Mr. Bean Speaks Out About Restrictions on Speech

And now… Mr. Bean.

(It’s been a slow news cycle, folks. But just wait. I can make this into something.)


Rowan Atkinson has had his say on cancel culture and the effect it can have on comedy, believing you should be allowed to make jokes about ‘absolutely anything’.

Many comedians over recent years have come under fire for their material being too near the knuckle, but Rowan doesn’t believe anything should be off-limits to be politically correct.

Rowan has previously rallied against cancel culture and even campaigned for a modification to the UK’s Religious Hatred Bill in the mid-naughties to allow performers are leeway to criticise religion within their act, as well as to have the notion of ‘insult’ removed from the UK’s Public Order Bill.

He told 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.

‘Every joke has a victim. That’s the definition of a joke. Someone or something or an idea is made to look ridiculous.’

The Mr Bean star also hit back at the suggestion that comedy should exclusively punch up at those in power and never down at those who are more defenceless.

He explained: ‘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.

‘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.’

This is all just very obviously true.

But it’s also true that the people you’re not supposed to punch down at are not really “down.”

Jews, for example – who are the number one people you’re not allowed to joke about – are admittedly the richest and most powerful people on earth. They won’t even deny that outright – if you point it out, they’ll just start talking about how they’re better and smarter than you, and you’re just jealous.

Gays are also not doing too bad – they are also very rich and powerful and have some of the most powerful lobbying groups in the Western world, second only to the Jews. Or women. I don’t know if the gay or women’s lobby is bigger – per capita the gay lobby is obviously much bigger, but the women’s lobby might be technically bigger.

Black people are legitimately down in their station in life – though it’s pretty much entirely their own fault.

And even while I’m not going to try to claim that blacks are powerful or live good lives, in terms of their social status, they are effectively worshiped as gods, with the most powerful people in the world explaining away all their bad behavior.

Meanwhile, the reverse is true – Jews, the most powerful group, are allowed to make fun of poor whites, who are only doing slightly better than blacks because they don’t compulsively kill each other for no reason.

Remember that Jew “comedian” who was doing a joke about how people at Charlottesville are stupid for chanting “Jews will not replace us” and he said that Jews are rich and don’t want your poor people jobs? Then someone in the audience yelled “TV” (as in “we don’t want you using nepotism to replace us in our jobs in the media”), and he started whining about how he was the victim? Then the entire media spammed the clip talking about how victimized Jews are?

The entire thing of “you should punch up, not down” is the joke. No one ever gets attacked for punching down. Well, I mean, if someone was like “have you seen these niggers on crack shooting each other? What is the deal with crackhead niggers shooting each other? They say ‘don’t call me a nigger,’ and it’s like, ‘nigger, I only called you a nigger because you act like a complete nigger,'” that could arguably apply to what Atkinson is talking about. But that’s a rare example, and not really something any white person would have said on a comedy stage since like, the 1970s anyway.

Comedians are currently being attacked for attacking the powerful or those who are deemed by the powerful to be protected classes.

I started this website as more or less a comedy project for edgy teenagers. You see what happened to me. A more somber and perhaps darker tone was struck when I saw what these people will do to you for making fun of them. Then, I decided on genocide.

Haha, just joking. See? Not allowed to make that joke. Can’t say “the Holocaust didn’t happen – but it should have!”

But that’s the bigger issue here: you can’t restrict comedy without restricting all speech. Atkinson campaigned for having a caveat in the “hate” bill for comedy, but comedy is the biggest threat in the first place.

No one is afraid of this:

They’re afraid of this:

Here’s the thing: people have to be allowed to say whatever they want, without really any restrictions. The restrictions there should be on speech have already gone through the courts in America with regard to the First Amendment – obscenity is not speech (if it has no artistic value and exists purely to titillate), you’re not allowed to threaten someone specifically in an imminent manner, and… well, that’s pretty much it.

It’s not actually illegal to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre. If it were, then black people who talk all the way through movies (loudly) would constantly be arrested for yelling “damn, nigga, that shit is fire, dawg!”

If you actually yelled “fire” in a crowded theatre, you could get charged with inducing a panic, but that’s not really a speech issue, and is not federal law. There is no “theatre fire yelling exemption” to the First Amendment. No one has ever shouted fire in a crowded theatre and then taken the case to the Supreme Court, because this is a ridiculous analogy designed to classify any speech that the establishment considers incendiary as criminal. The internet is not a crowded theatre, and anyone can click off of your post or turn their computer off if whatever you wrote is causing them to panic.

Everyone fundamentally understands all of this, aside from stupid people who are manipulated by the media using childlike appeals to emotionality. It would have been nice if more celebrity artists would have spoken out against these restrictions on speech when they were coming into place. For whatever reason, the people speaking out now seem to mostly be British – along with Atkinson, John Cleese and Ricky Gervais are two that come to mind. Joe Rogan has spoken out in America, but he’s a lot more famous for podcasting than he is for being a comedian – his comedy is not good. (Side note: Joe Rogan is a good example of someone who tried really hard at everything he liked and eventually, at 50-something, really got somewhere. So, chin-up, lad. Just keep at it.)

But they didn’t start with comedy, they started with stuff no one liked. That’s when people should have spoken out – before the idea of censoring “distasteful” speech became solidified. Now, it is just accepted that censorship is okay, so it’s simply a matter of modifying what is considered “distasteful.” We call that “the slippery slope” – something that they still claim is “a fallacy.”

Remember when they told you the legalization of homosexuality wouldn’t lead to gay marriage? And then that the legalization of gay marriage wouldn’t lead to grooming children into homosexuality?