A poll last year asked people for their favourite comedy song of all time – way ahead atop the pack was Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life from the Life of Brian movie.
Legend has it that the Python crew were holed up in Tripoli shooting the movie and had no ending. Endings had always been their weak point, with the rather silly ending to their first movie The Holy Grail descending into a modern day police chase (I felt almost cheated about that). Eric Idle came up with the song (which the movie company hated) but it has proved to be as popular today as it was when penned in 1979. I saw him perform it with full orchestra in Perth a few years ago and it brought the house down. It added a brilliant ironic twist to the end of the movie, which had been controversially sending up religion, or rather the absurdity of the over the top crowd adulation that can go along with it. I remember a teacher at school disdainfully asking us “you’re not going to see that movie are you?” Like punk rock and long hair, anything that was subversive and annoyed our teachers was going to have an attraction. I remember laughing til I cried, and still do – the comic timing (welease Woderwick!) and memorable lines (I think he said blessed are the cheesemakers… presumably all makers of dairy produce) were comedy perfection. Ex Beatle George Harrison, bless him, pretty much bankrolled the whole movie with a million quid cash injection mortgaging his house in the process. A wise investment for George as it would turn out, and his Handmade Films went onto to make classic likes Withnail and I, Mona Lisa and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and be a major supporter of the British TV industry. George simply said that after reading the script, he had to see the film made. Python Terry Jones famously described this as the “most expensive cinema ticket in history”.
And finally, just on its own – it’s a bloody good sentiment. Be positive, always look on the bright side of life. Just purse your lips and whistle, that’s the thing 🙂