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May 23, 2007

Eric Idle: I Will "Sue The Asses" of Shrek The Third Producers For Stealing Our Coconut Joke

Errrmmm... there's a difference -- though I have to say it's often not a very clear one -- between a lift and a reference/homage. Those stupid Ninja Turtles were featured in commercials saying "Sch-wing!," which I'm sure they would claim was a reference to Wayne's World, though it seems to me they were just stealing that movie's most famous catchphrase. But it's hazy.

So, Shrek features the clopping-coconuts-instead-of-horses gag from The Holy Grail. Is Idle really that peeved about a famous joke being "stolen" thirty years after its debut?

It's hazy -- the writers, I'm sure it's a "reference." To the millions of kids seeing this -- who of course haven't seen Holy Grail -- it's actually thievery, because they have no idea it's a reference and assume it's an original Shrek gag.

But... who cares?

"The coconut gag was a small gag ... and it's of course a radio joke," Idle said. "It's been stolen blatantly by Shrek 3 I'm happy to say, so we'll be able to sue their asses."

Idle was in Toronto to promote a new play and stopped in for a chat on Mix Fm. When probed by station producer Maurie, Idle admitted his distaste for the new film and its alleged comedic thievery even though not only he, but Monty Python buddy John Cleese are featured in the cast. Still, they're all seeing red over the big green ogre.

"It seems as though he's really upset by this and I think that he will take legal action," Maurie said.

I always figured Idle was a kind of cool guy. Who knows, maybe he is a cool guy. (Despite his politics, which many tell me are hard-left. But even lefties can be cool. They're just idiotic politically.) But he seems like a bit of douche here. I see his point, but...

Come on. You've ridden this coconut for thirty years. Most would call that a good ride. Let it go.

In patent terms, you've been able to exploit and profit from your invention for thirty years (well beyond the standard patent period). After that, it lapses into free public use.

You created a seminal comedy gag that kinda-sorta belongs to the world simply because it is so famous. Be proud of that. Don't be a dick. You're a Python, not a pathetic Jerky Boyz character.

Thanks to Relapsed Catholic.

Joke? Some commenters say he's kidding. I figured he was kidding too, but the reporter assured me the Pythons were fuming and would "likely" take legal action.

I just realized-- what the hell am I doing substituting an idiot reporter's take for my own? Do I trust them? No. Do I have any respect for their competence or integrity? No. Do I believe they have some special insight into this (or anything at all)? No.

So, you're right -- it almost certainly is a joke, either incompetently or deliberately passed off as a real legal threat by a typical media douchebag.

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posted by Ace at 02:23 PM

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