Little more than a month after John Cleese announced that he was partnering with “British Fox News” to wage war on “cancel culture,” Eric Idle has joined the overwrought and exhausting comedy culture wars with his own opinions on the multi-millionaire comedy legends who cry “censorship” every time there’s a negative reaction to their material. Monty Python is unofficially a house divided.

The Monty Python founding member and writer of Spamalot appeared on yesterday’s episode of On with Kara Swisher, wherein Swisher, an accomplished journalist and massive Python fan, asked Idle about the differences between British and American television, his opinion on Twitter CEO Elon Musk, and his thoughts on the ever-growing and decreasingly substantive debate regarding what constitutes “censorship” in comedy. 

For once, a massively popular comic with a huge platform doesn’t feel like he’s being silenced.

 

Python (Monty) Pictures

This is how Maher thinks he looks

“I think the thing about comedy is it’s disastrous when you want to be liked,” said Idle. He explained the difference in the philosophies of comedy from across the Atlantic, saying, “On the whole, English comedians don’t want to be loved or don’t put that up front, whereas I think it’s very important in American terms that they’re somehow liked or lovable.”

When asked about the television years of Monty Python, Idle commented on how he saw their relationship to the BBC change as Monty Python’s Flying Circus increased in popularity with each successive series, telling the story of how he wrote a wine tasting sketch that the network cut in which an English wine snob kept trying to guess the name of the wine he was drinking while the French sommelier simply replied, “No, sir, it is Oui Oui.” 

On the topic of censorship, Swisher naturally asked Idle if he had any thoughts on Dave Chappelle’s constant claims that he is being silenced while getting paid $24 million per special to complain about how canceled he is. Said Idle, “Where does he say it? On SNL … Well, you’re not being that much canceled, are you? If you were in your room complaining, I’d have a lot more sympathy.”

Idle continued on to address another fabulously wealthy and perpetually platformed comedy crybaby, Bill Maher, whose war on naysayers started in 1993 with his first talk show, Politically Incorrect. Idle challenged Maher’s apparent assumption that anyone who doesn’t think he’s funny must be a cancel culture snowflake, saying, “I didn’t like it when Bill Maher complains about the audience for not laughing, they’re telling you they don’t find it funny. You shouldn’t moan about the audience. There’s nothing wrong with the audience. If they don’t laugh at your jokes, there’s something wrong with your joke. And so… I’m not terribly sympathetic to that sort of attitude, to be honest."

The Monty Python member had another topical jab for the owner of Twitter, likening Musk’s failed “Twitter Blue” campaign to "buying a petting zoo and then charging the animals."

It’s reassuring to hear a comedian with as much wisdom and experience as Idle speak so directly about the absurdity of the “censorship” discussion as it relates to immensely wealthy and popular comedians complaining about how some audiences are having a negative reaction to their material. Neither Chappelle, nor Maher, nor Cleese are being censored when people criticize the points of view that they openly express to millions of viewers. Actual censorship is when Russian satirists are jailed for mocking a Kremlin-favored local politician, not when some Cracked writer says that Bill Maher hasn’t been funny since 2005.

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