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Monty Python legend John Cleese has defended JK Rowling amid transphobic tweets, made the new Wake Rules laugh and is now calling on film studios to produce uncreative comedies.

During the FreedomFest conference in Las Vegas (via New York Post), Cleese told Fox News Digital that comedians don’t have the freedom to be funny in 2022.

“There’s always been limitations on what they could say,” Cleese said. “I find it particularly worrying right now because you can only create in an atmosphere of freedom, where you don’t critically examine everything you say before moving on. You have to be able to build without knowing where you want to go because you’ve never been there. That’s creativity – you have to be allowed to build. And a lot of comedians are sitting there now and when they think of something they’re like, ‘Can I get away with this? I do not think so. So-and-so got in trouble and he said that, oh she said that.’ you see what i mean? And that is the death of creativity.”

He summarized: “You can make the creation and then criticize it, but you can’t make it at the same time. So if you’re worried about offending people and keep thinking about it, you won’t be very creative. So I think it has a catastrophic effect.”

Cleese called it a “difficult time” for comedy, especially for young comedians, adding, “My audience is a lot older and they just don’t care about the most woke attitudes. I mean, they just think that you should try to be kind to people and that doesn’t have to complicate it, you know?”

For Cleese, everything revolves around the audience anyway: “If you go to a Republican convention and tell anti-democratic jokes, you will get very good reactions. If you tell anti-Republican jokes, you won’t do it. So you have to adapt your material to your audience to a certain extent. And that’s part of it… When you go to your grandma’s and have tea with her, you don’t start telling her sex jokes. It’s not because it’s illegal, it’s because of bad manners.”

He continued, “I think you would think what the audience is and then you could shock them a little bit because that’s fun. And besides, as I have to point out on stage, when you go into areas that are a bit taboo, you actually get the biggest laughs, which is why sexual humor is often greeted with big laughs when it’s not particularly funny. It has to do with fear and the release of fear when people relax or laugh with excess energy that comes from the fact that they have just laughed at something they were previously worried about.”

Aside from stand-up routines and stage comedy, Cleese added that he feels a “huge sadness” when he considers the state of comedy films, saying that there are “very, very few really good comedy scripts” these days .

“Now I feel like very few people understand how comedy is planned, so comedy in America is really aimed at young men because they’re the ones who go to the movies on Friday nights, which means the box office looks good,” Cleese explained. “And it’s ultimately all about the money, because now we have studios that are more interested in money than making great films, and they used to want to make great films too.”

The last great comedies in his book?

Steve Martin’s 1987 film Roxanne, a reimagining of Shakespeare’s Cyrano and 1988’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, remade with a gender twist in 2019’s The Hustle, starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson .

Director Todd Phillips previously told Vanity Fair that his move to DC drama Joker was due to the shift in comedy films.

“Try to be funny with this waking culture these days,” Phillips said in 2019. “Articles have been written about why comedy doesn’t work anymore — I’ll tell you why, because all the fucking funny guys are like, ‘Fuck that shit, ’cause I don’t mean to offend you.’”

The Hangover director shared: “It’s hard arguing with 30 million people on Twitter. You just can’t, can you? So you just say, ‘I’m out.’ I’m out and you know what? With all my comedy – I think what comedy in general all have in common – is that it’s irreverent. So I’m like, ‘How do I do something irreverent but fuck comedy? Oh, I know, let’s take the comic book universe and turn it on its head.” And that’s really where it came from.”

Cleese’s fellow British comedian Rowan Atkinson also agreed that “comedy’s job is to offend”.

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John Cleese: Canceling culture is a ‘tragedy’, modern comedy is for men – World Time Todays

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