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03rd Nov 2023

Dawn French says censoring comedians is a ‘slippery slope’

Charlie Herbert

Dawn French

‘If you censor comedians with their material, it’s a slippery slope to nowhere good’

Dawn French has hit out at cancel culture and the ‘censoring’ of comedians.

The Vicar of Dibley star is currently on tour in the UK with her live show, and has recently released her memoir, The T**t Files.

In a recent interview to promote her book, the British comedy legend spoke about her time as part of the wave of alternative comedy that swept the UK scene in the 1980s.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, French agreed there was a “danger” that comedy will struggle to be edgy nowadays because of cancel culture.

She told the publication: “I’m a firm believer that if you censor comedians with their material, it’s a slippery slope to nowhere good.

“The way we (should) cancel people is, just don’t go to their gigs, don’t watch them on telly, don’t buy their books. That’s how you cancel people you don’t like. Let the people who like them have them.

“I believe that the whole point of comedians is to show you your world in a rather edgy way or a soft, fluffy way. Every comedian is different. Where would we be these days without Lenny Bruce or Richard Pryor or all of those people that will probably be massively un-PC now?”

She added: “However, we all evolve and we know there are areas now that you think, ‘Oh, that’s a bit hateful’ or ‘That sounds a bit dodgy’ and I wouldn’t be going there. But young comedians will find a way to say the things they want to say and long may that be the case.”

So-called cancel culture has been a hot topic in recent years, with people divided on what comedians should and shouldn’t be allowed to joke about.

Last year, Monty Python legend John Cleese said he believed it is more difficult for comedians to be funny in today’s society due to a fear that they’ll be ‘cancelled’.

And the likes of Ricky Gervais and Dave Chappelle have caused controversy for jokes they have made about transgender people and the trans community.

Cleese recently assured people that an iconic scene in the stage production of Life of Brian will not be cut due to modern-day sensitivities.

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