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Monty Python Icon Eric Idle On Joining The Masked Singer As A Cancer Survivor, And Performing For The Queen And King Charles

The Masked Singer kicked off Season 8 in a grand way and had a night that featured multiple eliminations and some major stars. Audiences saw The Knight revealed as William Shatner, and Monty Python’s Eric Idle ended up being The Hedgehog (check out our running list of Season 8 reveals here). Following his unmasking, Eric Idle spoke with CinemaBlend about choosing The Masked Singer to reveal his survival of pancreatic cancer, and recalled his past performances for the late Queen Elizabeth and new King Charles. 

Eric Idle is no stranger to singing on a big stage, but there was something different about appearing on The Masked Singer. This performance happened after Idle successfully battled pancreatic cancer, which he publicly revealed for the first time following his elimination in the Season 8 series premiere. Idle, who was first diagnosed in 2019 and underwent surgery to treat it, spoke about why he decided to go public with the information after appearing on The Masked Singer:

Well, you know you’re going to be interviewed and you pitch your thing, ‘I’m selling a book,' or whatever you’re in and I thought well this is really a perfect opportunity for me to unmask myself as a survivor of pancreatic cancer and spread some good news to people because they’re interested. It’s encouraging to know some people actually survive this thing now and we’re doing very well. So I thought I will do that and I’ll start a Bright Side fund to try and raise money so we can put it into research and early testing. So I partnered with Stand Up To Cancer, and that’s what I’m doing. It’s an opportunity to do a bit of good, to encourage people, to spread the good news, and to raise some money for research.

Now that he’s cancer-free, Eric Idle is doing his part to help raise money for cancer research and advocate for early testing. He had a great platform to do so with The Masked Singer’s Season 8 premiere, though it was a shame we had to see him leave the show so soon.

With that said, perhaps it’s for the best that his exit was quick considering panelists Robin Thicke and Jenny McCarthy were already suspicious of him from the first performance. That may be due to the glaring clues in his video package, though both are just suspiciously good at guessing as well. 

Beyond the snake at the very beginning, Eric Idle also once famously performed for the late Queen Elizabeth II. Idle shared the story of when he met and performed for the queen, and her reaction to his antics:

It was for a thing called the Royal Variety Show, which is a charity they would go to every year and I’ve watched it since I was a kid. I went on as a little Japanese maid in a full set for Madame Butterfly. And so, they thought it was going to be a cultural moment. So you could feel the whole audience going [slouches like sleeping] and there’s singing and she’s about to stab herself, but this little Japanese maid was me and I struck up and said, ‘Wait! Some things in life are bad,’ and the whole audience just exploded. The queen laughed and it was lovely. When I met her she was still smiling and laughing. She was happy with the joke. It was a great experience.

As seems to be the trend when creatives talk about Queen Elizabeth II as of late, Eric Idle had nothing but kind things to say about his encounter. It seems like the late Queen was a fan of the Monty Python brand of comedy, or at the very least, Idle’s inspired performance. Her reaction stuck with Idle, which appears to be a common trend given Simon Pegg’s recollection of the Queen watching him in Mission: Impossible 7.

I asked Eric Idle if he was knew if any of the Royal Family were fans of Monty Python and their works. While he couldn’t explicitly say with certainty, Idle did make mention that he once performed at King Charles III’s birthday, and would have dinner with him as well:

Prince Charles, the king as he is now, always loved comedians all his life. I think it was one of the saving graces. He would come to dinner at Billy Connolly’s and we’d make him laugh and roast him, really [laughs]. I mean they’re people underneath all that being. There’s some very heavy pressure to be involved in that. And you’ve gotta feel sympathy for them. But comedians tend to use it as a place to laugh, so we did.

Eric Idle’s journey on The Masked Singer is over, but Season 8 still has a long way to go with many unmaskings to come. Featuring Eric Idle in the premiere certainly set the bar high for talent this season, so we’ll have to see what other celebrities may pop up in the coming weeks. There should be quite a few given the recent format change, which features at least two unmaskings per episode. I'm sure there's much to be excited about around the corner, but it'll be hard to measure up to Idle, especially given the great cause he's working for. 

  • We need ways to find pancreatic cancer early and ground-breaking treatments that will help make long-term survival possible. Stand Up To Cancer is transforming pancreatic cancer into a treatable disease. Give now to support Stand Up To Cancer’s research at StandUpToCancer.org/EricIdle

The Masked Singer airs on Fox on Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Be sure to keep up with it week to week for even more surprise unmaskings, and take a look at the 2022 TV schedule to see what other shows are planned to premiere in the coming weeks. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.