John Cleese blasted as he talks about 'cancel culture' on The One Show and calls female presenter "darling"

John Cleese blasted by The One Show viewers as he rants about ‘cancel culture’

Divided viewers with opinions but amused others with request to Michelle Ackerley

John Cleese divided The One Show viewers with his opinions on ‘cancel culture’ last night (Monday November 23).

However, the 82-year-old Monty Python star did tickle some of those watching at home as he addressed host Michelle Ackerley.

The moment came as comedy legend John admitted he is a little hard of hearing.

But despite the arguments on social media created by John’s ‘cancel culture’ views, his manner of speaking to Michelle seemed to escape criticism.

Monday night's The One Show was hosted by Michelle Ackerley and Jermaine Jenas
The One Show hosts Michelle Ackerley and Jermaine Jenas on Monday evening (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

What did John Cleese say about ‘cancel culture’ on The One Show?

John claimed the notion of ‘cancel culture’ has evolved from being linked to civil rights movements to being a form of censorship.

He suggested: “Now it’s morphed into something else which has got a very good side of it, which is let’s be kind to people.

“But it’s also got a rather puritanical side to it.”

John continued: “You can’t make jokes.

“And I think they don’t understand that all humour is critical. You can’t make fun of someone who’s perfect. It’s all about faults.”

Read more: What are Fawlty Towers stars Prunella Scales and John Cleese doing now? How old are they?

He went on: “It depends [on whether] you tease people meanly or with affection.”

Comparing matters to changing room hijinks, the comedian added: “It’s completely harmless, it’s a bonding mechanism.

“So I’m trying to figure out what’s the good side and what is the not good side of it.”

He concluded: “There does seem to be a lot of the time that some of the ‘woke’ are very literal-minded and don’t seem to understand irony.”

John Cleese was appearing on The One Show to promote the release of Clifford the Big Red Dog
John Cleese was appearing on The One Show to promote the release of Clifford the Big Red Dog (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

Did viewers agree?

John’s comments set off lengthy discussions in his mentions about what is or isn’t ‘cancel culture’.

For some people, John’s views ‘made sense’.

“John Cleese using wise words and making perfect sense about cancel culture on #theoneshow @JohnCleese,” one Twitter user wrote.

A second said: “Watching the One Show. What a legend @JohnCleese is on it.”

Others claimed he was the one failing to detect irony in his position.

John Cleese completely misunderstanding what ‘cancel culture’ is.

Someone else, sharing a clip of John’s appearance on the sofa, commented: “Two quite extraordinary minutes of John Cleese completely misunderstanding what ‘cancel culture’ — the thing he’s made his whole life about — is, while confidently stating that a lot of people don’t know what it is. #TheOneShow.”

Another person swiped: “This man has never been funny in my eyes. Why he’s held in such reverence is well beyond me.”

And yet another took a dig: “I suppose The One Show can’t always be great… Is this a quiet Monday?”

As well as Monty Python, John Cleese is best known for Fawlty Towers
John Cleese is best known for Fawlty Towers and Monty Python (Credit: YouTube)

What did John Cleese say to Michelle Ackerley?

John also raised eyebrows as he was introduced by presenter Michelle.

He cheekily replied: “You’ll have to speak up, darling, I’m very deaf.”

Those who reacted to the remark on social media seemed to find John’s familiarity amusing.

One person tweeted with a laughing crying emoji: “Cleese calling whoever the presenter is darling #theoneshow.”

“Love it,” another Twitter user replied, adding two thumbs up emojis to their post.

Andre Rieu was also a guest on The One Show
Andre Rieu was also a guest on The One Show (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

Another person, who also made use of a laughing crying emoji, seemed to feel John should tread carefully using such a term.

“Strike one for Cleese already calling the presenter darling #TheOneShow,” they wrote.

And someone else indicated they felt John was stacking up the faux pas within moments of appearing on screen.

Read more: Fawlty Towers on BBC: Viewers divided over airing of controversial episode

“Poor John Cleese,” they tweeted.

“He’s been on five minutes and already called the female host darling and suggested burning down a theatre #oneshow.”

The One Show airs on BBC One, weekday evenings, from 7pm.

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