United Kingdom

Comedians should be free to decide what jokes to tell, says Monty Python legend Michael Palin

Sir Michael Palin has warned of the dangers of telling comedians which jokes they are allowed to make and of PC culture stifling humour.

The Monty Python star, 77, said: 'If something is funny and makes people laugh, then I'm afraid that just happens. 

'Any attempt by authority to say, "No, you've got to make sure that we're portrayed in a serious manner" is a dangerous thing.

Sir Michael Palin (pictured) has warned of the dangers of telling comedians which jokes they are allowed to make and of PC culture stifling humour

'Everybody, myself included, should be up for being laughed at or joked with.

'Comedy is very important, especially in times of crisis. One needs jokes, one needs laughter. But you shouldn't stifle it by decree.' 

However Sir Michael added he objects if comedians try to get 'laughs from bullying and belittling people'.

The star, who was knighted last year, said that 'the laughter that Python created was from general silliness. And looking at human behaviour and saying that, 'we're all idiots'.'

Sir Michael said he was relieved that none of the 'fear' he felt when he made his first foray into travel presenting was obvious to viewers.

 The Monty Python star, 77, added he objects if comedians try to get 'laughs from bullying and belittling people' (pictured, Michael Palin in Monty Python's Life of Brian)

He was worried, at the time, about whether the show 'would work, would it be a complete disaster and who was going to watch it?,' he admitted.

'Inside, I was full of anxiety and misgivings and worries... about whether I'd be up to it and all that. But looking at them I managed to sort of suppress those, mostly, on camera.

'I was pleased about that. I looked as though I was enjoying myself when in fact it was difficult!'

Michael Palin, Travels Of A Lifetime begins at 8pm on October 4 on BBC Two. 

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