John Cleese has been criticized for tweeting a joke about the California wildfires.
The legendary British actor shared the joke — told to him by a restaurant owner in Sacramento, CA. — Wednesday.
“Magnificent,” Cleese said of the gag, which poked fun at the citizens of Paradise, CA.
Wildfires continue to ravage the state of California where the blazes have affected areas in Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, and Malibu, as well as Paradise.
Hundreds of homes have been destroyed and at least 50 people are confirmed to have died as a result of the fires.
Cleese’s tweet incited a mixed reaction on Twitter, with some users branding the joke “tasteless.”
“There’s nothing tasteful about this,” one person wrote, “especially while the fire is still burning.”
However, many others came to the “Monty Python” star’s defence, arguing that humour is needed in times of adversity.
“I lived through Katrina, Rita, Gustav…,” one fan tweeted, “…if you can’t have humour after you’ve lost everything, what can you have?”
Cleese himself later defended the joke, clarifying that he was genuinely told the story by the Sacremento restaurant owner.