Don’t expect John Cleese to show up on a college campus anytime soon. Or, for that matter, the Deep South.
The Monty Python co-founder, known for his off-kilter and sometimes irreverent wit, shuns the politically correct climate of today’s university settings. He said he’s spoken with fellow funnymen Jerry Seinfeld and Dave Barry who have warned him away from the co-eds.
“You have to be very careful with your words these days,” Cleese told an audience at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall Sept. 29.
For example, Cleese worried that he wouldn’t be able to show “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” – which satirizes Jesus’ story – in the American South.
With civil wars brewing, madmen running nuclear-armed countries and Putin threatening Western lifestyle, people seem to be missing the big picture, Cleese said. “And people are worried that someone said the wrong word?”
Thanks to a great audience in Pittsburg(h) last night, who agree the US should have paid royalties for using our language without permission
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) September 30, 2017
All humor, he said, is basically inappropriate. The trick is not to be cruel or make fun of tragedy.
“Laughter is a kind of extreme reaction suggesting that certain behavior that can be improved upon,” Cleese said.
For example, the British comedian poked fun at everyone’s favorite target – the French. “Why do the French have so many civil wars? So they can win one every one in a while.”
Cleese has been hammering away at political correct forces for some time. Last month he told Vulture his rationale for savaging the PC mindset:
“…the thing about political correctness is that it starts as a good idea and then gets taken ad absurdum. And one of the reasons it gets taken ad absurdum is that a lot of the politically correct people have no sense of humor.”
Three years earlier he struck on similar arguments via “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
Other tidbits from Cleese’s Pittsburgh appearance:
- On Trump: “I love him. He’s just terrific. Everyone knows how ignorant he is. He’s never read a book. You know that.”
- On his clueless character Basil Fawlty meeting Trump: “I could imagine Basil saying, `Who the hell do you think you are?”
- On his religious journey. He grew up Church of England but became an atheist. He embraced agnosticism next. Now, in his 70s, he’s not so sure. He’s pretty convinced there’s something after life, though he’s not sure what it is.