John Cleese Preemptively Cancelled Himself While Trashing The ‘Woke Rules’ Of The Cambridge Union Over A Hitler Impersonation

Comedy legend John Cleese recently announced (back in August) that he’s making a documentary about “cancel culture.” He’s doing so (and this is what he declared) because “there’s so much I really don’t understand” about “so-called political correctness.” This seemed to be a genuinely enjoyable endeavor for the at-times controversial Monty Python and Fawlty Towers star, and he declared that he was “delighted” to take on the project. It must be noted that the doc’s title is John Cleese: Cancel Me, and well, something has happened that has led Cleese to actually, you know, cancel himself.

At least, Cleese has gone on a tear to “blacklist” himself preemptively while pulling out of a scheduled Friday performance. Via Variety, Cleese was on tap to give a talk at the Cambridge Union, until he learned that the Union decided to “blacklist art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon. The historian had performed a mock impression of Hitler ranting, during a debate last week on art and good taste at the Union.”

Cleese reacted to this blacklisting of Graham-Dixon by preemptively pulling out of his own talk, and he did so while referencing his own Hitler impression from Monty Python [he also performed an impression of Hitler’s Nazi March (and mustache) in Fawlty Towers]. On Twitter, Cleese made the announcement: “I was looking forward to talking to students at the Cambridge Union this Friday, but I hear that someone there has been blacklisted for doing an impersonation of Hitler.” He then declared, “I regret that I did the same on a Monty Python show, so I am blacklisting myself before someone else does.”

The comedian added, “I apologise to anyone at Cambridge who was hoping to talk with me, but perhaps some of you can find a venue where woke rules do not apply.”

It’s worth noting that Cleese is a Cambridge alumnus. Yet as the years have passed, jokes that were considered comedic in a pull-no-punches way, decades ago, simply won’t fly in a culture that’s growing increasingly more inclusive. Despite determining to make a documentary on the subject of “cancel culture,” it seems that Cleese has decided not to take that stage when confrontation could await him. The timing of this situation clearly isn’t planned, but still, maybe this will be part of the documentary. (You never know.)