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The inimitable alum of ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus,’ legendary actor and comedy giant John Cleese has taken aim at what he calls the “wokes.” When he spoke of the present entertainment world he referred to many in modern audiences merely awaiting the “thrill of being offended.”

Cleese opened up for an interview with Reason for the magazine’s January 2023 issue and delved into the depths of his over seventy years of biting satire, and side-splitting absurdity. The 83-year-old who started as a Cambridge Law student has in the evening of his years, drawn a bullseye on political correctness and ‘wokeness‘ determined to fell the beast that he told Reason is the enemy not only of humor but of creative thinking in all areas of human endeavor.

“There are people sitting there who are deliberately waiting for the thrill of being offended,” Cleese told interviewers, emphasizing the critical importance of context, without which irony and sarcasm are lost.

During his interview with Nick Gillespie from Reason, Gillespie asked how “wokeism” stifles creativity and Cleese was direct.

“Because it’s the internal interruption that I was talking about. You think of an idea and you immediately think: ‘Oooh, is that going to get me into trouble? Well, that person last Thursday got away with it.’ But all that stuff immediately stops you being creative.”

When asked what out of his back catalog would be considered off-limits today, Cleese responded: “Well, it changes unpredictably. I mean, in my day there was an enormous explosion in England, I think it was 196[5], when Kenneth Tynan, who was our best theater critic, deliberately used the word f**k. And, I mean, it was nuclear.”

“Now I can say f**k, and one or two people might twitch. Most people aren’t bothered by it at all, but that was the forbidden word.”

When Gillespie noted other words he interjected, “Well, there’s the N-word. Now, just consider this situation: If I actually pronounce the N-word today, which I’m not going to—relax! But if I did, it would be in the papers tomorrow. Now, how useful is that? The woke people, I think, miss something quite badly. The meaning of a word depends on its context. If I use sarcasm, then what I’m meaning is the opposite of the words I’m actually saying. If you don’t get irony, then if you take it seriously, you completely misunderstand the intention of the writer or speaker.”

Cleese took issue with The Hollywood Reporter specifically for coverage of his experience at the South By Southwest Festival. He explained, “My daughter was talking about this when we did a show at the [South by] Southwest festival. I don’t know when I’ve had so much fun on stage. We had a fellow who was Puerto Rican, we had someone who was African American, we had someone who was Jewish, we had a Scot, and an old white Englishman.”

Cleese added, “We were teasing each other and saying the most terrible things, and there was an atmosphere, not—I mean this seriously—not just of laughter, but of joy at the freedom of it. And then The Hollywood Reporter went back and quoted a couple of lines without giving any context at all, and then there was about two weeks of criticism. I mean, why? What are they getting out of it? There are people sitting there who are deliberately waiting for the thrill of being offended.”

Cleese is not a conservative or a libertarian by any stretch, he’s a member of the UK’s Social Democratic Party and regularly blasts the Tories and Labour party alike. However, over the last fifteen years according to The Irish Times, Cleese has become “a Brexit-supporting opponent of (his words) ‘so-called political correctness'”.