Rowan Atkinson thinks comedians should be allowed to make jokes “about absolutely anything”.
The 67-year-old star has hit out at cancel culture, warning that comedy will suffer if current trends continue.
He explained: “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. Every joke has a victim. That’s the definition of a joke. Someone or something or an idea is made to look ridiculous.”
The ‘Mr. Bean’ star thinks it’s imperative that comedians don’t worry too much about the consequences of their own jokes.
He told the Irish Times newspaper: “I think you’ve got to be very, very careful about saying what you’re allowed to make jokes about.
“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. 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.”
On the other hand, Rowan remains undecided about the influence of social media.
The actor thinks it’ll take “quite a long time” to understand its real impact on society.
He said: “It’s terribly young.
“In terms of the history of man, it’s been around for a very, very short time and we’re still adjusting. Here, in [the UK], we’ve got something called an Online Safety Bill, which is only possibly coming into the Houses of Parliament soon. And you think ‘Isn’t that sort of 20 years late?’ But you’ve got to live with something for quite a long time to find out how you’re going to live with it.”