No Laughing Matter: John Cleese Holds Line Against Calls to Cancel Scene in Life of Brian

We have previously discussed how comedians have been objecting that woke activists are killing comedy. The complaint is that a group of perpetually pissed off, humorless people are remaking the world in their own image. It began with college campuses which comedians are now saying are dead as venues since you cannot safely make any joke that insults any group other than white straight males or Christians or conservatives. Others have objected to hate speech laws limiting comedians, particularly after some comedians have been prosecuted for “malicious communications” or insulting groups or religious figures. Six out of ten students view offensive jokes as hate speech. This week, however, activists appear to have met their match in a legend of comedy who has opposed the cutting of  a scene from the movie The Life of Brian. No, activists are not upset with the endless jokes about Italians, Christians, and Jews. It is the scene involving a man who wants to become a women and have a child. John Cleese is refusing to yield.

In The Life of Brian, the scene involves “Stan” who announces that he wants to be a woman named Loretta and have babies.  Activists objected that it made fun of transgender people and demanded that it be cut from the film.

The scene shows Stan declaring “I want to be a woman… It’s my right as a man. I want to have babies… It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.” After Cleese’s protest, the character snaps, “Don’t you oppress me!”

Some reported that Cleese had agreed to cut the scene. However, Cleese tweeted out a correction of the “misreporting.”

What is interesting is that Rob Reiner is reportedly working on the reboot. Reiner is known as someone who is a champion of the left in Hollywood. This may be an inauspicious start for the reboot effort.

Cleese is not alone in raising this alarm. Comedians including Chris Rock blamed “unfunny TV shows” on the fact that “everybody’s scared to make a move”. Ricky Gervais objected that the BBC is now paralyzed in fear of offending anyone.  Jennifer Saunders said people now “talk themselves out of stuff now because everything is sensitive.”

The same complaint has been made in the age of woke advertising that funny commercials seem increasingly rare as opposed to corporate virtue signaling.

The director of the classic comedy Airplane! observed that humor is being squeezed out of Hollywood and the movie today would have virtually every joke removed. David Zucker called it the “death of creativity.”

They are now set upon by a legion of humorless people who seek to reduce the world to their own narrow range of acceptable levity or irony.  These comedy giants are set upon by an Army of Lilliputians who have contributed little to culture beyond chilling artists and writers into obedient silence or compulsive comedy criteria.

Of course, Cleese could always use the line from Bryan’s mother: “He’s a very naughty boy! Now, piss off!”

114 thoughts on “No Laughing Matter: John Cleese Holds Line Against Calls to Cancel Scene in Life of Brian”

    1. She is not in Congress, she is not in office ANYWHERE,
      AOC and the Squad are.

      Given that the ordinary college student today does not know where Pearl Harbor is, When Pearl harbor was or Who fought there.
      Your GOP chair is smarter than your average leftist.

  1. If you are ” Triggered” by a ‘Microaggression” and need a ” Safe Space” you are a PU**Y!! Grow the F**K UP!!!

  2. More than any other president, Trump has focused intently on scaling back big government tyranny and control over its citizens. A few examples of Trump’s policies include the reduction of job-stealing / wage diminishing illegal immigration, making international trade more equitable between nations, reducing government micro-management of American manufacturing, reducing government micromanagement of fossil fuel production and consumption, and reducing tax rates on small businesses. Furthermore, Trump has pointed a much-needed spotlight at the anti-free speech philosophies of the left and their lukewarm conservative allies.

  3. Raise the Rainbow banner, flaunt the Rainbow rhetoric. Hold a parade to celebrate the pride and prejudice of albinophobia.

    Never mind. Scalp him. Vacuum his dust. Cancel him. Sequester his carbon pollutants. #HateLovesAbortion

  4. I am glad to see more and more people standing up to the pernicious lies perpetrated on us by a coalition of the prog/left found in academia, media, politics and even within some mis-informed religious communities. People with the common sense are beginning to see what the prog/left is about (the eventual destruction of western culture) and are finally realizing that they must push back. It is quite simple – there are far more of us than there are of the fringe elements pushing nonsense such as multiple genders, transgenderism, reparations and the lack of accountability for criminal actions within our infested court systems – just to name a few of their more unfettered ideologies. Push back with our demographic weight to end this.

  5. Oh my, but I can see it’s time for a Monty Python and Mel Brooks view-a-thon because if these humorless communists obtain more power–and retain the WH–comedy will be officially dead. And I’ll also look at YouTube videos–while they last–of old Smothers Brothers shows, particularly Flip Wilson. The devil made me do it!

  6. 𝐓𝐇𝐀𝐓 𝐒𝐔𝐂𝐊𝐒 – It’s the Death of the Comedy Troupe. No more sitting around the basement with your Friends conversing Face-to-Face, Nope! can’t have that, use Twitter and What’s App so we can M.O.N.I.T.O.R. you what your thinking. Yep completely gone are the Days when you could relax by listing to the sarcasm and playful bantering of Comedy. Maybe even sneak in a few a few underage Beers and a Deep Dish Pizza, Bong-Hits and play Euchre or RISK till dawn, and watching S.N.L. / Second City or just Listening to a Comedy Album to chill.
    This must come to a real blow to: Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd, Lorne Michaels, Phil Proctor, on and on ….

    Oh Yeah, I can see now that this may be the true menace to ‘OUR’ Society. STOP those Kids from being Kids, and Straighten up those loose Adults. Do it Right … Live a Sober Life.
    Libation, Masturbation, and Comic Relief have now been CANCELED.
    You must strive in American Life to be come a: Head Cheerleader (Kamala) or the Captain of the Football Team (Joe Biden). After all how will You collect enough Brownie-Points to Retire?

    Dude, I guess it’s time to clean up my life. MAN, What am I going to do with My; National Lampoon, Firesign Theatre, Cheech & Chong, George Carlin, Monty Python, … Albums ??? Bummer

    Guess it’s going to be “Disco Demolition Night” in the Backyard – 𝐓𝐀𝐊𝐄 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐅𝐄𝐈𝐋𝐃!

  7. Monty Python’s John Cleese used science to explain why FOX NEWS viewers can’t grasp the truth: ” The problem with people like this is that they are so stupid, they have no idea how stupid they are”. “There’s a wonderful bit of research by a guy named David Dunning, a friend at Cornell I’m proud to say, who’s pointed out that in order to know how good you are at something requires exactly the same skills as it does to be good at that thing in the first place; which means- and this is terribly funny- that if you are absolutely no good at something at all, then you lack exactly the skills you need to know that you are absolutely no good at it…..And this explains the entirety of FOX NEWS “

    1. Appears Cleese is broadening his scope…

      Face it, if you kept stupid people from voting, the dems would never win an election

    2. I know litle about What Dunning actually demonstrated – but YOUR claim is obviously work. If it were true – government would be impossible. Any form of specialization would be impossible.

      Each of us would have to either Trust without any basis alleged experts – who there would be no way of telling whether they were charlatans or not.
      Or distrust them and never manage anything complex.

      Again I have no idea what Dunning actually concluded – but what YOU claim he concluded is total idiocy.

      It is also absolutely and obviously false. Both logically and my own experience in the real world.

      Any reasonably intelligent person can gain more knowledge in any field than any less intelligent person is a relatively short period of time.

      The fundimental difference between “experts” is experience – not knowledge. An intelligent person today – with the resources available to them has a high probability of being able to diagnose their problems – possibly better than their doctor or surgeon. That does not mean they should perform surgery on themselves or others.

      I would further note that Covid demonstrated the weakness of this claim of yours – allegedly our public health experts where the best of the best in the field of epidemeology. While we can debate whether they Delibertely or accidentally got nearly everything wrong there is little debate they got little or nothing right – yest these are your experts. A randomly selected ordinary person on the street could have done better. In fact making decisions by rolling dice would have done better.

      One of many reasons for that is the OPPOSITE of your claim – and that is Few domain experts have enough knowledge OUTSIDE their fields to make competent decisions that involve multiple factors and domains.

      The people we need the most – who are the RAREST are those who have the ability to listen to experts from many fields actually understand what they have to say that is important and make wise decisions encompassing ALL the possible impacts on all domains.

      These almost NEVER come from academia. They almost never come from government, they almost never are domain specific professions.

      The most common place you find these people are successful business people. And the cream of those are ones like Musch ro Trump who have succeeded in multiple different and high risk domains.

      I would note this is also why fortune 500 CEO’s make millions. About a decade ago Kodak went bankrupt. They had a very good CEO, But investors in Kodak lost BILLIONS because very good is not great, and to survive Kodak needed a Great CEO.

      The job difference between the CEO of a 100m company and a 100B company in terms of skills is non-existent.
      But the consequences of not getting the very best of the best could be massively disastrous.

      And the consequences of a poor CEO for a 100B enterprise are tiny compared to the consequence of giving a demented and corrupt fool control of a $6T institution that impacts the entire country and all of our lives.

  8. “. . . demanded that it be cut from the film.”

    Those activists sure like to cut things that are valuable.

  9. Monty Python. What a treat. When life of Brian came out I was appalled but laughed myself silly and the TV show almost as offensive and hysterical. And I’m a serious Christian too. Dogma with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon was also hysterical although a little darker. What do comedians is to give us perspective and a sharp pin to our puffed up egos. If only George Carlin were still here.
    Well Done, John Cleese.

  10. “That scene must be removed because it offends my transgender identity”. “Nope, sorry, your transgender identity offends Nature and won’t be removed”. “I will call you a transphobe and run crying to the Media”. “That won’t work either, both you and the media can piss off”. “I’ve never been so insulted!”. “Come back tomorrow, we can do it again”.

  11. Teary-eyed Memorial Day photographs of sunrises and cemeteries are fine.

    But, without people willing to stand in the trenches every day to fight for freedom—people like John Clease and millions of others across our planet—it will all be for nought.

    Many American politicians in 2023 have learned the vocabulary of a patriot, but damn few have shown any inclination to fight for freedom when it means making personal sacrifices.

    Damn few American politicians have been successful at lifting up the lives of working-class and middle-class citizens while respecting their dignity as free and independent human beings.

    Go Trump.

    1. Andrew, I agree with your sentiments but Trump gave is OZ, Herschel Walker, Kari Lake AND JOE BIDEN. Trump did a lot of good things and we should all be grateful, but It is time for the crass, juvenile, selfish Trump to retire. GO RON DESANTIS!

      1. @hullbobby

        Very much agreed. Most of us are just done with Trump. These die hard fanatics are just as few and no better than the woke, just the inverse equivalent. Polls lie, and they seldom include the center. Nobody wants Trump again. Though I liked some of his policy too, any time he did something good he’d ruin it by opening his mouth. Going to be an interesting primary season.

        1. “Most of us are just done with Trump.”

          LOL. Seen any polls lately?

          Or by “us,” do you mean the McConnell/Graham wing of the party?

      2. Trump is certainly a deeply flawed man. He is also, along with Reagan, one of the two most accomplished presidents in the last 100 years.

        During his first term in the White House, in the face of constant attacks from the left and his own party, Trump achieved gasoline prices under $2 a gallon, record low unemployment, inflation under 2%, rising real wages for working-class Americans, a dramatic reduction in illegal immigration, the end of NAFTA, better trade agreements with Mexico and Canada, higher tariffs on products from Communist China, lower taxes on American corporations and small businesses, reduced regulation of American manufacturing and energy production, withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, American energy independence, a significant increase in American military spending, a significant increase in military spending by the other NATO allies, the creation of the United States Space Force, no new wars, reduced missile testing by North Korea, cancellation of the Obama nuclear weapons agreement with Iran, recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the brokering of historic trade agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbors, restoration of quality medical care for veterans at the VA, elimination of the Obamacare mandate to buy health insurance, the right of terminally ill patients to try experimental treatments, the appointment of more than 230 federal judges who believe in following the Constitution, the appointment of three Supreme Court justices who believe in following the Constitution, and a welcoming environment in the Republican Party for good and decent Americans of all races and classes. Seventeen months after Trump left office, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade with a 6-3 vote.

        In 2024, I think I’ll take my chances with Trump.

      3. “. . . but Trump gave is (sic) . . .”

        For the midterms, Trump’s endorsement record was some 82%. That’s pretty impressive.

      4. I cannot ever again vote for anyone who has made a career of getting elected no matter what their platform is. Career politicians are why we’re where we are.

        1. That removes Biden, DeSantis, Haley, and Scott from the equation. Sounds good to me.

      5. Boo-hoo, we can’t have a president whose personality I don’t like… DeSantis is swampy. I’ll take crass, juvenile and selfish over swampy EVERY TIME.

      6. I hope DeSantis does well in the future. But for all his other flaws, Trump is likely the only person going through the executive branch with a scythe rooting out political corruption.

        I am disappointed that he did not use his trademark phrase “your fired” far more often when president.

        DeSantis will do fine once the corrupt have been purged.
        But DeSantis does not have the strong motivation to clean house.

        And that is more necescary than everything else.

        It is my hopes that Trump will be wise enough – which he has not been so far to temper his attacks on DeSantis.
        Trump is the clear leader on the GOP and should not be attacking anyone but democrats.

        The Same is True of all the other GOP contenders. Frankly aside from DeSantis I do not think any of them are running for President this time anyway.
        They are all running for a role in the 2025 Republican administration – and they all should be welcome.

        There was nothing wrong with Oz. Walker or Lake. There was not a Republican that was going to do any better than any of them in their states.
        No candidate is perfect, and each of their opponents were Worse, as were the other republicans in those states.

        The most important factor in 2022 aside from all the lawlessness and election corruption from 2020 was repeated, was abortion. While that was a very small factor that only seemed to be decisive with single young white women who mostly were not going to vote republicans regardless, it still likely had just enough effect in a very close election.

        So long as we continue to have lawless often unconstitutional mailin elections empowering the couch potato vote and massive ballot havesting
        republicans are going to have to get out and extra 1%+ of their vote to win in many states.

        That is the lesson of 2020 and 2022.
        But ultimately that is guaranteed. Aside from the abortion issue – most of the 2022 post election surveys showed significant gains for Republicans in all important areas. They won the popular vote by several million votes, The trend of minorities moving to voting Republican slowly continued – blacks, hispanics, asians, jews, … are all shifting republican by small amounts in each election cycle. The couch potato vote dropped from 70% to 50% in 2022.

        Mailin voting. ballot harvesting are all fixed improvements in the democratic position – they are NOT trends.

        Far more important than “MAGA candidates” was the failure of Establishment republicans to put money into races that needed it.

      7. Hullbobby,

        I am not actually a Trump supporter. I share some of your aversion to Trump. But barring a miracle Trump will be the GOP nominee in 2024.
        The election is a way off and all kinds of things could happen. But I would not bet on it.
        Bragg’s prosecution has shown that politically weaponizing law enforcement backfires.

        To those on the left who think that Bragg or someone else is going to “get Trump” – if you expect any of them to have a beneficial impact for democratic candidates your smoking wacky weed. The left has long ago jumper the shark in Trump prosecutions and they have done all the damage to Trump that is possible, If anything they are making him stronger. Short of Trump on audio to telling Raffensberg that he will pay him $1M to manufacture 7000 votes – none of this is going anywhere.

        The nuts in NY managed to win a civil sexual assault case against Trump and that did not dent his support.

        The left can not take Trump down in court without a far more compelling case than they have and anf far less corrupt prosecutors and courts than they have.

        Worse the vigorous pursuit of Trump highlights the aggressive politically corrupt efforts to protect Biden.

        These are my observations. They are not based on Love of Trump.

        I am far more interested in the best path to limited government – and that does not pass through traditional republican politicians.

        My view of Trump is somewhat like Lincoln’s observation regarding Grant. “I need him, he fights”.

        Those who most viscerally hate Trump in our government and who have made it clear will stop him by whatever means are necescary – MUST GO.
        THEY are the greatest danger to this country – more so than even Biden or democrats.

        What they do to Trump they can do to anyone, and that must stop. It is not the role of CIA, or DHS or FBI or DOJ to decide who our next president or any other elected leader will be.

        What they have been doing is DANGEROUS and WRONG – not because it helps democrats – but because when the government chooses our leaders – that is tyranny.

  12. Hollywood has no right to complain — they are part of the woke problem. The irony is that everyone has to worry about offending the trans mob, but the trans mob gets a pass to mock, offend, and desecrate their own chosen targets. Just ask the LA Dodgers. The trans mob isn’t “sensitive” or a “victim.” They’re pulling a power play to force the “normal” population to legitimize, normalize, mainstream the trans mental disorder. This is about power, not “sensitivity” or “inclusion.” It’s the same game play the race baiters use to shut down speech and impose power. Just poke it in the face and the bully will fall down.

  13. When the Monty Python film “The Life of Brian” came out….Christian groups protested in front of the Movie Theaters showing it.

    I viewed the film….and. have done so several times since and have laughed myself silly every time.

    The Python bunch are a source of humor that translates into any language and most any culture.

    When People get to where they cannot laugh at themselves…..they become very unfortunate.

    Some of the satire in their films is simply classic and changing it because of some radical group going on. a crusade almost fifty years after the fact is an evil thing and should be handled that way.

    As I think of it….I can see why the Left is so upset by the Monty Python films… one can overlay what they have to say in the film to what is going on with the LGBGTX movement, or BLM, Climate Alarmists, and the Democrat Party itself.

    Thinking people seeing the message of the Python films see everyday life in a much less flattering view than the targets wish to have happen.

    1. The movie was never shown in Baton Rouge at its national release because the DA at the time called the few theaters in town and threatened them with something or other.

    2. The interesting thing is that to protest is to proclaim your position, which is fine. The public, and any portion of it, has a right to be offended and express it. The difference NOW is that offense-taking ITSELF has been weaponised, in Bolshevik fashion, and the price paid for offending the wrong party starts with public shaming and ends with being “unpersoned” and having the IRS clobber you. So what we have now is no longer a dialogue among heterogeneous people but creeping (or galloping) totalitarianism. And we’ve seen that movie & know how it ends. (V badly.)

  14. I read a long time ago that comedy is only funny because it’s true. Comedians have the gift of showing us the truth in a magic mirror so that it makes us laugh and not cry. Chris Rock in my opinion was the funniest human in the history of comedy, as well as the most “offensive” in terms of language and themes he discussed. Now when you see him it looks like a hostage video. He looks terrified. The point is, people are used to thinking of political correctness as a cleaned up version of the truth. But the truth cannot be whitewashed and still be true, and the same goes for comedy. It’s said that “the truth hurts” for a reason. Lies don’t hurt until the bill comes, as it inevitably does. No, men can’t have babies. And as long as basic facts are regarded as hate speech, comedy will not be funny in this country.

  15. COMEDIANS know something we don’t—ya gotta lighten up! I thought the trans, would be happy that a man wanted to be a woman and have that portrayed. But then, what do I know ?

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