Cancel culture takes the fun out of life, says comedian John Cleese

John Cleese does not have much time for political correctness or cancel culture, and as for the state of the world? It's completely hopeless, the former "Monty Python" star says.

Instead Cleese, 80, is promising "a short selection of Peruvian burial ditties," when he presents a comedic live-stream plus Q&A session from London next month.

"Why There is No Hope" is described as part lecture and part comedy standup livestream. Cleese describes it as an experiment in front of the small audience required by social distancing in the coronavirus era.

The British actor is perhaps best known as rude hotel owner Basil Fawlty in the 1970s British TV series "Fawlty Towers," and the man from the Ministry of Silly Walks in the absurdist sketch series "Monty Python's Flying Circus."

Cleese last month called the BBC "cowardly and gutless" for temporarily taking down an episode of "Fawlty Towers" that made fun of Germans and World War Two and also featured a character using a racial slur.

Cancel culture "misunderstands the main purposes of life which is to have fun," Cleese told Reuters, referring to the trend in which people are ostracized because of behavior or remarks seen as objectionable.

"Everything humorous is critical. If you have someone who is perfectly kind and intelligent and flexible and who always behaves appropriately, they're not funny. Funniness is about people who don't do that, like Trump," he said, referring to the U.S. president.

The problem with political correctness, he added, is that comedians "have to set the bar according to what we are told by the most touchy, most emotionally unstable and fragile and least stoic people in the country."

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Prince Harry talks to John Cleese backstage at the Wimbledon Theatre, London, after a charity performance in aid of the Prince's Trust charity, one of a number of events to celebrate the Prince's 60th birthday on November 14.
Monty Python stars (L-R) Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, John Cleese and Michael Palin at a photocall in London's Leicester Square, where they reunited to celebrate their 30th anniversary by attending a charity screening of their film Life Of Brian. * ...to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Relief as a tribute to their late partner Graham Chapman who died a decade ago. Eric Idle was notable by his absence following an apparent fall-out.
Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown is joined by comedian John Cleese for a live election call, in London. Mr Ashdown and Mr Cleese spoke to poeple from around the country who sent in their ideas on a postcard to party following questions from Mr Cleese's in a Liberal Democrat broadcast from February. 20/1/99: Mr Ashdown is to stand down as leader of the Liberal Democrats after the European elections in June and as MP for Yeovil at the next general election.
Monty Python stars (L-R) Michael Palin, Terry Jones, John Cleese and Terry Gilliam at a photocall in London's Leicester Square, where they reunited to celebrate their 30th anniversary by attending a charity screening of their film Life Of Brian. * ...to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Relief as a tribute to their late partner Graham Chapman who died a decade ago. Eric Idle was notable by his absence following an apparent fall-out.
Madonna shares a joke with John Cleese as they wait in line to meet Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh at the premiere of "Die Another Day", at the Royal Albert Hall.
Comedian John Cleese with Irish actor Pierce Brosnan after presenting him with the Outstanding Irish Contribution to Cinema, arriving at the Irish Film & Television Awards, at the Burlington Hotel, Dublin.
Monty Python star John Cleese feeds grapes to Colin the red ruffed lemur, during a visit to Bristol Zoo Gardens.
Prunella Scales, John Cleese, Connie Booth and Andrew Sachs are seen promoting two Fawlty Towers specials created to commemorate the 30 years Fawlty Towers Anniversary.
(Left-right) Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Carol Cleveland, Terry Gilliam and John Cleese announce their new plans for Monty Python at the Corinthia Hotel in London.
John Cleese, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Graham Norton, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam during the filming of the New Year's Eve Graham Norton Show, at The London Studios, south London, to be aired on BBC One on Tuesday evening.
Michael Palin, Eric Idle and John Cleese are seen on the first day of rehearsals in London, for their new show Monty Python Live (mostly) which is on at the O2 Arena in London on July 1-5, 15, 16, 18-20.
John Cleese, Taylor Swift and Kevin Pietersen appearing on the Graham Norton show, filmed at the London Studios, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening.
John Cleese arriving at Wogan House in London to guest on Zoe Ball's first morning hosting the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show.
Actor and comedian John Cleese speaks to members of the press on College Green outside the Houses of Parliament after he joined the group 'Hacked Off'.
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As for the Aug. 2 livestream to be held at London's Cadogan Hall, Cleese says he expects to perform for about 50 people seated at social distance.

Cleese says he is not bothered at playing in front of such a small crowd. "I played to an audience once in New Zealand where I did not get a laugh," he said.

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