John Cleese takes aim at woke who ‘think they invented kindness’

"Much of my comedy is about teasing people with affection." (Mal Fairclough/AAP PHOTOS)

John Cleese has never been shy about sharing his feelings on political correctness and cancel culture — and recent comments suggest he has no intention of slowing down.

The 84-year-old Monty Python star recently reflected on his time working on GB News show The Dinosaur Hour, which ran for 10 episodes in 2023 and featured interviews with Stephen Fry, Caitlyn Jenner and others.

“I was allowed to say what I wanted and enjoyed that,” Cleese told The Oldie magazine.

“On one program, we had three academics and discussed this whole woke business.

“What annoys me is how some people think they have invented kindness, but kindness has always been there.

“Kindness is everywhere, and much of my comedy is about teasing people with affection.”

Read more: ‘He’s gone sour’: Miriam Margolyes labels Monty Python star John Cleese ‘poisonous’ in brutal sledge

Cleese still had affection for the UK, although it did not always shine through, but dismissed the idea that he was entirely the same as his grumpy Fawlty Towers creation Basil Fawlty.

“I am not Basil and never was – but I can feel for him when I am under a lot of stress,” he said.

“When Connie and I were writing the script, we used to think that Basil actually existed.

“He became such an important part of our lives.”

The character is being revived at the Apollo Theatre in London for the ongoing production of Fawlty Towers: The Play and Cleese has high hopes for the live show as the run keeps rolling.

“I think it will get better as it goes on because in comedy the audience becomes part of the show,” he said.

“There could be a pause while people are launching and then the actors might have to ad-lib.

“It’s those extra messages that can be devastatingly funny.

“I just hope it works, because it’s been a joy pulling it together.”

Cleese himself may eventually reprise his iconic role on screen: last year it was announced that he was developing a equel series with his daughter Camilla.

However, he has since advised that the project is still in its early days, telling Style that “we don’t have an idea yet – we have half an idea”.

“The trouble is one of the producers wanted to promote himself a little bit and sent out a press release without warning anyone, and suddenly everyone got excited over something that hardly exists.”

– With AAP

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