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Eric Idle had a short run on The Masked Singer, but it made a huge difference in his life. The comedy legend competed as Hedgehog in the season 8 premiere on Sept. 21 and was eliminated alongside Hummingbird and Knight. After his unmasking, Idle revealed in exit interviews that he had secretly beaten pancreatic cancer. Here’s why his battle with cancer drove him to join The Masked Singer and how he’s using his time on the show to promote cancer research.

Eric Idle as Hedgehog on The Masked Singer Season 8
Eric Idle as Hedgehog on ‘The Masked Singer’ Season 8 | Michael Becker/FOX

Eric Idle performed as Hedgehog on ‘The Masked Singer’ Season 8

Idle is most known for being a member of the British comedy troupe Monty Python. The group started the sketch comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus in 1969, which grew into several touring stage shows, musicals, and films. Idle became known for his musical numbers, making him a perfect fit for The Masked Singer.

Idle sang The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” for his first performance on The Masked Singer. He rocked a hedgehog costume with a black shirt decked out in silver coins and a matching bowler hat. Some of Hedgehog’s clues included being “naked in Playboy,” having sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl and Sydney Opera House, and having fans in celebrities like Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, and “the Queen that one time.”

After his elimination, Idle sang “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. We now know that the song had a deep and personal meaning for the comedian.

Eric Idle says he felt motivated by surviving pancreatic cancer to join ‘The Masked Singer’

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Idle opened up about surviving pancreatic cancer and how that motivated him to compete on The Masked Singer. He revealed that he wanted to see if he could “still sing and dance” and “do something daft in costume” after his cancer battle. Then, when he realized he could, Idle wanted to use the platform to make a difference.

“I felt this was a chance for me to come out to cancer publicly, and thank the people who saved my life, but more than that, to start raising money so that other people who find themselves in my position can survive as well,” Idle said. “That whole experience was an epiphany for me, and was very, very important in my life. And I’m very glad to have done it, and learned that. It gives me something, rather more than usual, important to hang on to, which is, this is life and death stuff. So now we can help people.”

Idle and his daughter are raising money for pancreatic cancer research with Stand Up to Cancer


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Idle’s next step after The Masked Singer was to start a campaign with Stand Up to Cancer. He revealed that he and his daughter are raising money for early testing and early research for pancreatic cancer.

“I’m gonna [raise awareness] in England, I’m gonna do it in America, and I’m gonna do it in Australia. I’m gonna just be the person who says, I’ll sing, ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ and give us some money. We’ll make sure it’s spent properly and pointed directly at the research and the early testing things and screenings we want to emphasize,” Idle added.

And with that famous funeral song, Idle hopes to spread positivity and hope.

“Now, we can use it, and it reminds you that we can look on the bright side,” Idle said. “We’ve got some good news, and let’s share it. And that’s all I decided I would do.”

Those who would like to learn more and donate to Idle’s campaign with Stand Up to Cancer can visit

New episodes of The Masked Singer air on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.