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Rowan Atkinson Says Cancel Culture Is Hurting Comedy: ‘Every Joke Has a Victim’

"In a proper free society, you should be allowed to make jokes about absolutely anything."

Rowan Sebastian Atkinson the british comedian and actor at the photocall about his new movie Johnny English - Man only lives three times in the hotel The Fontanes on Thursday 06.09.2018 in Hamburg | usage worldwide Photo by: picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Rowan Atkinson

picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

“Mr. Bean” won’t be Mr. Politically Correct anytime soon.

British comedian Rowan Atkinson claimed that it’s “comedy’s job to offend” in an interview with the Irish Times.

“It does seem to me that the job of comedy is to offend, or have the potential to offend, and it cannot be drained of that potential,” Atkinson said of cancel culture. “Every joke has a victim. That’s the definition of a joke. Someone or something or an idea is made to look ridiculous.”

The “Man vs. Bee” Netflix star continued, “I think you’ve got to be very, very careful about saying what you’re allowed to make jokes about. You’ve always got to kick up? Really? What if there’s someone extremely smug, arrogant, aggressive, self-satisfied, who happens to be below in society? They’re not all in houses of parliament or in monarchies.”

He added, “There are lots of extremely smug and self-satisfied people in what would be deemed lower down in society, who also deserve to be pulled up. In a proper free society, you should be allowed to make jokes about absolutely anything.”

Atkinson’s new series on Netflix, “Man vs. Bee,” premieres June 24.

Atkinson isn’t the only comedian to speak out against cancel culture lately. Jerrod Carmichael said that the social phenom is “made up” for political and financial purposes.

“If you make art and it causes some contention or it causes some whatever, I mean, that’s part of it, but the cancellation thing, I think that’s just to give boring people something interesting to talk about, like a ghost villain,” the “Rothaniel” star said.

Carmichael later shared, “The comedians that are forging this self-created war, I get it. It’s good for ticket sales and it’s good to have an opponent. [But] at some point, it becomes petulant. It’s like children like, ‘Why are you mad at me?’ A lot of it is self-created.”

Kevin Hart also said that he doesn’t “give a shit” about cancel culture, personally. “If somebody has done something truly damaging then, absolutely, a consequence should be attached,” Hart said. “But when you’re talking, ‘Someone said! They need to be taken [down]!’ Shut the fuck up! What are you talking about?”

Meanwhile, Seth Rogen admitted that some jokes don’t “age well” in a 2021 interview, adding, “To me, it’s not worth complaining about to the degree I see other comedians complaining about.”

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