Rowan Atkinson vs cancellation culture: “comedy is offending”

The mind behind Mr. Bean is probably one of the most specialized European comedians in physical comedy. His mythical character does not have the need to articulate words to make the public laugh. Reason why he does not have to offend or make fun of anyone to generate a situation of entertainment. However, for Rowan Atkinson the need to offend is the point of comedy and therefore also goes against the strict culture of cancellation.

In light of his new series on Netflix, the actor is also in press rounds. Of course, being a benchmark for comedy, he was asked what he thought about cancel culture and the current climate where a comedian must carefully weigh what or who the jokes are about. Atkinson believes that “the cancellation” certainly affects comedians. And that now the central point of each joke has been lost in oblivion, because that point is to offend and find a victim.

“It seems to me that the job of comedy is to offend, or have the potential to offend, and you can’t empty that potential out of it. Every joke has a victim. That is the definition of a joke. Someone, something or an idea that is put up to pass for ridicule.

Faced with the sensitivities that can be aroused by jokes, many comedians have decided to focus their blows on people with power. In today’s world, inequality and the privileges that are generated by it are the real enemy. For this reason the Irish Times asked Rowan Atkinson if perhaps cancel culture would be more comfortable with comedians directing their jokes at people with influence.

Atkinson thinks not. For Mr Bean, the ability to make fun of someone and generate a joke from it should be exercised without hesitation. Comedians should be able to make fun of absolutely anything, not just people.

“I think you have to be very, very careful about what you can make jokes about. Do you always have to go up? Really? What if there is someone who is extremely conceited, arrogant, aggressive, self-satisfied, who is below society?” he wondered. “Not everyone is in the houses of parliament or in the monarchies. There are many extremely conceited and self-satisfied people in what would be considered the lowest of society, who also deserve to be singled out. In a free and proper society, you should be able to make jokes about absolutely anything. Not all pranks are for everyone.

Although Atkinson’s most recognizable character hardly ever uses words to make fun of someone, the actor finds even playing him boring. He previously acknowledged being tired of the character and desperately seeking respite from it. «I don’t really enjoy playing it anymore. The responsibility involved is not very pleasant. I find it both stressful and exhausting and I can’t wait to finish it.”he claimed.

Now Rowan Atkinson will premiere man vs bee. The series will tell the misfortunes of a man assigned to a very important new job. He must take care of a luxurious mansion, full of priceless collectibles. However, when he thinks he has everything under control, a tiny bee will enter the scene to destabilize his order and patience. Will he be able to maintain control and keep the job? The series will premiere on June 24 on Netflix.

The entry Rowan Atkinson vs cancellation culture: “comedy is to offend” was first published in Cine PREMIERE.

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