John Cleese doesn’t sound happy about removing the N word from his Fawlty Towers play

By MediaMonkey

May 2, 2024

A stage version of classic sitcom Fawlty Towers is nearing the stage, and writer John Cleese has made some curious comments.

The show’s an amalgam of three episodes – The Hotel Inspector, The Germans, and Communication Problems – with a new ending. Cleese has said he’s removed the line where Major Gowen refers to a cricketer with the N word…

…and really, that’s not an issue for anyone is it. No one actually expected him to use it as this point in history, and no one was too fussed it was gone. But Cleese had to make some comments which give the impression he’d rather it stayed.

“Those scenes where the Major used a couple of words you can’t use now, racial slurs they would come under, we took them out… There’s always a problem with comedy that you deal with the literal-minded.. Whenever you’re doing comedy you’re up against the literal-minded and the literal-minded don’t understand irony. And that means if you take them seriously, you get rid of a lot of comedy… Because literal-minded people don’t understand metaphor, irony or comic exaggeration. People who are not literal-minded can see there’s various different interpretations, depending on different contexts.”

Yeah John, not sure that’s the way to approach this.

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