Neil Innes says he’s “just trying to look on the bright side” of life. Heck, he even wrote about that for a song in the Monty Python film “Life of Brian.”
But the musical humorist — a cofounder of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, the acknowledged “seventh Python” (and the subject of a documentary with that title) and co-creator of the The Beatles parody group The Rutles — does know the difference between gratuitous humor and doing something for impact.
“It’s kind of instinctive,” explains Innes, 64. “You take big subjects. You don’t lighten them. You don’t trivialize them. But you can be smart and somewhat witty and say things that people can smile at and think about.
“I don’t pretend to be the halftime show at the Super Bowl, you know? I enjoy the fact people do come and see me and share the way I look at things and try to present it in a way they can enjoy.”
As of January, Innes will regain publishing rights to all of his compositions. Until then, he says he’s “laying low,” although he is working on a book — a combination memoir and philosophical tome. Innes says he needs to “discipline myself ” in order to make progress on it.
“It’s based on life experiences, absolutely,” he says. “One of the difficulties is I have to write in the first person for some of it and the third person in other parts. You get these different areas, if you like, different zones of consciousness.
“I thought it would be fun to dip in and out of them. If you think about what the voice in your head does when you read a book, you do the characters when you’re reading. I want this book to have that effect, too.”
Neil Innes performs at 8 p.m. Sunday (June 7) at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.