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John Cleese has microphone taken away after making slavery joke

He was speaking at SXSW in Austin

By Will Richards

John Cleese appearing on a talk show
John Cleese. (Picture: YouTube)

John Cleese made a slavery joke at a speaking event in Austin, Texas last week (March 11) which resulted in the comedian having his microphone taken away.

The actor, writer and comedian was hosting the ‘John Cleese in Conversation’ event as part of SXSW, where he was joined on stage by comedians Duclé Sloan, Jim Gaffigan and Ricky Velez.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cleese began discussing colonialism with his panellists, saying: “[People] get competitive about this business of being oppressed. You do know the British have been slaves twice, right?”

Sloan then reportedly took Cleese’s microphone away from him, telling the crowd: “I saved a comic whose career I respect.”

Cleese, now without a microphone, continued with his speech though, adding: “I want reparations from Italy. And then the Normans came over in 1066… they were horrible people from France and they colonised us for 30 years and we need reparations there too, I’m afraid.”

“The thing is, I’m going to be dead soon,” he later told the crowd of the controversial joke. “That’s why I’m in favour of global warming – I don’t want to be cold ever again.”

According to the report, a number of the comedians on stage with Cleese tried to shut down his joke, before the event’s moderator, Dan Pasternack, told the audience: “And this is why your phones are locked up.”

Cleese is set to release a documentary on cancel culture, titled ‘John Cleese: Cancel Me’, later this year.

“I’m trying to figure out the good side and of it and the not so good,” he said of his intentions for the documentary. “Some, not all, of the woke don’t understand anything about irony,” he added.