British comedy icon John Cleese has never shied away from controversy throughout his long career. The actor and comedian, who hasn't left full curmudgeon mode for some time, pulled out of an upcoming talk at the Cambridge Union scheduled for November 12 citing concerns over "woke rules" over Hitler impersonations he's done on his two signature series, Monty Python and Fawlty Towers, decades ago.
John Cleese's Impression in Monty Python and Fawlty Towers
A Cambridge alumnus, Cleese responded to a decision by the Union, which is a debating society, to blacklist art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon, who performed a mock impression of Hitler ranting, during a debate last week on art and good taste at the Union. The Union president Keir Bradwell announced the Graham-Dixon ban subsequently afterward. Cleese made the announcement via Twitter. During the Monty Python sketch, the actor played the infamous German dictator under the alias "Mr. Hilter" temporarily taking refuge at a boarding home in a season one episode "The Naked Ant" alongside Graham Chapman and Michael Palin (also playing members of the Third Reich). In Fawlty Towers, it was in S01E06 "The Germans" where Cleese did another impression.
The Oscar nominee is no stranger to defending past work not considered politically correct from his days with the troupe (most famously for the 1979 allegorical satire Monty Python and The Life of Brian, which drew the ire of Catholics upon release, who accused the film of blasphemy. Cleese also opened up about his TERF views and as a cancel culture critic. Currently, the actor and Channel 4 created a documentary called Cancel Me, which explores the phenomenon. Among supporting Cleese is opportunist swine, media personality & Tucker Carlson's left butt-cheek tattoo Piers Morgan tweeting, "Bravo, Mr Cleese. (Words I never thought I'd write, but this is an admirable response to yet more absurd campus cancel culture cr*p.)"