By David Laycock • 22 May 2023 • 23:23
Cleese removes song from Life Of Brian stage show that may offend trans community
Credit: Bruce Baker
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
British comedy legend John Cleese has revealed that a joke from his upcoming theatre adaptation of Monty Python’s The Life of Brian had to be removed for fear of causing offence to the trans community.
The joke from the classic film involves a character named Stan expressing a desire to be called Loretta and have babies. Cleese says his co-performers advised against including the joke. The 83-year-old comedian expressed his confusion over changing sensitivities:
“Here you have something that hasn’t received any complaints in the 40 years that I’ve known about it, and suddenly we can’t do it because it might offend people. What should one make of that?”
The Life of Brian film was very controversial on its release in 1979, but back then people were more concerned that it mocked Christianity, leading to bans and protests. Here you can see the original sketch from the film as posted by Weidmoo on YouTube.
Many would say it’s clear that the scene is mocking the misdirected fictional group The People’s Front of Judea, but parallels will be raised with the rewriting of Roald Dahl’s books. It’s an argument of free speech versus cancel culture.
With Cleese’s vocal distaste for censorship, it seems strange that he has bowed to such a concession. He may agree that we should be allowed to understand and learn from some of the possible missteps of history by enjoying books and films as they were when they were created, rather than fearing they might offend.
Meanwhile, the decision to revive Fawlty Towers may counter this, with many believing he might ruin a classic piece of British comedy.
The new Life of Brian stage production is due to open in London in 2024 and will likely be a roaring success, but may disappoint many diehard fans if it doesn’t hold true to the original comedy classic.
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Dave Laycock has always written. Poems, songs, essays, academic papers as well as newspaper articles; the written word has always held a great fascination for him and he is never happier than when being creative. From a musical background, Dave has travelled the world performing and also examining for a British music exam board. He also writes, produces and performs and records music. All this aside, he is currently fully focussed on his journalism and can’t wait to share more stories from around the world and beyond.
Symbolic of his struggle against reality. Absolutely says it all. What is going on in our country. Now we have a theatre that wants to put on a play for a black audience, no whites allowed. God help us all and I am not religious.
I’m a man and I want to have babies womb or no womb if yer don’t like it don’t go simples yeh John please don’t change a thing it was hilarious n still is or does it mean that every welsh woman is a tart then wot about big noses no one’s complaining about wolfs nipple chips are they not even the vegans ffs
Fed up with these idiots who are offended over everything. More actors/comedians etc should stand their ground and not change a thing.
Ricky Gervais will be welcome addition to your show, he will have the b*lls to tell them where to go
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