- The Washington Times - Monday, February 1, 2016

Famed British comedian John Cleese warns political correctness is killing comedy, saying it’s impossible for comics to be spontaneous if they’re surrounded by “super-sensitive people.”

In a video for Internet forum Big Think, the Monty Python co-founder said he “absolutely” does not subscribe to the mentality that people need to be “protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion.”

He recalled a statement by London psychiatrist Robin Skynner, with whom he’s worked on two books about psychology and psychiatry.

“[Mr. Skynner] said, ‘If people can’t control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people’s behavior.’ And when you’re around super-sensitive people, you cannot relax and be spontaneous because you have no idea what’s going to upset them next,” Mr. Cleese said in the video.

“And that’s why I’ve been warned recently don’t to go to most university campuses because the political correctness has been taken from being a good idea, which is let’s not be mean in particular to people who are not able to look after themselves very well — that’s a good idea — to the point where any kind of criticism or any individual or group could be labeled cruel,” he explained.

“And the whole point about humor, the whole point about comedy, and believe you me I thought about this, is that all comedy is critical,” he said. “If you start to say, ‘We mustn’t; we mustn’t criticize or offend them,’ then humor is gone. With humor goes a sense of proportion. And then as far as I’m concerned, you’re living in 1984.”

Mr. Cleese isn’t the first comedian to slam political correctness on college campuses. Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Larry the Cable Guy have all stated that they avoid performing at universities because because they believe students are overly sensitive.

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