John Cleese believes that wokeness has a “disastrous” impact on comedy and creativity – and he didn’t shy from telling Fox News about it at last week’s FreedomFest in Las Vegas, in an interview that was published Wednesday.
“Once you start checking everything, it’s very hard to be very creative,” the comedian said. “If you’re worried about offending people and constantly thinking about that, you’re not going to be very creative.”
Since comedians can only create in “an atmosphere of freedom,” Cleese, who was a keynote speaker for the conference that “attracts people of all walks of life and across the political spectrum,” noted that it is a “difficult time,” especially for younger comedians. When asked if comedians have the freedom to be funny today, he declaratively said: “No.”
However, Cleese doesn’t have to deal with as much criticism due to the older demographic of his audience. “My audience is much older and they’re simply not interested in most of the woke attitudes,” said Cleese. “They just think that you should try to be kind to people.”
The pressure to be “woke” prompts comedians to move into what Cleese calls “safe areas,” including sex, a topic Cleese says comedians would have been canceled for in the ’60s but is fine today. “Human beings want to have some things that you mustn’t do and other things that are alright, and they just change every 25 years,” said Cleese.
He added that being creative and being critical do not mesh. “The moment that the critical mind comes in, you stop being creative,” said Cleese, “You can do the creation and then criticize, but you can’t do them at the same time.”