John Cleese Defends the California Wildfire Joke That Upset Some Tweeters

John Cleese made a joke that divided  Twitter, catching heat (no pun intended) after posting a joke about the California wildfires.  It’s reminiscent of the Tsunami joke that put the breaks on Gilbert Gottfried’s career, but in this case, fans are coming out defending the beloved comedian.  Cleese tweeted late last night that he was invited to a Sacramento restaurant by its owner.  He wrote, “she said last night several people came in to eat who were from Paradise, the place that just burned to the ground. She told me they wanted everything they ordered flambeed,” and then he tagged the line, “Magnificent….”.

People weren’t happy, calling the joke “as funny as the people that burned the joke,” and “in poor taste”. It wasn’t a lot of people complaining but oddly, that was enough to make the media rounds this morning with headlines that the comic “upset fans” and divided Twitter, and got Slammed. But Cleese went back on Twitter to defend or at least clarify his tweet.  Although the tweet had the style of a monologue joke, he said that he had actually been told that joke by the owner of the restaurant, and he thought that it was magnificent that they were holding their sense of humor during such a difficult time.  “But it was their joke,” he wrote, “and they were the ones who had suffered. That’s what makes it magnificent.”

The response to the follow up tweet was overwhelmingly in Cleese’s favor; the majority responding this morning are defending the beloved comedian, like Twitter user Jimbo Slice who asks “Why is it so hard to believe people would joke about their own misfortune, it’s like the easiest way to ease the burden ever so slightly.” Another Tweeter defended Cleese saying “lighten up, laughing through pain is RELIEF.”  A third was shocked that the joke even needed to be explained. “What is wrong with people?”  and yet another used laughing crying emojis to react to the idea of people questioning a Python