John Cleese to host documentary series Cancel Me about 'woke generation'

Legendary UK comedian John Cleese has been announced as the host of a new documentary series that will "set forth into the minefield of cancel culture to explore why a new 'woke' generation is trying to rewrite the rules on what can and can't be said".

John Cleese: Cancel Me will see the Fawlty Towers and Monty Python star interview activists and so-called "victims of cancel culture".

The announcement comes after Cleese has caused controversy in recent years for comments labelled by some as "transphobic" and for suggesting London is "not really an English city anymore".

"I'm delighted to have a chance to find out, on camera, about all the aspects of so-called political correctness," the 81-year-old said.

"There's so much I really don't understand, like: how the impeccable idea of 'Let's all be kind to people' has been developed in some cases ad absurdum.

"I want to bring the various reasonings right out in the open so that people can be clearer in their minds what they agree with, what they don't agree with, and what they still can't make their mind up about."

The show will be broadcast on the UK's Channel 4.

At the currently taking place Edinburgh TV Festival 2021, Channel 4's head of factual Danny Horan said the series was being made "because we felt we needed to address [cancel culture] somehow and [Cleese has] very strong views on that".

Indeed, the Life of Brian star has tweeted a lot about the "woke". 

Someone who is "woke" means they are "alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice", according to the Oxford English Dictionary's 2017 entry for the word. However, the term is increasingly used pejoratively by media pundits, politicians and on social media to describe a vast and growing range of actions or statements they disapprove of.

Cleese himself has been labelled "woke" for some of his own views, including recently for calling out anti-vaxxers.

"I think there's a lot of things to address in that series that he is very keen to understand what happened and why it's happened," Horan continued, according to Variety

"[Cleese] was a comedian for the last few decades who had a lot of comedy [some of which now] feels outdated so he's questioning some of that as well. So I think it'd be really interesting. It's an area that he's exploring."

A release date for John Cleese: Cancel Me has not been announced, nor have any plans for the show coming to New Zealand screens.