Sir Michael Palin says there should be no limits to comedy
The 77-year-old comedian and actor has hit out at the idea that certain topics shouldn’t be used for jokes, as he said “everybody should be up for being laughed at”
2 October 2020
Speaking in a preview clip for his new BBC2 show, ‘Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime’, he explained: “If something is funny and makes people laugh, then I'm afraid that just happens and you can’t say, ‘It shouldn’t be funny, stop making it funny’.
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“Any attempt by authority to say, ‘No, you've got to make sure that we're portrayed in a serious manner’ is a dangerous thing.
“Everybody, myself included, should be up for being laughed at or joked with. It is the responsibility of the writers what you choose to write about and how you choose to play it. And that I think is up to the individual writer and performer.”
The ‘Monty Python’ star added he doesn’t agree with comedians who try to get laughs from “bullying and belittling people”, but said comedy shouldn’t be “stifled by decree”.
Michael also insisted comedy is “important” during “times of crisis” such as the coronavirus pandemic.
When asked if “PC culture” can have an impact on comedy, he said: “I think it can do, yes. Anything that says, ‘well, you mustn’t talk about this particular area of life...’ that’s as wrong as saying, ‘If you’re writing a novel, you shouldn’t write a novel about this kind of life’.
“Comedy is very important, especially in times of crisis. One needs jokes, one needs laughter. But you shouldn’t stifle it by decree.
“You should stifle it if it’s bad and nasty and it’s something that you don’t want to do yourself, then stop doing it.”
‘Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime’ begins on BBC2 at 8pm on October 4.