Monty Python’s John Cleese: ‘Some Cultures Are Superior to Others’

Evan Poellinger | May 6, 2024

British comedian John Cleese says that it should not be controversial to characterize some cultures as being better than others.

In an interview with the Oldie Magazine, Cleese expressed his concerns surrounding the cultural changes that had taken place in the United Kingdom:

“I think that some cultures are superior to others, and we should not be frightened to say so. A society that goes in for female genital mutilation is abhorrent and I happen to think that if people come to live in Britain, they should accept and adhere to our values.”

“I understand that some 20 percent of Muslims in the UK would like to see Sharia law and I believe that's wrong,” Cleese added.

Such observations concerning culture and demographics are not unusual for Cleese. On May 29, 2019, Cleese tweeted that “Some years ago I opined that London was not really an English city any more. Since then, virtually all my friends from abroad have confirmed my observation. So there must be some truth in it… I note also that London was the UK city that voted most strongly to remain in the EU.”

After receiving backlash from a number of people, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Cleese did not retract his claim, declaring “that was not a racist remark.”

Along with his observations on demographics, Cleese has also been highly critical of the state of modern comedy, elements of which he blamed on political correctness. Speaking about a stage adaptation of his hit comedy show Fawlty Towers, Cleese noted that they would be removing racial slurs from the adaptation of one episode, as, “there’s always a problem in comedy where you’re dealing with the literal minded”:

“Whenever you’re doing comedy, you’re up against the literal minded and the literal minded don’t understand irony. And that means if you take them seriously you get rid of a lot of comedy because literal minded people don’t understand metaphors, they don’t understand comic exaggeration.”

Cleese’s observations seem to make it clear that, when it comes to the state of the United Kingdom’s culture and comedy, the present situation is no laughing matter.