A few days ago my son and I went to the Lynn Auditorium for a screening of the classic movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail which was followed by a Q & A session with comedy giant and founding member of Monty Python troupe, John Cleese.
Massachusetts is a heavily blue state (Clinton by 28) and one of the most politically correct states in the nation so I was pleasantly surprised that as the hall was filling up that the various Monty Python skits playing over the loudspeakers before the start of the movie were uncensored leaving every single liberal triggering utterance intact. I was especially surprised to hear the song “Never be rude to an Arab” played in its entirety. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it goes like this:
Never be rude to an Arab
An Isreali, or Saudi, or Jew
Never be rude to an Irishman
No matter what you do
Never poke fun at a Nigger
A Spic, or a Wop, or Kraut
And never poke fun at…
(at this point the singer explodes)
Watching the movie was like being at a performance of the Rocky Horror Picture Show with audience members joining in. It was a very different dynamic seeing the movie in a theater setting as I was too young to see it at the movies when it came out. The round of applause for the film at the end was loud but not as loud as the cheers and applause as Mr. Cleese took the stage.
After the movie Mr. Cleese took written questions from the audience and questions from his daughter touring with him. One of the things he did near the end of his presentation was defend ethnic humor which drew a round of applause from me and silence from the people around me. He then told jokes about the French, the Italians and Jews and then stated he was about to tell a Mexican joke noting that when he said that in California you could hear a pin drop in the audience which had no objection to jokes concerning nationalities considered “European” and said word to the effect Do we consider Mexicans so weak and fragile that they can not take a joke , and proceeded to tell his Mexican joke, which got a pretty good laugh.
I couldn’t help but think of Mr Cleese when I saw this article at Stacy McCain’s site concerning a “Comedian” named Hannah Gadsby
In Hannah Gadsby’s highly acclaimed comedy special Nanette, she announces that she’s quitting comedy. Jokes are too simplistic, she says: they convert her trauma into humor and obscure the ugly truth of her story. Comedy, says Gadsby, has prevented her from evolving.
Gadsby isn’t the only comedian taking at least an occasional break from humor. . . .
Having become political comedians, they’re dropping the comedy act and becoming straightforward commentators. Why?
According to Gadsby, comedy is too simplistic a medium.
To say Gadsby’s show is “highly acclaimed” is to say liberals like it.
Stacy rightly asks
Is this a comedy routine or a Gender Studies lecture? To invite an audience to your personal pity party, celebrating your victimhood — your status as a marginalized person — is stupendously arrogant.
But Stephen Green at PJ media gets to the heart of the matter in three sentences.
The short answer is: Killing your career is easy; comedy is hard.
The slightly longer answer is that comedy has been infested with leftism, and modern leftism cannot brook dissent. And without dissent, there is no comedy.
Now full disclosure, I’ve never heard of Gadsby before today, I don’t know her humor and I’d not heard of her special Nanette until I read these pieces, but I can make two predictions with full certainty.
Right now John Cleese is 78. He sold out the Auditorium in Lynn, people were lined up to buy swag and others paid a premium to meet him and get items signed. He will likely sell out any venue around the world that he chooses to do his comedy for as long as he chooses to do it. Long after he and all the other pythons are dead and gone people will be reciting the Dead Parrot Sketch, Mimicking his silly walk and laughing at their comedy and spending their hard earned dollars, Pounds and Euro’s to buy them.
Hanna Gadsby graduated high school in 1995 I’ll guess she’s about 40 so therefore in 40 years or so she will be as old as Mr. Cleese’s age today. I sincerely doubt that at 78 we will see her on tour selling out showings of Nanette with adoring audiences taking Q & A from her, lined up to buy swag or pay a premium to meet her and get items signed. In fact I’d wager thirty years you’d be hard pressed to find people who know who she is.
A final thought, Cleese, one of the finest comedy writers and performers of the 20th century, noted how difficult comedy is in an era where Kim Kardashian is meeting with the president of the United States on prison reform, but as taking down the self-important was a trademark of the Pythons I’d wager he would be able to write a hilarious skit about the self-absorbed Hanna Gadsby in his sleep with both hands broken.
Cue Terry Jones:
Cue Terry Jones
Update: The difference between Cleese and Trevor Noah? Cleese would have told his critics to C* O and then followed with a chorus of the above mentioned song. Plus nobody will remember who Noah is in 30 years either
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