February 06, 2008

Cleese Quote

Great interview with John Cleese in The Onion today......especially enjoyed this section regarding controversy and the Black Knight.

AVC: Life Of Brian was very controversial. A Fish Called Wanda generated controversy as well. Have you ever reached a point in a project where you thought "Maybe I've gone too far?"

JC: No, I don't think I've ever had that thought. I've often thought to myself, "Have I stepped over a line?" Or, "Is this particular line over the line?" In the German episode of Fawlty Towers, I sensed it on two or three lines. And funnily enough, when one of my favorite people at the BBC rang me up and said "There's two lines here we're worried about," I said "I'm delighted to tell you I've already cut them."

No, I've always kept my eye on things like that, but I also know that unless your comedy is completely bland, there will always be someone somewhere who's offended by it. You can't really avoid some offense, so the question is not "Will you offend people?" but "What sort of proportions will you offend them in?" I'll give you a good example. The producers of Holy Grail actually wanted to cut the Black Knight scene, where the limbs get cut off, because they thought it would worry people. Of course, 95 percent of the audience thinks it's the funniest scene in the film. Two percent of the audience don't like it, because it seems so violent. So do you cut the scene so that two percent don't object to it, and deprive 95 percent of their favorite scene?

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