The classic British comedy series ‘Monty Python’ is 50 years old this month, but the sobering fact is that it, along with other shows of the era, would not be made today due to politically correct policing.
The Spanish Inquisition was a series of sketches in a 1970 episode of ‘Monty Python.’ Whenever a character said “I didn’t expect a Spanish Inquisition,” the Spanish Inquisition would turn up with the words “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.” The thing is today, all comedy writers do expect the PC Police Inquisition, so they self-censor. Which is why modern comedy is nowhere near as inventive, or funny, as it was 50 years ago.
There are so many things modern comedy writers can’t say, for fear of being branded ‘racist/anti-Semitic/sexist/homophobic/genderist/misogynistic – or a combination of the aforementioned. Even the mildest joke could get you into serious trouble. And that’s a big problem. As Python John Cleese has said: “All humor is critical. If you start to say ‘We mustn’t; we mustn’t criticize or offend them,’ then humor is gone.”
The Pythons didn’t so much think outside of the box, for them – to quote the zany comedy character Professor Bob Kazinski – there was no box. In his book ‘Very Naughty Boys,’ Robert Sellers notes that Python Graham Chapman was known for his ‘eccentric’ behavior. “Once, when presented with a show-business award at some swish function by Lord Mountbatten, Chapman crawled to the stage on all-fours, clasped the prize between his teeth, squawked, and then returned to his table.” Alas, they don’t make them like Chapman any more.