‘The job of comedy is to offend!’ Rowan Atkinson says comedians should be allowed to make jokes about ‘absolutely ANYTHING’ as he rails against cancel culture
Rowan Atkinson has hit back at ‘cancel culture’ and has insisted that comedians should be allowed to make jokes about ‘absolutely anything’ in a free society
The Mr Bean star, 67, said the purpose of comedy was to ‘have the potential to offend’ and argued that humour is made to make someone look ‘ridiculous’
It is not the first time that Rowan has spoken out against cancel culture as he has previously campaigned against laws which could limit free speech
Rowan Atkinson has hit back at ‘cancel culture’ and has insisted that comedians should be allowed to make jokes about ‘absolutely anything’ in a free society.
The Mr Bean star, 67, said the purpose of comedy was to ‘have the potential to offend’ and argued that humour is made to make someone look ‘ridiculous’.
Rowan said he thinks people should be careful about putting restrictions about what comedians are allowed to make jokes about as he railed against cancel culture.
He told the Irish Times: ‘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, every joke has a victim.’
Rowan, who has been working in comedy for more than four decades, also addressed the suggestion that jokes should ‘punch up’ at those in power and not be directed down.
He added: ‘There are lots of extremely smug and self-satisfied people in what would be deemed lower down in society, who also deserve to be pulled up. In a proper free society, you should be allowed to make jokes about absolutely anything.’
Speaking about the role of social media, Rowan said that the platform takes jokes out of their original content in a bid to stir up anger and said we are still learning how to use technology.
It is not the first time that Rowan has spoken out against cancel culture as he has previously campaigned against laws which could limit free speech and offensive language.
And in January 2021, he said social media fills him with ‘fear about the future’ and that it has widened divisions in society and lowered tolerance.
He told the Radio Times: ‘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 ‘cancelled’.
‘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.’
He added: ‘It’s very pleasing that people want to connect with Mr Bean, but I have no desire to have any presence on social media. What happens there is a sideshow in my world.’
His latest comments come as he is busy promoting his latest comedy Man Vs Bee, which is set to air on Netflix on Friday.
In the ten-part series made up of snappy ten-minute episodes, Rowan stars as Trevor, a man recruited by an agency to house-sit for wealthy strangers Christian and Nina.
But the presence of a bee in the luxury house drives him increasingly mad, and after a succession of calamitous attempts at silencing it end in absolute carnage, the bee buzzes off to Christian’s beloved Jag.
‘What starts out as a minor inconvenience for Trevor becomes an obsession prompting large-scale destruction,’ Rowan told the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine.
‘The bee is the catalyst for Trevor vandalising the house, and the car, in a variety of ways.’
Trevor is Rowan’s first new sitcom TV character since pompous Inspector Raymond Fowler in BBC comedy The Thin Blue Line almost 30 years ago, although it’s the creation that preceded him who invites most comparison.
Hapless buffoon Mr Bean often found himself in the kind of farcical situations Trevor faces, and Rowan acknowledged that there’s a similarity between the two.
‘If I’m going to be playing a character without words – and Trevor doesn’t say a great deal – you’re going to see something redolent of Mr Bean,’ he said.
‘There’s going to be something that reminds you of him and there are aspects of the story that are reminiscent of the kind of difficulty Mr Bean would get into.
‘But Trevor’s a more rounded character than Mr Bean, who was a two-dimensional, self-serving anarchist. Trevor’s more likeable, so hopefully people will be rooting for him when he gets himself into more and more trouble.’
The Blackadder star also admitted that he doesn’t actually enjoy filming TV shows but likes rehearsing and seeing the end product.
‘If you look at a TV project as a sandwich, then I enjoy the bread but not the meat in the middle,’ he admitted.
‘I enjoy the rehearsal period, I like working on the script and I enjoy post-production. I relish the chance to get involved with the sound mixing and the editing.
‘The filming part is horrible as far as I’m concerned, but it’s something you have to do to tell the story. The irony is that’s the part I’m supposed to be good at.
‘But I’m playing a singular character, so the pressure is on me to make the show work. With that comes considerable stress, which is not nice.
‘Whatever I do, I always think I can do it better. I’ve felt that with every part I’ve played, apart from Blackadder, because there was a shared responsibility on that so I felt I was carrying the burden with others.
Source & Credit: thecareerbd.com