John Cleese has a faulty sense of humour about the Irish

The comedian’s mockery of Irish people and names began in 1975 and continued this week

Inane: John Cleese’s remarks have started to take the gloss off his comedy standing. Photograph: James D Morgan/Getty

Inane: John Cleese’s remarks have started to take the gloss off his comedy standing. Photograph: James D Morgan/Getty

Near the top of the list of people who should never have been let near Twitter stands John Cleese. Before social media he was regarded, in Ireland as much as everywhere else, as a comedy colossus. From Monty Python’s dead-parrot sketch and Ministry of Funny Walks to Fawlty Towers, he was outrageous, hilarious and absurdist. Even his political background as a campaigner for the thoroughly inoffensive Liberal Democrats suggests a comic beyond reproach.

Yes, we may have experienced the very occasional twinge thinking back to Fawlty Towers and David Kelly’s bumbling Irish builder, O’Reilly. But it seemed almost like a false memory – the mere shadow of a blot on the CV of a titan of chuckles.

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