Music

John Cleese mocks Hank Azaria as he apologises for ‘making fun of white people’

John Cleese has issued a mock apology for “making fun of white English people” in the hit sketch show Monty Python.

The comedian and actor starred as part of the satirical five-piece comedy troupe when it shot to fame after first airing in 1969.

But white US actor Hank Azaria recently apologised for his portrayal of Indian shopkeeper Apu in The Simpons.

And John’s mocking snipe was aimed at Hank who apologised to “every single Indian person” for voicing the Kwik-E-Mart clerk.

In a tweet to his 5.7million Twitter followers, John sniped: “Not wishing to be left behind by Hank Azaria, I would like to apologise on behalf on Monty Python for all the many sketches we did making fun of white English people.

“We're sorry for any distress we may have caused.”

In another tweet on Wednesday evening, former Fawlty Towers star John was discussing the so-called 'woke-ism'.

He stressed: “Started out as a good idea – ''Let's be nice to people'' – and finished up as a humorless, censorious, literal-minded, posturing idiocy."

Hank has played the Indian-American character Apu since 1989 and later went to be the focus of controversy when a documentary aired discussing white actors voicing black, Asian and characters from many other ethnicities.

"It just didn't feel right,” revealed Azaria in an interview with the New York Times.

"Once I realised that that was the way this character was thought of, I just didn't want to participate in it anymore.

"What happened with this character is a window into an important issue. I can be accountable and try to make up for it as best I can.”

Early this year The Simpsons revealed character Dr Julius would be played by a black actor for first time in 30 years.

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The change came after the hit show was keen make a commitment to no longer having white actors voicing black characters.

White actor Harry Shearer has played Dr Julius Hibbert and many other leading characters across three decades.

Shearer, whose voice is synonymous with the hit animated sitcom, also does the voices for long-time characters Mr Burns, Principal Skinner, Smithers, Reverend Lovejoy and Ned Flanders.

But veteran voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson is now the new voice of Springfield's beloved doctor.

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