One of the primary targets of social justice advocates is comedy. Political correctness has made telling jokes to be a risky affair, and things we used to laugh about have now become something along the lines of a sacred cow. Making fun of something mundane may unexpectedly make your life more complicated.
Even comedy we consider iconic is being spat on. Recently, the BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning, Shane Allen, boasted about how diverse his comedy lineup on television is becoming, and took a swipe at legendary comedy group Monty Python in the process.
“If you’re going to assemble a team now, it’s not going to be six Oxbridge white blokes. It’s going to be a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world,” said Allen.
This got back to Monty Python actor Terry Gilliam who was recently interviewed while giving a press conference at the Karlovy Vary film festival where he was presenting his new film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. According to the Guardian, Gilliam expressed sadness over the fact that comedy has become so politically correct that you can’t even be an all-white comedy troop anymore, and declared that he’s declared himself as a black lesbian:
Speaking at a press conference at the Karlovy Vary film festival, where he was presenting his new film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Gilliam said: “It made me cry: the idea that … no longer six white Oxbridge men can make a comedy show. Now we need one of this, one of that, everybody represented… this is bullshit. I no longer want to be a white male, I don’t want to be blamed for everything wrong in the world: I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian… My name is Loretta and I’m a BLT, a black lesbian in transition.”
He added: “[Allen’s] statement made me so angry, all of us so angry. Comedy is not assembled, it’s not like putting together a boy band where you put together one of this, one of that everyone is represented.”
The former comedy troop’s John Cleese also sent out an angry tweet in response, pointing out that Monty Python was pretty diverse at that time.
“BBC’s Head of Comedy puts Monty Python’s lack of originality down to a surfeit of education and racist bias,” tweeted Cleese. “Unfair! We were remarkably diverse FOR OUR TIME.”
“We had three grammar-school boys, one a poof, and Gilliam, though not actually black, was a Yank. And NO slave-owners,” he added.
BBC's Head of Comedy puts Monty Python's lack of originality down to a surfeit of education and racist bias
Unfair ! We were remarkably diverse FOR OUR TIME
We had three grammar-school boys, one a poof, and Gilliam, though not actually black, was a Yank. And NO slave-owners
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) June 20, 2018
Gilliam later doubled down on his comments in an interview, stating that ego tends to play a part in how offended people have become when it comes to being offended, according to the Daily Wire:
“I always felt the British are very good at laughing at themselves; the Americans are better at laughing at other people,” Gilliam told the Journal. “I still think it’s pretty true, but it’s changing because now we can’t laugh at anybody because it causes offense.”
At the heart of the perpetual offense phenomenon, he said, is ego. “There’s a kind of egotism out there: ‘Oh, they were making fun of me,'” he said. “Never heard of you. I’m making fun of an idea.”
A great deal of mainstream comedy nowadays is usually what’s known as “clapter,” which is a term coined by Ben Shapiro. The idea is that what many comedians are saying isn’t actually funny, it’s just a political opinion delivered in a humorous tone that elicits more clapping than it does laughter.
Actual comedy, like the kind seen from figures like Monty Python or Mel Brooks, would likely create such outrage that creating it wouldn’t be worth the headache. This is heartbreaking since comedy not only lightened the mood of society, but it made sure that the aforementioned sacred cows never achieved such an untouchable status.
Satire and mockery are great equalizers. Hopefully, our society will turn away from this “clapter” nonsense and encourage the return of actual comedy.