Sunday, June 19, 2022

Rowan Atkinson strikes back

Mr. Bean, a.k.a. Rowan Atkinson, has a thing or two to say about the role of comedy.

'Mr. Bean' star Rowan Atkinson hits back at cancel culture: 'The job of comedy is to offend'

Rowan Atkinson – the creator and star of the British sitcom "Mr. Bean" that first aired in 1990 – slammed cancel culture, especially when it comes to comedy.

"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," Atkinson said in a new interview for the Irish Times. "Every joke has a victim. That’s the definition of a joke. Someone or something or an idea is made to look ridiculous.”

The interviewer asked Atkinson if comedy should only lampoon those in a position of authority and not punch down.

Atkinson responded, "I think you’ve got to be very, very careful about saying what you're allowed to make jokes about. You’ve always got to kick up? Really?"

He continued: "What if there's someone extremely smug, arrogant, aggressive, self-satisfied, who happens to be below in society? They’re not all in houses of parliament or in monarchies," the "Mr. Bean" actor explained. "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."

Atkinson points out that the outrage mob often takes jokes out of their original context in order to provoke anger on social media and to get a person canceled.

Atkinson remarked that social media is "terribly young," and people are just learning how to use it.

"In terms of the history of man, it’s been around for a very, very short time and we’re still adjusting," he noted.

Atkinson blasted cancel culture last year – comparing the toxic movement as a "medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn."

Atkinson's point about the relative youth of social media feeds into a larger point that was made decades ago: technology evolves far faster than our morals, laws, and consciences. We can do a thing long before we resolve whether we should do a thing.

Atkinson has been an active defender of free speech for a while, now, so this sort of thing is nothing new for him. Nice to see he's still on the warpath. Do read the rest of the article, and if you're one of the humorless ones, do us all a favor and unpucker your asshole.

1 comment:

John Mac said...

The wokesters are a perfect example of punching down. They are already jokes with their holier-than-thou attitudes and should be mocked mercilessly.