Eric Idle, original member of Monty Python and author of the Broadway hit musical Spamalot, describes himself in his Twitter bio as a "Writer, reader, husband, father, dog owner, sillographer, guitarist, football fan." Now, thanks to his hilarious performance at Whitman College last weekend, the British comedian can add coveted commencement speaker and honorary doctor of fine arts to that list.
"My wife is absolutely thrilled she's finally married to a doctor," Idle quipped during his speech on Sunday. "And of course I'm thrilled that I can now prescribe my own medical marijuana."
The site of Idle's first-ever commencement address was a small liberal arts college in Southeast Washington where his daughter was among this year's graduating class.
Following a 15-minute speech packed with pithy one-liners and an ongoing stunt in which the comedian placed one hand atop his head to indicate irony, Idle performed a surprise rendition of his classic hit, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."
The following is a list of the 17 most sidesplitting lines culled from Idle's speech at Whitman, which was fittingly titled "There's No Time Like the Pleasant."
- Graduation day is one of those days that you'll remember until the day you forget.
- Today's address is rated NBL, NV, and NN: No bad language, no violence, and definitely no nudity.
- I can't imagine why you asked me here. I presume the Kardashians were busy?
- I have been specially asked not to be rude or inappropriate -- which is a bit like inviting a boxer to fight and not asking him to hit anyone.
- I hope I can say something that you can take away with you as you commence your life -- or, as the rest of us know, go downhill from here.
- If you're still playing beer pong five years from now, you may be on the wrong track.
- After college, it's a bit like being cast out of paradise. From now on, it's all debts and taxes and death and jobs, marriages and divorces and money problems. It's a mess.
- I don't want to be controversial today because I know you Americans are very sensitive, plus you have a lot of guns.
- We Brits have no emotions. Instead, we have royalty, and they have emotions for us. We stand out in the rain for hours and wave little flags and cheer as they celebrate themselves. 'Hurray! Should we go inside now? No, no, let's stay outside, it's still raining.' So the Queen's reign is actually literal in England.
- Nowadays, nobody gets irony, because we are now living in the post-ironic age. Once George Bush gets a library, all irony is dead.
- A quick word on the Second Amendment... I can promise you, we Brits are not coming back. So you don't need that many muskets.
- The English say 'sorry' all the time, but they don't mean it -- a famous example of an English apology is when Her Majesty the Queen was hosting the Nigerian president in London and they were in a horse and carriage in a parade on their way to a public banquet. And one of the horses loudly farted. 'I'm terribly sorry!' said the queen. 'That's alright,' said the president. 'I thought it was the horse.'
- You probably remember the first time you got drunk. Who knew the room would go round and round and round? They don't say that on the bottle, do they? 'Warning: The room will go round and round and round.' So be careful of that. When the room is spinning, you've pretty much had enough. It's the same with marriage.
- Learn to trust yourself. That's very vital... Just stand with yourself. Remember, in his lifetime, Van Gogh sold only two paintings. I personally sold even fewer.
- There's nobody who wouldn't gladly exchange with you today being young and here and alive. I would give all of my money to be you, but I'm not going to because my wife has it. I'm allowed one wife joke, that's it, and I agreed because I'm a married liberal. I believe in a woman's right to choose for me.
- Someone once said America is 300 million people all walking in the same direction singing "I Did It My Way." Actually, it was me. I said that.
- Life has a very simple plot. First you're here, and then you're not.
Watch the full video of Idle's remarks and share your thoughts in the comments.
Follow Gillian Frew on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gillianfrew