John Cleese, a member of legendary comedy troupe Monty Python and a vital comedic presence over the years, is in trouble for a joke he made about people from Liverpool.
Cleese, 81, made a joke about Ford investing around $320 million at a factory in the area.
Half-inch is slang for stealing. The stereotype is that people from Liverpool, also known as Scousers (from Scouse stew), are prone to stealing.
The joke didn’t land and understandably upset some people. One person called it a “shit joke.”
Another accused him of stealing an old joke.
Never meet your heroes, said one user.
It gets more brutal from there.
There’s also the possibility that Cleese is drumming up publicity for his TV series called John Cleese: Cancel Me. The show will follow Cleese as he talks to cancelled people and the people who cancelled them.
Cleese had this to say about the new show:
I’m delighted to have a chance to find out, on camera, about all the aspects of so-called political correctness. There’s so much I really don’t understand, like: how the impeccable idea of ‘Let’s all be kind to people’ has been developed in some cases ad absurdum. I want to bring the various reasonings right out in the open so that people can be clearer in their minds what they agree with, what they don’t agree with, and what they still can’t make their mind up about.
Cleese also starred in a popular British show called Fawlty Towers in the ’70s. An episode of the show was removed over racial slurs used to describe the West Indies cricket team. The decision angered Cleese.
“If you put nonsense words into the mouth of someone you want to make fun of, you’re not broadcasting their views, you’re making fun of them. The major was an old fossil left over from decades before. We were not supporting his views, we were making fun of them. If they can’t see that – if people are too stupid to see that – what can one say?”
Whether John Cleese is playing an elaborate game or he’s just ignorant of current societal standards remains to be seen.