John Cleese angers fans on Twitter with anti-Irish joke

John Cleese

British comedy legend John Cleese has found himself in hot water with the public after posting an ‘Irish joke’ on Twitter.

The Monty Python and Fawlty Towers star showed that he may have lost his golden touch as his joke could be at best described as old fashioned.

However, at worst, it could be seen to be indulging in offensive and offensive ‘stupid Irishman’ tropes that should remain a thing of the past.

John Cleese

Cleese Tweeted to his followers: “A man walks into a bar, and asks the barman if he’s heard the latest Irish joke.

“The barman says ” I should warn you I’m Irish, and so is the owner of the bar over there, and so are Seamus and Sean here, our oldest customers. Now. Are you still going to tell the joke ?’

“And the man says ‘ No ! ‘

“’ No, I don’t want to have to explain it four times.’”

While many of his fans enjoyed the joke, there were plenty of people who took exception to what he had posted.

One angry follower posted: “Still waiting for an explanation. Can I guess? Is the joke that Irish people are thick??? If so, how about you reword it but swap “Irish” for “black” or “woman”. How does the joke sound now? Still think it’s funny? So sad, I admire your work so much, but this racism is disgusting.”

Another said: “My God @John Cleese I’m very disappointed in this thread! Surely to Christ, this Punch Garbage isn’t still currency? Get with the 21st Century folks!”

One person replied: “A man walks into a dilapidated English bar full of aging Brexiteers crying over warm beer and asks. “Can anyone remember when John Cleese said anything funny in the last 20 years”?”

Another poster said: “Begorrah & bejabbers! Sure, isn’t it just some harmless, old fashioned, anti Irish xenophobia, that last acceptable form of anglocentric, institutionalised bigotry … I dtír na ndall, is rí fear na leathshúile as they say.”

One poster said that many the English need to look after their own country’s reputation saying: “I just don’t approve of anyone encouraging Anti-Irishness! It has a social impact! Britain is the only country where this is done! It was used to justify Occupation! It’s not true, just right and shouldn’t be encouraged!

“In fact pretty much the whole world over, the Irish are held in very high regard for their civic, political, sportsman, business, academic, artistic achievements globally – despite such a small country/population! Britain, on the other hand, is NOT held in very high regard.”

Despite the backlash, a number of comments were from fans who were keen to point out that it was only a joke.

Cleese followed up his post with a couple of ‘English jokes’.

Its not the first time Cleese has faced a Twitter backlash after making seemingly disparaging remarks about Ireland.

In 2019, he was criticised after he complained that letters in Irish words don’t make the same sounds as they would in the English language.

Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcallingJoin our community