British actor John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, says the enforcement of political correctness has come at the expense of comedy.
In a video for Big Think, Cleese speaks specifically about college campuses, where he says he’s been warned not to perform because “any kind of criticism or any individual or group could be labeled cruel.”
Cleese also recalled something said to him about the issue by London psychiatrist Robin Skynner, with whom he’s worked on two books about psychology and psychiatry.
“[Skynner] said, ‘If people can’t control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people’s behavior.’ And when you’re around super-sensitive people, you cannot relax and be spontaneous because you have no idea what’s going to upset them next,” says Cleese.
He adds, “The whole point about humor, the whole point about comedy, and believe you me I”ve thought about this, is that all comedy is critical … All humor is critical. If you start to say, ‘We mustn’t; we mustn’t criticize or offend them,” then humor is gone. With humor goes a sense of proportion. And then as far as I’m concerned, you’re living in 1984.”
You can see his full remarks here, or in the video above.