An icon of British humor wants you to know you can try to cancel him any time you like. On Twitter, the place where quite a bit of canceling begins, the now 81-year-old actor is trending because of some recently aired thoughts on political correctness in a lead-up to his upcoming series John Cleese: Cancel Me.
As Radio Times points out, John Cleese has been an outspoken enemy of political correctness and so-called cancel culture for a while, often using his social media presence to rail against it. In his new series, he promises to examine a more woke generation, including talking to other celebrities — including some who have been canceled — to discuss whether or not it’s possible to create comedy that doesn’t offend.
With the news of John Cleese’s new series, the Monty Python alum is trending on Twitter. Of the posts from users who seem less than thrilled about the upcoming show, some question Cleese’s objectivity in some fairly hilarious ways.
One of John Cleese’s biggest beefs with cancel culture is that, as he said on BBC Radio 4 (via The Express) that it stifles creativity. However, some on Twitter wonder if maybe what the veteran comedian sees as stifling creativity is, in fact, creativity.
But Twitter never goes just one way. There are plenty of users jumping to John Cleese’s defense.
Still, if we’re being honest it seems that the overwhelming majority of responses are from people who are either definitely not planning to tune into John Cleese: Cancel Me, or definitely will be tuning in just to hate-watch it. And if we’re going to be even more honest, their tweets are definitely the most entertaining.
Quite a few users seem to think the very fact that John Cleese: Cancel Me exists is proof that everything Cleese has to say on the subject is wrong.
It’s clear that quite a few of the people disappointed in John Cleese are old fans of his work on series like Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Fawlty Towers, whose takes on cancel culture have sincerely downgraded the actor in their esteem.
The subject of cancel culture and political correctness apparently hit a little too close to home for John Cleese last year. UKTV removed a line from an episode of Fawlty Towers in which Major Gowen (Ballard Berkeley) uses the N-word. Speaking to 60 Minutes Australia, Cleese called the removal a “stupid decision” and said that UKTV had “completely missed the point.”
John Cleese first rose to fame as part of the deeply influential Monty Python’s Flying Circus along with Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and Graham Chapman. Along with the absurdist comedy show which included skits in which lumberjacks broke into song about cross-dressing and bureaucrats joined the Ministry of Silly Walks, Cleese, and his colleagues made films such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python: The Meaning of Life, and the controversial Monty Python’s The Life of Brian in which Chapman plays a man who is mistaken for the Christian savior.