Eric Idle Said George Harrison Would’ve Been Proud That Monty Python’s Concert for George Performance Lightened the Mood

Eric Idle thinks George Harrison would’ve been proud of Monty Python’s Concert for George performance. The former Beatle’s favorite comedy troupe brought laughter to his somber tribute concert.

Eric Idle and Olivia Harrison at a 2011 screening of 'George Harrison: Living in the Material World.'
Eric Idle and Olivia Harrison | Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

The comedian said the former Beatle’s widow asked him and Monty Python to perform at Concert for George

Following George’s death in 2001, his long-time friend, Eric Clapton, felt the need to honor him somehow. He approached George’s widow, Olivia Harrison, about doing a tribute concert. She thought it was a great idea and made Clapton musical director. He wrangled all of George’s friends to help.

Everyone from George’s fellow Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, his Traveling Wilburys bandmates, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, his musical guru Ravi Shankar, Billy Preston, and many others, including George’s Monty Python buddies, came along to support their friend.

In an interview with Yahoo!, Idle explained that Olivia personally asked him if Monty Python would perform.

He explained, “She said, ‘Everybody’s doing a George song. Would you do ‘Piggies’?’ And I said, ‘We don’t really do songs. We’re not a singing group. You know, we do idiotic and rude things! So, why don’t we sing ‘Sit on My Face and Tell Me That You Love Me’?’ And she let us do it, so we did it!”

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Eric Idle thinks that George Harrison would’ve loved Monty Python’s performance because it lightened the tribute’s mood

Monty Python’s performance definitely lifted the mood at Concert for George. Most of the performances from George’s friends were packed with emotion, but the comedy troupe brought light-hearted laughter, which Idle thinks George would’ve liked.

“I thought, ‘He would’ve been so happy that we did this. This would’ve made him so proud,'” Idle said of George. “We insisted on doing something rude, and it lightened the mood. Laughter is close to tears, and if you can laugh at those times, it’s really helpful.”

Idle laughed and cried in equal measure at Concert for George.

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Paul McCartney comforted Idle at Concert for George

Whenever Idle got sad at the tribute concert, Paul McCartney came to his aid and comforted him with hugs.

“Because the rest of it was kind of very sad — like that the end with Joe Brown singing ‘I’ll See You in My Dreams’ with the petals falling, which is the most moving thing I think I’ve ever been part of,” Idle said. “I’d have to go and cry a bit.

“And then Paul was great; he said, ‘Come here, you need a hug.’ Every time he’d find me crying somewhere at the back, it was: ‘You need a hug.’ And it was very lovely, very nice.”

Concert for George undoubtedly inspired all sorts of emotions from George’s family, friends, and fans. However, George would’ve wanted them to laugh more than anything else. Idle and Monty Python accomplished that.

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