Comedy icon Rowan Atkinson, who will perpetually be immortalized as Mr. Bean, slammed political correctness and its stranglehold on comedy.
Chatting with The Irish Occasions, Atkinson mentioned that comedy shouldn’t be drained of its potential to offend, arguing that offense is typically its major job.
“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 mentioned. “In a proper free society, you should be allowed to make jokes about absolutely anything.”
Atkinson additional described tragedy and comedy as “extremely close bedfellows, and you can’t really have one without the other.”
“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,” he mentioned. “I suppose you have to accept that’s the way it is.”
In 2021, Atkinson got here down onerous on cancel tradition, 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,” Atkinson instructed the U.Ok. Radio Occasions. “It becomes a case of either you’re with us or against us. And if you’re against us, you deserve to be ‘canceled.’”
“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,” Atkinson added. “So it is scary for anyone who’s a victim of that mob and it fills me with fear about the future.”
Rowan Atkinson additionally defended British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2018 after he made a joke about girls carrying burqas.
“As a lifelong beneficiary of the freedom to make jokes about religion, I do think that Boris Johnson’s joke about wearers of the burka resembling letterboxes is a pretty good one,” the comic mentioned on the time.
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