“If you start to say, ‘We mustn’t; we mustn’t criticise or offend them,’ then humour is gone."
Monty Python star John Cleese has joined the ranks of other comedians who have spoken out against the negative effect they think political correctness is having on comedy, particularly when it comes to performing on college campuses.
“All humour is critical,” the Fawlty Towers star told the YouTube channel Big Think. “If you start to say, ‘We mustn’t; we mustn’t criticise or offend them,’ then humour is gone. With humour goes a sense of proportion. And then, as far as I’m concerned, you’re living in 1984.”
Cleese’s comments on the threat of liberalism to stand-up comedy on college campuses fall in line with an infamous interview given by US comic Jerry Seinfeld in June 2015. The Seinfeld and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee-star said he would not longer be willing to work the campus circuit because of universities’ obsession with political correctness.
“I don’t play colleges, but I hear a lot of people tell me, ‘Don’t go near colleges. They’re too PC,’” the star told ESPN Radio. Seinfeld had recently signed a deal with the online media giant Hulu to stream his iconic 90s sitcom, with the contract believed to be worth $180m, leading to considerable online pushback to his comments on why he no longer plays to small college campus audiences.
You can watch the full video of John Cleese speaking about the Orwellian nightmare of political correctness below: