Rowan Atkinson has reacted to ‘cancel culture,’ insisting that in a free country, comedians should be entitled to make jokes about literally anything.
The Mr Bean star, 67, said that the objective of humour is to ‘the potential offend’ and that laughter is designed to make someone seem ‘silly.’
Rowan raged against cancel culture, saying that individuals should be cautious about setting boundaries on what comedians are permitted to make jokes about.
He stated that it does seem to him that the function of comedy is to offend, or have the potential to offend, and it cannot be devoid of that potential, every joke has a victim.
Rowan, who has worked in comedy for almost four decades, also discussed the notion that jokes should ‘punch up’ at people in authority rather than down.
He continued, there are many really smug and self-satisfied individuals in what would be considered lower society who also ought to be hauled up. In a true free society, you should be able to make jokes about anything.
When asked about the importance of social media, Rowan stated that the platform removes jokes from their original stuff in order to incite outrage, and that they are still learning how to use technology.
Rowan has already advocated against regulations that might limit free speech and foul language, so this is not the first time he has spoken out against cancel culture.
In January 2021, he stated that social media gives him “anxiety about the future,” that it has deepened societal differences, and that it has diminished tolerance.
He expressed that the difficulty they have online is that an algorithm selects what they want to see, which results in a simplified, binary vision of society.
It comes down to whether one is with them or against them. And if he/she disagrees with them, they ought to be ‘cancelled.’
It’s essential that we all be introduced to a diverse range of viewpoints, however what we now have is the digital version of the mediaeval mob prowling the streets seeking for somebody to burn. So it’s frightening anybody who has been a target of that mob, and it makes him worried about the future.
He continued that it’s extremely flattering that individuals want to connect with Mr Bean, but he has no urge to have any presence on social media. In his perspective, what occurs there is a sideshow.
His recent remarks come as he promotes his latest comedy, Man Vs. Bee, which is slated to premiere on Netflix on Friday.
Rowan plays Trevor, a guy hired by an agency to house-sit for affluent strangers Christian and Nina in the ten-part series made up of crisp ten-minute episodes.
The existence of a bee in the luxurious mansion, however, drives him insane, and after a series of disastrous attempts to suppress it result in total destruction, the bee buzzes off to Christian’s beloved Jag.
What begins as a slight irritation for Trevor quickly becomes an obsession that leads to large-scale damage, Rowan explained.
‘The bee is the spark for Trevor vandalising the house and automobile in various ways.’
Trevor is Rowan’s first new comic TV character since pompous Inspector Raymond Fowler in the BBC comedy The Thin Blue Line over 30 years ago, however it’s the invention that came before him that draws the most comparisons.
Stupid buffoon Mr Bean frequently found himself in ludicrous situations similar to Trevor’s, and Rowan recognised the similarities.
He remarked, if he is trying to portray a character without words and Trevor doesn’t talk much one will see something reminiscent of Mr Bean.
There will be something that will remind one of him, and there will be things of the plot that will remind us of the type of trouble Mr Bean would get into.
However, Trevor is a more developed character than Mr Bean, who was a two-dimensional, self-serving anarchist. Trevor is more endearing, so maybe folks will cheer for him as he gets into more and more problems.
The Blackadder actor also said that he dislikes filming TV shows but enjoys rehearsing and seeing the finished result.
He explained that if you think of a television production as a sandwich, he likes the bread but not the meat in the centre.
He appreciates the rehearsal process, working on the screenplay, and post-production. He is excited about the opportunity to help with sound mixing and editing.
The filming is dreadful in his opinion, but it’s something one has to do to convey the tale. The irony is that he is meant to be good at it.
But because he is playing a unique character, the onus is on him to make the programme work. That brings a lot of tension, which isn’t good.
No matter what he does, he always thinks he can do it better. He has felt that way about every role he has performed, except Blackadder, as there was a shared obligation there, and he felt like he was sharing the load with others.
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