gilliam
Gary Weis
Steven Spielberg

11. What was the name of Eric's radio series transmitted in 1974 on BBC Radio 1? Hint

More Naughty Bits
Rutland Weekend Radio
Radio 5
The Golden Hour of Prince Charles

12. What is the only serious part Eric ever played in his career? Hint

The Frog Prince
Lord High Executioner
King Richard III
The Pied Piper of Hamelin

13. In 1999, what movie involving Eric won the 19th Razzie Award in the category "Worst film of the year"? Hint

Burn Hollywood Burn: An Alan Smithee Film
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Austin Powers 2
Inspector Gadget

14. Did you know that Eric had a soft spot for France? Name the one thing he did NOT do: Hint

He lived in France
He played a Frenchman
He married a French girl
He wrote a song in French

15. In "The Road to Mars," a robot develops a theory of comedy while touring with a comedy duo. On what basis? Hint

The White Face/Red Nose dichotomy
The mechanical and inherently human criteria
The purgation of emotion caused by comic laughter
Pleasure subverting normal social rules

16. Who did Dirk McQuickly's vocal parts in "The Rutles"? Hint

Ollie Halsall
Kevin Ayers
Eric himself
Ricky Fataar

17. One of the highlights of "The Mikado" has to be executioner Ko-Ko's "little list" of "society offenders that may well be underground" and "never would be missed." Who amongst the following does Eric spare in his entirely rewritten lyrics? Hint

Cricketers
Australians
Interior designers
Traffic wardens

18. Where does the name "Rutland" originally come from? Hint

It hinted at the animal mating period
No particular reason ever given
It stood for the Rutles' Pepperland
It was UK's smallest county

19. In which 1985 episode of the "National Lampoon" series did Eric appear? Hint

National Lampoon's European Vacation
National Lampoon's Animal House
National Lampoon's Vacation
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

20. Who is Nigel Spasm? Hint

An award-seeking journalist in shorts
A Liza Minelli dolphin impersonator
A paranoid general who will see people only when they're dead
A friend of Eric's who happens to have a strange name


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. From which of the following did Dirk from the Rutles cause a sensation by admitting, with some embarrassment, he had already tried?

Answer: Tea

Socrates never wrote a word, and besides, he was permanently pissed. No, let's face it: Dirk had tea. Lots of tea...AND biscuits.
In fact, his confession referred to the controversy caused in 1967 by Paul Mac Cartney's positive answer to a journalist who had asked him if he had already taken LSD. Paul had said then that one shouldn't ask for a reply one doesn't want to hear, and that he considered his fans to be responsible enough to think for themselves.
2. In what film is the immortal "Say no more!" cue revived, and who delivers it?

Answer: Splitting Heirs and John Cleese

In this film, John Cleese plays a mad barrister who goes by the name of Mr. Shadgrind and plans to kill a baby to make sure Tommy (Eric) gets his fortune back. "Say no more !" is one of the phrases he uses to keep the conspiracy a secret. "The Wind In The Willows" (1995) united all the surviving Pythons except Terry Gilliam, so it could have been a good occasion for tongue-in-cheek memories...but it wasn't!
3. Eric's children story, "The Owl and the Pussycat," was based on the writings of:

Answer: Edward Lear

Edward Lear was a 19th century painter and author. The original poem appeared in his "Book of Nonsense" which, like most of his works, was silly enough to appeal to an ex-Monty Python...and his daughter Lily. In the poem, the characters put to sea with "only some honey and plenty of money wrapped up in a five pound note." Eric's version is a narration intermingled with songs, which tells the story of an owl and a pussycat who set off to strange lands to rescue the Bong Tree, a magical tree that walks, talks, swims, and goes shopping.

It came out in print and as an audio-book in 1996 and got nominated for a Grammy, failing to win only because the award went to "Winnie the Pooh" ! A few years later, Eric's reading of Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate factory" was also nominated for a Grammy.
4. Which video game includes the song "That's Death," where Eric praises the Grim Reaper and tells you about the hipness of being dead?

Answer: Discworld 2

"Discworld 1" didn't have any song and Eric wasn't part of the "Discworld Noir" cast. This spoof of Frank Sinatra's "That's Life" could have been a nice alternative to Mol's "Christmas in Heaven" though : "Why not just lie back and simply rot ? It's so cool, it's hot !" But no.

The song, sung by a skeleton in a top hat and cane with an all girl chorus, opened and ended the credits to "Discworld 2" in 1996. The game was first released in Europe with the subtitle "Missing, Presumed...!?". It was changed to "Mortality Bytes!" when released in America. No official reason has been given for that.
5. How many times did Eric host "Saturday Night Live"?

Answer: 4

Eric was a guest host on four occasions, though only three appearances out of four were released on video: October 2, 1976 (season 2), April 23, 1977 (season 2), December 9, 1978 (season 4) and October 20, 1979 (season 5). He also did a cameo on the "Live at the Mardi-Gras" special (1977) and another one as a customs officer in 1986.
6. Which of Eric's works deals with the embalmed body of a dead Foreign Secretary still turning up for Cabinet meetings, a frustrated astronaut who's upset to remain in orbit while the others walk on the moon, and America deciding to invade France because the Vietnam War is losing public appeal?

Answer: Hello Sailor

"Hello Sailor" was Eric's first novel, and the very first novel ever published by a Python. It was released in 1975, but Eric actually wrote it in 1970 while recovering from a bout of flu. It sold well in paperback (20, 000 copies), but was critically diversely acclaimed, some finding it a wonderful surrealistic piece of lunacy in best Python tradition, whilst others complained about all these bits refusing to hang together in any coherent fashion.

Although basically a rather superficial joke compared to the much more mature "Road to Mars," you have to admit this work does have its sharp insights as far as political corruption, space race, royal scandal and military madness are concerned.
7. Which of these George Harrison clips did Eric direct?

Answer: True Love

"True Love" showed the opposite of what it was about, for in the clip, George's girl flirted shamelessly with another guy! Eric also directed "Crackerbox Palace" for George, and it featured of course... a bunch of loonies, what else? He was also involved in "Wilbury Twist," where he did a cameo, and in "This Song," where he sang some backing vocals, but directed neither of these clips. George and Eric were very close and worked together on quite a number of occasions, though unfortunately never on a large scale: for example, George performed the very silly "Pirate Song" at the end of a Christmas Special in the series "Rutland Weekend TV" and played a journalist in "The Rutles." Through "Handmade Films," he also produced "Nuns on the Run." Of course, History will remember him above all as the rescuer of "Life of Brian."
8. In which of these movies did Eric play the villain?

Answer: Yellowbeard

Three Pythons starred in this 1983 dream cast which also included Peter Cook, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn and Cheech and Chong: Graham Chapman as the legendary pirate, John Cleese as blind beggar Pew, Eric as Queen Anne's civil servant. It's pretty hard to believe in Commander Clement's mischief when you see how superb he looks in his curly wig and grand Royal Navy uniform, but here you are, this is one of the very rare occasions where Eric plays the nasty one, that is, Yellowbeard's enemy who chases him and tries to put his hand on his treasure.

He was not very likable either in "Casper," "The Mikado" and "Suddenly Susan." But all these roles were also ridiculous ones and, first of all, meant to raise laughs.
9. Eric's signature song, "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life," turned out to be Monty Python's only hit, reaching n3 in the UK charts and also topping Swiss and German ones. When was it?

Answer: 1991

"Bright side of Life" had a very long life indeed for a song dealing with death. Originally from "Life of Brian," it was born almost by accident, as a pastime on a day when Monty Python were filming the last scene and were all bored and hot sitting up on their crucifixes. Everyone (but Eric) liked it so much that they decided to use it.

Then, beyond the frontiers of comedy, the song was acknowledged as an emanation of the English soul, permeating into every layer of society. There is a striking instance of a Royal Navy band playing it whilst their ship was sinking after being hit by a missile during the Falklands War. Due to the popularity of the song being sung on the British football terraces, Virgin Records decided to reissue the single, which reached No. 3 in the UK charts in 1991. To this day, it is still used on some radio stations as a daily or weekly signoff.
10. Of which director did Eric say: "I was always smart enough to avoid his films before, but I guess with old age and sentimentality I thought, wouldn't it be nice to be on one of his films? Big mistake!"

Answer: Terry Gilliam

He went on: "He's very good, Terry, when you get to work, he's fine. The chaos of this film! We've been here since August the 31st, dragged in, had your head shaved, two hours of makeup, then you sit around for four hours, so it's a sort of Zen job - you keep going." This rather gloomy statement was even enhanced by a somewhat harsh : "It's not really fun, it's a job, you know - it's not supposed to be fun. We're supposed to be giving fun.

But it isn't the sort of thing that you can feel you work on a scene, because they're such big scenes." On several occasions, Eric made it clear that the shooting of "The Adventures of Baron Muchausen" (1988) was one of his worst experience in movies -- if not his worst. Surprising, eh? Pity, for it means he probably won't work with Terry again.
11. What was the name of Eric's radio series transmitted in 1974 on BBC Radio 1?

Answer: Radio 5

Just before launching "Rutland Weekend TV," Eric toyed with the idea of spoof broadcasting with his BBC Radio 1 series "Radio 5" (six hour-long editions, 30 March-4 May 1974), where he played all the parts and experimented different voices. The title was a play on the BBC's national radio stations, Radios 1 to 4. An actual Radio 5 would be launched for real 16 years later.
12. What is the only serious part Eric ever played in his career?

Answer: The Pied Piper of Hamelin

This part stands out in Eric's career as the only dramatic starring role he was ever offered (as he will say in a desultory manner, they won't allow him out of his Python outfit), and he played it majestically, living out the might and the charisma the character suggested, leaving you wanting for more.

This impressive exception was due to David Bowie first declining the role in 1985, and producer Shelley Duvall, who had already worked with Eric three years earlier on "The Frog Prince," consequently asking him to take over. Eric only did the narrator's voice in "The Frog Prince" and never played Richard III.

The Lord High Executioner is Ko-Ko from "The Mikado" and, despite his profession, more ridiculous than anything else.
13. In 1999, what movie involving Eric won the 19th Razzie Award in the category "Worst film of the year"?

Answer: Burn Hollywood Burn: An Alan Smithee Film

The 19th annual Razzie Awards, a spoof of the Academy Awards, also voted the Spice Girls in their screen debut, "Spice World" as worst actress as a collective effort, and Leonardo DiCaprio "won" the award for worst screen couple, starring as twins in "The Man in the Iron Mask." But biggest loser/winner of the awards of this year was actor-writer-composer-director Joe Eszterhas who was voted worst supporting actor, worst writer, worst "original" song and worst new star, all for "Burn Hollywood Burn" ! So you see, there was not much Eric could do to save the film.

As far as he was concerned, he was very convincing as a tragicomic film director, maddened and driven to despair after being depossessed of his work. But the rest of the movie was a never-ending stream of tedious interviews of the other characters, with hopeless jokes such as tagging as a "feminist" each woman who happened to appear on the screen.
14. Did you know that Eric had a soft spot for France? Name the one thing he did NOT do:

Answer: He married a French girl

Eric didn't go as far as marrying a French girl, but that's really the only thing he did not do! He was Passepartout, Phileas Fogg's faithful servant, in NBC's "Around the world in 80 days" with Pierce Brosnan and Peter Ustinov after Jules Verne (1989).

He wrote "La mer" for "Splitting Heirs." He lived in the south of France in the 70's, and that's where he first got the idea for the Rutles. He even performed one of his best known sketches, "Children's stories," entirely in French for French TV in 1973, but, as it is a very little known fact, I didn't include it among the possible answers.
15. In "The Road to Mars," a robot develops a theory of comedy while touring with a comedy duo. On what basis?

Answer: The White Face/Red Nose dichotomy

Set in space a few centuries in the future, this novel (1999) was originally meant to be a musical. But this was not to be, and Eric took advantage of the written form to add an original, thought-provoking meditation on the meaning of his career. For him, comedians are either "White Face" or "Red Nose", Apollo or Dionysus, mind or body. White Face (such as John Cleese) is the cerebral, reserved, dignified, endomorph comedian and Red Nose (such as Robin Williams) is his lowbrow, outgoing, goofy ectomorph counterpart.

In this classification, Eric sees himself as a White Face. The other theories I evoked are in fact from Aristotle's observations on catharsis, Bergson's book on laughter, and Bakhtin's study about carnival.
16. Who did Dirk McQuickly's vocal parts in "The Rutles"?

Answer: Ollie Halsall

Despite his musical abilities, Eric did not sing or play on the album, and just lip-synched Ollie Halsall's tracks in the film, because he assumed he didn't have a proper Beatle voice. Ollie, a guitar and keyboard player, was a member of Timebox, Patto and Boxer, and worked with Kevin Ayers, Brian Eno, John Cale, Viv Stanshall and Neil Innes. Sadly, he died in 1992 from a heart attack at 43. Ollie can be briefly seen in the film as "Leppo."
17. One of the highlights of "The Mikado" has to be executioner Ko-Ko's "little list" of "society offenders that may well be underground" and "never would be missed." Who amongst the following does Eric spare in his entirely rewritten lyrics?

Answer: Cricketers

Those who know a bit about Eric's tastes will have got this right, as he loves cricket and surely wouldn't have cricketers on his list. But apart from them, few can get away with it. Not only the "customs men who fumbling through your underwear insist," but also "Australians of all kinds," who get the biggest laughs (perhaps because of the Bruces), "comedians and weightlifters and opera singers too," and, even more precisely, "poncey little singers who to entertain us try / by dressing up like women and by singin' far too high." You can trust Eric to take every opportunity to laugh at himself. "The Mikado," an operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan, was shifted by Jonathan Miller from Japan to 1920's England to allow elegant black and white aesthetics and underscore the true Englishness of this phony Japanese satire. Ko-Ko's part is traditionally played by a comedian, and Dudley Moore had had a go before Eric.
18. Where does the name "Rutland" originally come from?

Answer: It was UK's smallest county

In those days, the London commercial TV franchise had been strangely split between Thames, who broadcast Monday-Friday, and London Weekend Television, who broadcast at weekends. And as on the previous year (1974), Rutland had been forcibly merged with neighbouring Leicestershire because it was the UK's smallest county, Eric explained (in the person of Ray Jenkinson, Managing Director of RWTV): "Sir Nat Kosher realized the enormous tax benefits of broadcasting from somewhere which didn't legally exist and formed Rutland Weekend Television, Britain's smallest TV station. From its very first broadcast RWTV was greeted with praise from Accountants and Taxation experts in every walk of life." He also added later on: "Now you should realize that Rutland Weekend TV as well as being about the world's smallest TV station was also done on the world's smallest TV budget."
19. In which 1985 episode of the "National Lampoon" series did Eric appear?

Answer: National Lampoon's European Vacation

Eric plays an unfortunate (and anonymous) English bike rider, mindlessly bruised and injured by Mr. Griswald's American awkwardness, and who keeps on being stupidly polite and heroically silent about his obviously very serious wounds, even when a new encounter in Italy manages to make matters worse.

It's only a cameo, but so thoroughly enjoyable I considered it able to rank among Eric's milestones. Chevy Chase portrayed Mr. Griswald.
20. Who is Nigel Spasm?

Answer: An award-seeking journalist in shorts

All (but Eric's unlikely friend) are colourful characters from "The Rutland Isles" (2003), but Nigel Spasm is the main one, since he hosts this self-claimed "award-seeking documentary." He is described as "one in a long line of British men in shorts," and he visits remote places to bring you an aural look at the people, the flora and the sheep of a chain of extinct Masonic Islands in Melanoma (there are over 498 thousand of them), "created millions of years ago when Norway rammed into Costa Rica and then went south for the weekend." Eric revealed the inspiration for this irritating and likable character: "Fairly early on my main character became clear to me. I always heard his voice as that gentle insistent civilized informative voice of David Attenborough."
Source: Author ecoutelebeat

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