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Rowan Atkinson has claimed it’s “comedy’s job to offend” while criticising cancel culture.
The Mr Bean and Johnny English star, who returns to screens in new Netflix series Man vs Bee, shared his view on the subject, stating that comedians should be able to make jokes about “absolutely anything”.
Atkinson, 67, told the Irish Times: “It does seem to me that the job of comedy is to offend, or have the potential to offend, and it cannot be drained of that potential”
He continued: “Every joke has a victim. That’s the definition of a joke. Someone or something or an idea is made to look ridiculous.”
According to the comedian, he believes there are a very small number of subjects that should be off the table when it comes to comedy.
“I think you’ve got to be very, very careful about saying what you’re allowed to make jokes about,” he said, adding: “You’ve always got to kick up? Really? What if there’s someone extremely smug, arrogant, aggressive, self-satisfied, who happens to be below in society? They’re not all in houses of parliament or in monarchies.”
Atkinson continued: “There are lots of extremely smug and self-satisfied people in what would be deemed lower down in society, who also deserve to be pulled up. In a proper free society, you should be allowed to make jokes about absolutely anything.”
Man vs Bee is released on Netflix on 24 June. The series follows a man who attempts ot get the better of a cunning bee, who unleashes chaos upon an unsuspecting house-sitter.