Actor and comedian John Cleese’s upcoming show Cancel Me will confront “cancel culture” and explore “why a new ‘woke’ generation is trying to rewrite the rules on what can and can’t be said.”
John Cleese: Cancel Me is set to air later this year on the United Kingdom’s Channel 4, where the comedian will be interviewing “cancelled” subjects, as well as the activists who have led opposition to various public figures, according to a report by the Guardian. “I’m delighted to have a chance to find out, on camera, about all the aspects of so-called political correctness,” Cleese said in a statement.
“There’s so much I really don’t understand, like: how the impeccable idea of ‘Let’s all be kind to people’ has been developed in some cases ad absurdum,” the baffled comedian added of the bizarre new “cancel” trend that has been plaguing the West in recent years.
“I want to bring the various reasonings right out in the open so that people can be clearer in their minds what they agree with, what they don’t agree with, and what they still can’t make their mind up about,” Cleese said.
This has not been Cleese’s first time commenting on this new censorship phenomenon.
Last year, the comedian slammed cancel culture, saying that it puts “emotionally unstable and fragile” people in positions of power. “Everything humorous is critical,” the Monty Python star said at the time. “If you have someone who is perfectly kind and intelligent and flexible and who always behaves appropriately, they’re not funny.”
Last month, Cleese mocked fellow actor Hank Azaria over his apology for voicing the role of Apu on Fox’s The Simpsons. In a sarcastic gesture, Cleese tweeted a pretend apology for making fun of “white English people” in numerous Monty Python sketches.
Not wishing to be left behind by Hank Azaria, I would like to apologise on behalf on Monty Python for all the many sketches we did making fun of white English people
We're sorry for any distress we may have caused
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) April 13, 2021
Other comedians have also called out cancel culture.
In a recent interview with Variety, actor and comedian David Spade warned that wokeness is killing comedy. “One wrong move and you’re canceled,” Spade said of being a comedian in the age of cancel culture.
In May, comedian Dave Chappelle said, “cancel culture shit bothers me,” and called out the “fake woketivists” who try to censor their opposition. In June, comedian Jon Lovitz compared today’s era of cancel culture to McCarthyism.
The world of alterative rock music has also chimed in.
Glenn Danzig, who founded the rock band, Misfits, said this year that his band and “the punk explosion” could never happen today, because of “cancel culture and woke bullshit.” The rocker added, “you won’t have any of those kinds of bands ever again,” because “everyone’s so uptight and P.C.”
Earlier this year, Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon — also known as Johnny Rotten — called “wokeness” a divisive political weapon being wielded by privileged, “tempestuous, spoilt children,” whom the media offer a platform to push their unpopular politically correct opinions.
Psychology professor and author Dr. Jordan Peterson has also weighed in on the subject, stating that “a mark of a free society” is when comedians are able to “push the edge of what’s acceptable.”
“If you’re a brilliant comedian, you get right to the edge, and you dance there,” Peterson said.
“If you can’t be funny, then you’re not free,” the professor added. “The jester in the king’s court is the only person who gets to tell the truth. And if the king is such a tyrant that he kills his jester, then you know that the evil king is in charge.”