In his new show “Cancel Me,” British comedian and actor John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, will explore the topic of cancel culture by meeting with “various subjects who claim to have been ‘canceled’ for their actions or statements and activists who have led opposition to various public figures.” According to The Guardian, the series seeks to understand “why a new ‘woke’ generation is trying to rewrite the rules on what can and can’t be said.”
Cleese explains his motivations for doing the show: “There’s so much I really don’t understand, like how the impeccable idea of ‘Let’s all be kind of people’ has been developed in some cases ad absurdum. I want to bring to light the various reasonings right out in the open so that people can be clearer in their minds what they agree with, what they don’t agree with, and what they still can’t make up their minds about.”
“Cancel Me” comes at a time when leftists are attempting to cancel comedians left and right for putting out material they deem offensive, such as jokes that come at the expense of women, homosexuals, or people of color. Comedians aren’t the only ones getting canceled either. Even journalists such as Axios’s Alexi McCammond and Donald McNeil, formerly of the New York Times, have lost jobs due to past jokes and claims that they’ve offended minorities.
A public and high-powered backlash against cancel culture seems to be brewing, and Cleese is not the only one driving it. Comedian and blockbuster actor Kevin Hart had his Oscars hosting gig stripped a few years ago due to past jokes that were deemed homophobic. While he apologized at the time, now he’s speaking out against cancel culture entirely: “When did we get to a point where life was supposed to be perfect? Where people were supposed to operate perfectly all the time? … You’re thinking that things you say will come back and bite you on the ass. I can’t be the comic today that I was when I got into this.”
Joe Rogan is another frequent target of the cancellation mob, but their attempts have been unsuccessful. Rogan is still a mainstay in popular culture and recently made an estimated $100 million deal with Spotify to host his podcast. Just last month, The New York Times published an editorial titled: “Joe Rogan Is Too Big to Cancel.” Rogan decries cancel culture because “You can never be woke enough – that’s the problem… it’ll eventually get to ‘straight white men are not allowed to talk.’”
With his new show, John Cleese hopes to save creativity and remind people that context is a crucial factor when determining whether something is offensive or not. When context is removed from the equation, it’s impossible to have a rational conversation about any subject because someone can claim a word means something it doesn’t and vice versa. Cleese strongly cautions against organizing “a society around the sensibilities of the most easily upset because then you have a very neurotic society.”