John Cleese, known for his many memorable roles in the iconic Monty Python series, recently took to social media to unapologetically mock cancel culture, declaring that he was cancelling himself before someone else got the chance.
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“I was looking forward to talking to students at the Cambridge Union this Friday, but I hear that someone there has been blacklisted for doing an impersonation of Hitler,” wrote the Clifford the Big Red Dog star. “I regret that I did the same on a Monty Python show, so I am blacklisting myself before someone else does.”
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In a follow-up tweet, the English comedy legend apologised to the fans who may have been eager to talk with him whilst simultaneously calling out the “woke rules” seemingly implemented by Cambridge Union.
“I apologise to anyone at Cambridge who was hoping to talk with me,” Cleese declared, adding, “but perhaps some of you can find a venue where woke rules do not apply.”
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Cleese’s initial tweet refers to the recent news regarding the decision by Cambridge Union president Keir Bradwell to ban art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon from speaking at a Cambridge University debating society over his past impersonation of Hitler.
“In my speech I caricatured him (Hitler), briefly, paraphrasing HIS crass and insensitive statements about art and race,” said Graham-Dixon in a statement. “I apologise sincerely to anyone who found my debating tactics and use of Hitler’s own language distressing; on reflection I can see that some of the words I used, even in quotation, are inherently offensive.”
Cambridge Union president Keir Bradwell declared, “We will create a blacklist of speakers never to be invited back, and we will share it with other unions too. Andrew will be on that list,
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His tweet also alludes to a sketch from the 12th episode of Month Python’s first series, “The Naked Ant,” wherein the legendary comedian also mocked the historical leader of the Nazi Party.
In the hilarious sketch, Hitler is given directions by a landlady, who confuses him for a Mr. Hilter, and cheekily tells him that he “wouldn’t have had much fun in Stalingrad, would you?” alluding to the German High Command’s defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad in 1943.
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To that end, earlier this year – in August to be more precise – Cleese announced that he was working on a documentary that is set to explore the effects cancel culture has had on comedy.
“I’m delighted to have a chance to find out, on camera, about all the aspects of so-called political correctness,” stated Cleese when announcing his new documentary for Channel 4. “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.”
Further elaborating, Cleese said that he wants “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.”
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Similarly, in 2020, the BBC took down an episode of English comedy series Fawlty Towers where John Cleese’s character, Basil, mockingly impersonated Adolf Hitler after deeming it too offensive for modern-day audiences.
Regarding the British broadcaster’s decision, Cleese told Australian newspaper The Age, “If you put nonsense words into the mouth of someone you want to make fun of, you’re not broadcasting their views, you’re making fun of them.”
It is also worth noting that though Cleese is very much a left-leaning comedian, he is one of the few who dare to speak against the woke practice that is cancel culture, specifically because he knows that it has a negative impact on comedy.
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For example, in a fairly recent tweet published following the staggering amount of Republican victories seen during last week’s elections in Virginia, Cleese blamed the Democrats’ loss on “wokism.”
“Now we know that Republicans can do better electorally without Trump, perhaps the Democrats should examine the possibility that they might do better electorally without wokism,” asserted Cleese.
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In another tweet, taking jabs at the language woke social justice warriors use to label those who disagree with them, Cleese declared, “One key thing I’m trying to understand is.. does ‘phobic’ mean ‘hating'”
“I hear that if I don’t agree with all the Woke attitudes to people who used to be called ‘women’, I am being ‘transphobic’.” Is disagreeing ‘hating’?” asked Cleese. “So, if they disagree with me, are they Cleese-phobic?”
What do you make of Cleese’s latest criticism of cancel culture? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below or on social media.