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Comedy icon Rowan Atkinson, who will forever be immortalized as Mr. Bean, slammed political correctness and its stranglehold on comedy.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Atkinson said that comedy should not be drained of its potential to offend, arguing that offense is sometimes its primary job.
The article goes on to state the following:
“It does seem to me that the job of comedy is to offend, or have the potential to offend, and it cannot be drained of that potential,” the Johnny English actor said. “In a proper free society, you should be allowed to make jokes about absolutely anything.”
He expressed that tragedy and comedy is like “extremely close bedfellows, and you can’t really have one without the other.”
Atkinson said, “Every joke has a victim, whether fictional or non-fictional or notional, ideological or human and, therefore, there’s always someone suffering if there’s a joke. I suppose you have to accept that’s the way it is.”
He spoke with U.K. Radio Times in 2021 and again talked about cancel culture, likening it to the “digital equivalent of the medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn.”
“The problem we have online is that an algorithm decides what we want to see, which ends up creating a simplistic, binary view of society. It becomes a case of either you’re with us or against us. And if you’re against us, you deserve to be ‘canceled.’” Atkinson said.
He added, “It’s important that we’re exposed to a wide spectrum of opinion, but what we have now is the digital equivalent of the medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn. So it is scary for anyone who’s a victim of that mob and it fills me with fear about the future.”
Comedy legend Rowan Atkinson has defended comics and railed against cancel culture, saying “the job of comedy is to offend”.
— GB News (@GBNEWS) June 20, 2022
“It does seem to me that the job of comedy is to offend, or have the potential to offend, and it cannot be drained of that potential.”
Comedy is meant to offend, says Rowan Atkinson https://t.co/5nAXfJaqIU
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) June 20, 2022
“Every joke has a victim. That’s the definition of a joke. Someone or something or an idea is made to look ridiculous.” For Rowan Atkinson, it’s comedy’s “job” to offend, but he thinks cancel culture is getting in the way: https://t.co/gquue712ql pic.twitter.com/tCa8rNgeLU
— IndieWire (@IndieWire) June 21, 2022
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