English actor Rowan Atkinson, famous in the United States for portraying the iconic Mr. Bean, recently came out in an interview stating that cancel culture has no place in comedy.
Atkinson discussed the topic before the release of his upcoming Netflix special, Man v. Bee. He correctly stated that every joke has a victim. The progressive left, whose entire value system is based on victimhood, threatens the entire fabric of comedy by canceling people whose views they disagree with. He reiterated that the entire idea of comedy is to offend people.
It is the first time Atkinson has commented publicly on the topic. His titular character Mr. Bean has not drawn a lot of attention in this area given the fact that the character rarely uses words. Atkinson describes Mr. Bean as how he would act in real life if he were ‘denied words to express’ himself. As a result, he has never been a particularly polarizing figure in comedy.
Other comics have had to deal with cancel culture head-on. The current king of comedy in the United States is Dave Chappelle, who has been the target of cancel culture.
Chappelle received massive blowback after his Netflix special ‘The Closer’ where he claimed that gender was a fact. LBGTQ organizations called for Netflix to pull the special. Employees at the company staged a walkout in protest.
Atkinson and Chappelle seem to be on the right side of the comedy argument. Netflix and other companies have lost large amounts of market share for embracing ‘woke’ causes. It has had such a profound impact on the bottom line that Netflix told its employees to quit if they were offended by the content. History is proving the term go woke and go broke to be an axiom rather than a suggestion.
Atkinson and Chappelle embrace the idea that in a free society you should be able to make a joke about anything. It is not just powerful people or institutions that deserve mockery. Every day people are just as guilty of being tyrannical as concentrations of power. Comedy is the canary in the coal mine. If people can censor views they disagree with, then we do not live in a free society.