Monty Python actor John Cleese must have rolled his eyes as many of us did when Simpson’s actor Hank Azaria apologized to “every single Indian person” for his portrayal of the character Apu. Cleese being Cleese, however, decided to do what comedians are supposed to do, and made a joke at Azaria’s expense on Twitter.
It all started when Azaria decided to bow to the woke mobs and feel regret for voicing the beloved character for 30 years, ending his time as the character in 2020 after backlash had arisen around it.
“I apologize for my part in creating that and participating in that,” Azaria said according to Variety. “Part of me feels I need to go round to every single Indian person in this country and apologize.”
“I really didn’t know any better,” Azaria said. “I didn’t think about it. I was unaware of how much relative advantage I had received in this country as a white kid from Queens.”
John Cleese felt inspired by Azaria’s apology and wasted no time in making his own.
“Not wishing to be left behind by Hank Azaria, I would like to apologise on behalf on Monty Python for all the many sketches we did making fun of white English people We’re sorry for any distress we may have caused,” tweeted Cleese.
Not wishing to be left behind by Hank Azaria, I would like to apologise on behalf on Monty Python for all the many sketches we did making fun of white English people
We're sorry for any distress we may have caused
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) April 13, 2021
Cleese has been one of those comedians resisting the idea of wokeness and social justice tyranny over our culture. He and his fellow Python alumni have been known to bite back at ridiculous concepts and people over the years. Cleese, in particular, has used Twitter as a way to poke the bear and signal that he doesn’t care how outraged it gets.
When the BBC’s controller of comedy commission, Shane Allen, actually boasted that the BBC had left behind the era of six Oxbridge white blokes, Cleese fired back that Python was actually very diverse for its time.
“BBC’s Head of Comedy puts Monty Python’s lack of originality down to a surfeit of education and racist bias,” tweeted Cleese. “Unfair! We were remarkably diverse FOR OUR TIME.”
“We had three grammar-school boys, one a poof, and Gilliam, though not actually black, was a Yank. And NO slave-owners,” he added.
BBC's Head of Comedy puts Monty Python's lack of originality down to a surfeit of education and racist bias
Unfair ! We were remarkably diverse FOR OUR TIME
We had three grammar-school boys, one a poof, and Gilliam, though not actually black, was a Yank. And NO slave-owners
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) June 20, 2018
Monty Python actor Terry Gilliam also fired back at Allen:
Speaking at a press conference at the Karlovy Vary film festival, where he was presenting his new film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Gilliam said: “It made me cry: the idea that … no longer six white Oxbridge men can make a comedy show. Now we need one of this, one of that, everybody represented… this is bullshit. I no longer want to be a white male, I don’t want to be blamed for everything wrong in the world: I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian… My name is Loretta and I’m a BLT, a black lesbian in transition.”
He added: “[Allen’s] statement made me so angry, all of us so angry. Comedy is not assembled, it’s not like putting together a boy band where you put together one of this, one of that everyone is represented.”
The truth is that actors are there to portray people they’re not. Apu was not a malicious character, in fact, he was a highly regarded part of The Simpsons. Azaria has nothing to apologize for, nor do any actors who portray people they aren’t whether it’s racial, sexual, or otherwise. No one faults Robert Downey Jr. for his black face in Tropic Thunder, nor should they. Likewise, they shouldn’t be getting mad at Azaria.
Regardless, Azaria caved and gave in to the woke mobs who came for him. Cleese and his fellow Pythoners have not.
Be like Monty Python.