In a recent interview, Monty Python star John Cleese has fearlessly taken aim at the growing trend of cancel culture, condemning the trend with his signature brand of humour.
The 83-year-old began his tirade against the notion of “cancelling” public figures when 2GB host Ben Fordham expressed concern that the Fawlty Towers star might have been cancelled himself.
“I was worried we might have cancelled you, I thought maybe cancel culture had got the better of you,” Fordham told Cleese.
Cleese responded that he doesn’t “get cancelled” because he does stage shows.
“People think to themselves, ‘I like him, so I’ll buy a ticket’,” he joked.
Cleese explained that those in his audience who choose to attend his shows would likely embrace his sense of humour rather than take offence.
“They don’t think, ‘I cannot stand that b—-d, let’s buy six tickets,” he said.
“The audience is pre-selected to like me, so when I come out they like me and they like the sort of humour I do.”
John Cleese rails against cancel culture
— 2GB Sydney (@2GB873) May 16, 2023
Cleese has always been outspoken regarding the subject of “cancelling” celebrities for their brand of humour.
Previously the comedian became the victim of cancel culture himself when an episode of Fawlty Towers, titled The Germans, famously known for its quote “don’t mention the war”, was banned from numerous TV stations for the character Major Gowen’s use of racial slurs.
In 2020, the former Monty Python star spoke out about the episode being pulled from television for offensive language.
“I would have hoped that someone at the BBC would understand that there are two ways of making fun of human behaviour,” Cleese said of the decision not to air the episode.
“One is to attack it directly. The other is to have someone who is patently a figure of fun, speak up on behalf of that behaviour.”
Cleese touched on the incident during his recent interview with Fordham, claiming that it was wrong to “stop” others from enjoying old episodes.
“If they don’t like that sort of thing, they don’t watch it. There’s a great deal of difference between not watching something and trying to stop everyone else from watching,” Cleese said.
“I think that people who do the cancelling don’t seem to have much of a sense of humour. And I don’t think people without a sense of humour should cancel stuff that people with a sense of humour enjoy.
“You don’t understand it, that’s fine. But don’t cancel it for people who do understand.”
His thoughts on cancel culture aside, Cleese recently announced that he would be reviving his comedy masterpiece Fawlty Towers for a third season in which he will also reprise his role as Basil Fawlty.
The show’s new series will be about Cleese’s character discovering he has a daughter, leading to the two of them opening a hotel together.