Monty Python’s Eric Idle shoots Dave Chappelle, Elon Musk

Tech journalist Kara Swisher interviewed legendary British comedian Eric Idle on Monday, where he spoke at length about where comedy was in its heyday and said he hated conservatives.

Swisher asked, “How do you see the culture of abandonment today, because now everyone’s under scrutiny?” and asked if Idle had seen Dave Chappelle’s recent monologue on Saturday Night Live.

“For example, what do you think of comedians like Dave Chappelle saying he’s subject to censorship?” she asked.

Idle seemed to disregard Chappelle’s assertion that cancel culture is a phenomenon because, “Well, where does he say that? On ‘SNL,'” he later added, “Well, you don’t get canceled that often, do you? If you complained in your room I would have much more sympathy.”

Swisher agreed, “Right, so he’s not paying the price, he’s just saying he’s paying the price.”

None of the commenters mentioned how Chappelle was ousted from venues and assaulted with physical violence for his comedy routines.

A picture of Dave Chappelle during Saturday Night Live.
The comedian seemed to disregard Dave Chappelle’s claim that cancel culture is a phenomenon.
Will Heath/NBC via Getty Images

However, Idle gave an example of what worries him, saying, “I didn’t like it when Bill Maher complains about the audience because they don’t laugh, they tell you they don’t think it’s funny. You shouldn’t complain about the audience. Nothing is missing from the audience. If they don’t laugh at your jokes, something is wrong with your joke. And so… To be honest, I don’t really understand that kind of attitude.”

Swisher acknowledged that Chappelle’s humor can be funny but denounced his comment on transgender people as creepy, to which Idle agreed: “Yeah.”

Idle also took a dig at Twitter CEO Elon Musk, paraphrasing one of his own tweets that said paying for verification is like “buying a petting zoo and then charging the animals.”

An image of comedian Eric Idle.
“The audience lacks nothing. If they don’t laugh at your jokes, there’s something wrong with your joke,” Idle said during the interview.
Corbis via Getty Images

He also recalled an earlier tweet in which he said: “I don’t believe in free speech for fascists. It’s like putting diesel in a Tesla.”

“I grew up in this world,” he said, explaining that he was a “war baby” from World War II, noting that fascism “was very real to us, fascism — what can happen when you’re a person Letting the country take over, that still sounds very strong in my soul.”

He also slammed conservatives in his own country: “I hate them a lot, I’ve always hated conservatives, I’m sorry to say I’m very biased towards them, they’re horrible people.”

By comparison, fellow Monty Python comedy troupe John Cleese has railed against the abandonment culture, even as he describes himself as a “liberal.”

A picture of Michael Palin and Eric Idle during a performance.
Idle also slammed conservatives in his own country, saying he was “very biased against them” and that “they are terrible people”.
©Orion Pictures Corp/courtesy of E

He explained in a recent interview that even he would succumb to the abandonment culture if he tried to work for the BBC today. “The BBC didn’t come up to me and say, ‘Would you like to have some hour-long shows?’ And if they did, I’d say, ‘Not on your stomach!’ I wouldn’t get five minutes into the first show before I was canceled or censored,” he revealed on BBC Radio 4’s Today program.

Cleese was a keynote speaker at the FreedomFest conference in Las Vegas in July, where he observed, “You can only create in an atmosphere of freedom where you don’t critically examine everything you say before moving on.”

He also noted, “A lot of comedians are sitting there now and when they think of something they’re like, ‘Can I get away with this? I do not think so. So-and-so got in trouble and he said that, oh she said that.’ you see what i mean? And that is the death of creativity.” Monty Python’s Eric Idle shoots Dave Chappelle, Elon Musk

Emma Bowman

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