19/09/2020 11:03 AM AEST | Updated 20/09/2020 1:55 PM AEST

Monty Python Comedian Threatens To Sue 'Thieving Reprobates' In GOP For Stealing Song

The National Republican Congressional Committee replaced lyrics about a cross-dressing lumberjack with something lame about taxes — without permission.

Monty Python comedian Eric Idle blasted the National Republican Congressional Committee for swiping a song from the British troupe and threatened to sue the “lowlife thieving reprobates.”

Of all melodies, the NRCC helped itself to “The Lumberjack Song,” about a cross-dressing woodsman, for an attack ad in Iowa against Democratic incumbent Rep. Cindy Axne. She’s running comfortably against Republican challenger David Young, whom she unseated in the last election.

After blistering the NRCC for the song-stealing, Idle urged his followers to vote for Axne to “piss them off.” He also asked if “all Republicans are now lawless,” adding: “Whatever happened to America?”

The ad, paid for by the NRCC, uses the tune of “The Lumberjack Song” with new lyrics, like the ham-handed and not very Python-esque “She’s a liberal named Angry Axne. She wants to take our tax money.”

The original song is about a barber who sings of his dream of being a cross-dressing lumberjack, “leaping from tree to tree,” who likes to “put on women’s clothing” (including high heels and a bra) and “hang around in bars.” One member of Monty Python (sometimes Idle) portrays the would-be lumberjack while the rest, dressed like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, sing the chorus with a bit of confusion.

Written by Monty Python members Michael Palin and Terry Jones and singer Fred Tomlinson, the song was first presented on the British TV series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” in 1969 and soon became one of its most popular tunes.

The “Flying Circus” skit ended with an angry viewer (John Cleese) sounding very Republican as he complained in a letter about the lyrics. But then he pointed out: “Many of my best friends are lumberjacks, and only a few of them are transvestites.” (Check out the video up top.)

Taking a page from Monty Python, NRCC spokesman Bob Salera told HuffPost in a statement: “We didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition in response to our parody ad!  It’s too bad Monty Python doesn’t like it, but our target audience is the Iowa taxpayers Cindy Axne is selling out to Nancy Pelosi.” 

A growing number of musicians have ripped President Donald Trump, the Trump campaign, his supporters and other Republican candidates for helping themselves to songs for political purposes without permission from the artists, who often strongly oppose what the politicians stand for. Neil Young (who recently sued the Trump campaign), Adele, Rihanna, the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, R.E.M., Elton John, QueenTom Petty and Prince’s estate are among those who have complained. 

Earlier this week, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister exploded after a small group of people stormed a Florida Target store, playing “We’re Not Gonna Take It” as they called for customers to take off their face masks. Snider tweeted that the group did not have permission to use the Twisted Sister song to promote a “moronic cause” and called the protesters “selfish assholes.”

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