Rowan Atkinson responded to the “cancellation of culture” and insisted that comedians should be able to make jokes about “absolutely anything” in a free society.
The 67-year-old Mr Bean star said the purpose of the comedy was “to have the potential to offend” and said the humor is meant to make it look “ridiculous.”
Rowan said she thinks people should be careful about placing restrictions on what comedians can make jokes about while lashing out at the culture of cancellation.
Freedom of Speech: Rowan Atkinson (pictured in October 2018) responded to the “cancellation of culture” and insisted that comedians should be allowed to make jokes about “absolutely anything”
He told the Irish Times: “It seems to me that the job of comedy is to offend, or have the potential to offend, and it can’t be drained of that potential, every joke has a victim.”
Rowan, who has worked in comedy for more than four decades, has also dealt with the suggestion that jokes should “punch” those in power and not be driven down.
He added: ‘There are a lot of extremely smug and self-satisfied people in what would be considered lowest in society, who also deserve to be cheered up. In a truly free society, you should be allowed to make jokes about anything.’
Speaking about the role of social media, Rowan said the platform strips jokes from the original content in an effort to arouse anger and said we’re still learning how to use the technology.
Culture Cancel: Mr Bean star, 67, said the comedy’s purpose was “to have the potential to offend” and said humor is meant to make someone look “ridiculous”
This isn’t the first time Rowan has spoken out against the culture of nullification as she has previously campaigned against laws that could restrict free speech and abusive language.
And in January 2021, he said social media fills him with “fear for the future” and this it widened the divisions in society and lowered tolerance.
He told Radio Times: “The problem we have online is that an algorithm decides what we want to see, which ends up creating a simplistic, binary view of society.
«It becomes a case either you are with us or against us. And if you are against us, you deserve to be ‘canceled’.
“It is important that we are exposed to a broad spectrum of opinion, but what we have now is the digital equivalent of the medieval mob wandering the streets looking for someone to burn.
Restrictions: Rowan (pictured in 2018) said she thinks people should be careful about putting restrictions on what comedians can make jokes about.
“So it’s scary for anyone who is a victim of that crowd and fills me with fear for the future.”
He added: ‘It’s very nice that people want to connect with Mr Bean, but I don’t want to have any social media presence. What happens there is a sideshow in my world.’
His latest comments come as he’s busy promoting his latest comedy Man Vs Bee, which airs on Netflix on Friday.
In the ten-part series of captivating ten-minute episodes, Rowan plays Trevor, a man recruited by an agency to house wealthy strangers Christian and Nina.
But the presence of a bee in the luxurious house drives him more and more mad and, after a series of disastrous attempts to silence her, resulting in utter carnage, the bee heads for Christian’s beloved Jag.
Comedy: Rowan (pictured in Blackadder) has already campaigned against laws that could restrict free speech and abusive language
“What begins as a minor inconvenience for Trevor becomes an obsession that drives destruction on a large scale,” Rowan told the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine.
“The bee is Trevor’s catalyst who vandalized the house and car, in various ways.”
Trevor is the first new character on Rowan’s television sitcom since the pompous Inspector Raymond Fowler in the BBC comedy The Thin Blue Line nearly 30 years ago, although it is the creation that preceded him that elicits more confrontation.
The hapless fool Mr Bean has often found himself in the kind of farcical situations Trevor faces, and Rowan has acknowledged that there is a similarity between the two.
“If I play a character without words – and Trevor doesn’t say much – you will see something that resembles Mr Bean,” he said.
There will be something that will remind you of him and there are aspects of the story that are reminiscent of the kind of difficulty Mr Bean would have found himself in.
“But Trevor is a more complete character than Mr. Bean, who was a two-dimensional and self-centered anarchist. Trevor is nicer, so hopefully people will cheer him on as he gets into more and more trouble. ‘
The Blackadder star also admitted that he doesn’t actually like shooting TV shows, but he likes to try and see the final product.
“If you watch a TV project like a sandwich, then I like the bread but not the meat in the middle,” he admitted.
New Adventure: His latest comments come as he’s busy promoting his latest comedy Man Vs Bee, which airs on Netflix on Friday
“I like the rehearsal period, I like working on the script and I like the post-production. I appreciate the opportunity to be involved in sound mixing and editing.
‘The filming part is awful as far as I’m concerned, but it’s something you have to do to tell the story. The irony is that this is the part where I should be good at.
‘But I’m playing a singular character, so the pressure is on me to make the show work. With that comes a lot of stress, which isn’t nice.
‘Whatever he does, I always think I can do it better. I felt that with every part I played, aside from Blackadder, because there was a shared responsibility on that, so I felt like I was carrying the burden with others. ‘
Hilarious: In the ten-part series consisting of captivating ten-minute episodes, Rowan plays Trevor, a man recruited by an agency to make a home for wealthy strangers Christian and Nina