Two Views On Political Correctness: John Cleese And Paul F. Tompkins

I’ve been sitting on these two videos for a while, not realizing that they totally go together. They are both about political correctness. So they go together. But they are opposing views. So I’m putting them together.

John Cleese thinks “we can’t have comedy and political correctness at the same time.”

Paul F. Tompkins thinks “political correctness keeps comedy fresh.”

There are more subtleties to their arguments than that. So, watch these videos because they are interesting and you’re a smart person who really likes watching interesting things! You can find more about the John Cleese video here. You can find a transcription of what Tompkins says in his video here. You can find nothing here.

I didn’t know what the big think (the people who made these videos) was before now, but it seems pretty cool. Here.

7 thoughts on “Two Views On Political Correctness: John Cleese And Paul F. Tompkins

  1. Isn’t the real basis of the discussion which type of comedy (or creativity of any kind) it actually is? Humor, in my opinion, can be active, or reactive. A reaction to pc is to make fun of it.
    On the other hand, from an active humorist, the politics have to serve the art, not be personal. And since the anger at something that drives many humorist is reactive…..
    Cleeves, in my opinion, started knee-jerk reactive, see the pythons, and has moved to a much broader scope and more active standpoint once he got established. And once his personal demons got fixed.
    Which may be an answer.
    Just a thought. Being a comic is your department
    Nice post.


    1. Hmm I think I got lost in your definitions of active and reactive and how they come into play with political correctness. Are you saying that “active” humor is personal and self-driven, whereas “reactive” humor comes from reacting to other people and things, which can be more offensive? And are you saying active humor is better than reactive humor? Have to clarify before I can respond I guess haha


  2. reactive: stream of consciousness:fireside theater. improv: jonathan winters.
    active: louie anderson, mark twain, the great story tellers.
    consider, revise, intensively think,
    then put up a tight form, with cues,
    that lets you improvise and add emotion
    the difference, in my mind, between the two forms:
    is what you do momentary phenomenon, reported as a reaction, newspaper style,
    or things common to all people.
    reflected on.
    not p.c.? Or not promoting a particular political problem of the moment. the question, in my humble opinion,
    is not what is pc or not,
    but does what you are saying have long term and common value.
    I haven’t seen you work, obviously,, but your tweets are classic- like will rogers. just my opinion. very nice blog
    (ps this has gotten a bit long, so I will continue to read, but won’t bother you again with my views. as i said before- you are the comedian)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha why thanks for the compliments! And don’t silence yourself! I suppose I think of comedy differently than you, but it’s always great to hear different views. Thanks for the comments :)

      Liked by 1 person

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