Idle thoughts on galloping coconuts

Yesterday we watched “Shrek the Third” on DVD, and were interested by the varied and very familiar voice-cast that was credited at the end, including Monty Python members Eric Idle and John Cleese.

As is my habit these days, I looked up the film on Wikipedia to learn more about it.  And one of the links there was this:

Comedy legend Eric Idle stormed out of the premiere of Shrek The Third after they nicked one of his gags, according to 99.9 MIX FM…

In the hit movie – made by Dreamworks – Prince Charming is seen riding a horse telling how he fought and killed the ogre.

But as the camera pans out he is seen on a hobby horse with a minion banging two coconut halves together to make a clippity clop sound.

The gag is a direct lift from Idle’s 1975 classic comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail….

Told by the presenter that it was meant as a mark of admiration Idle, who voices the Merlin character, lashed out: “Do you think if I stole your wallet that’d be homage to your money?”

Indeed.  The Shrek movie is full of all kinds of cultural references (mostly to fairy tales), but ripping off the Pythons is just not on, what?

No, as far as the Pythons are concerned, imitation is not a form of flattery. (No “This is an ex-parrot” jokes, please.)

Of course, the Pythons were merely paying homage to Spike Milligan, who substituted horses with coconuts back in 1955. And the revenues from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” were a homage to Milligan’s wallet.

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  1. Ha. Luckily that news is old (2007) so I can safely resume my lifelong adulation of Eric Idle and the Pythons.


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