Rowan Atkinson was a comedy icon who is forever remembered as Mr. Bean. He slammed politics and its grip on comedy.
Atkinson spoke to The Irish Times and stated that comedy shouldn’t be stripped of its ability to offend. He also argued that offense can sometimes be its primary job.
The Johnny English actor stated, “It seems to me that comedy’s job is to offend or have the potential of offending, and it can’t be drained from that potential.” “A true free society should allow you to make jokes about anything.”
Atkinson described comedy and tragedy as “extremely close friends, and you can’t have one without another.”
He said, “Every joke has someone to hurt, no matter how fictional, non-fictional, notional, ideological, or human.” “I suppose that you must accept that it is the way it really is.”
Atkinson slammed cancel culture in 2021. He compared it to “digital equivalent to the medieval mob wandering the streets looking to find someone to burn.”
Atkinson explained to the U.K. Radio Times that “the problem we have online it that an algorithm decides how we want to see,” which leads to a binary, simplistic view of society. It becomes a matter of whether you are with us or against. If you are against us, you should be ‘canceled’
Atkinson said, “It is important that we are exposed to a broad spectrum of opinions. But what we have now digitally is the equivalent of the medieval mob roaming streets looking for someone else to burn.” It is frightening for anyone who has been a victim to that mob, and it fills me fearful about the future.
Rowan Atkinson also supported Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister in 2018, after he made a joke regarding women wearing burqas.