cover image THE GREEDY BASTARD DIARY: A Comic Tour of America


Eric Idle, . . Harper Entertainment, $23.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-06-075864-6

During his eponymous tour, playwright, novelist and "third tallest member of Monty Python" Idle posted a daily Internet diary—"a lap dance across America via laptop"—whose entries he's polished and updated for this book. Taking readers from Vermont to Vegas as he attempts standup for the first time, and writing with wit and honesty, Idle mixes memoir and tales from his tour bus, which is, he says, "like traveling in your own suitcase." With the 80-day expedition through 49 cities neatly niched into 80 chapters, Idle offers a Pythonesque pastiche of goofy observations as he analyzes audiences, dissects his nightly performances and recalls showbiz friendships. He also muses on the passing landscape ("In the chasm of the glacial valley we travel through the deep blue of the morning, staring up at awesome pillars of mountain piled high into mighty citadels"). The travelogue is punctuated with puns and Cockney rhyming slang, but it's not all fun and games. Idle offers a moving account of his mother's death and a harrowing description of a bleeding George Harrison struggling in 1999 against a knife-wielding intruder. 16-page color photo insert not seen by PW . Agent, Matt Bialer. (Mar.)

Forecast: With publication of this autobiography-in-disguise timed to coincide with the New York opening of Idle's musical Spamalot (based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail), Idle should see solid sales.