'Monty Python' star John Cleese denies reports of dropping 'Life of Brian' scene over trans references

'Loretta' scene features character saying, 'It’s every man’s right to have babies'

A scene from 'Monty Python's Life of Brian'
A scene from "Monty Python's Life of Brian" | Screenshot/YouTube

“Cancel culture” might be coming for a classic — and some say blasphemous — "Monty Python" film.

The Life of Brian, the 1979 British comedy starring Python alum John Cleese, Eric Idle and Terry Jones, is in the process of being adapted as a stage show, which, for a film that has been called the “most blasphemous” ever, is no small feat.

One of the challenges, according to Cleese, has been the cultural acceptance of transgenderism, which could threaten the film’s famous “Loretta” scene in which a male character declares his desire to become a woman and get pregnant.

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In the scene, a character named Stan reveals he wants to be referred to as “Loretta” and says it’s “every man’s right to have babies.”

“I want to be a woman ... It’s my right as a man,” the character claims, adding: “I want to have babies ... It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.”

When Cleese scoffs at the notion and says, “You can’t have babies!” Stan replies, “Don’t you oppress me!”

While times have clearly changed since "Brian," Cleese announced on social media that he has no intention of cutting the scene, despite feedback from American actors during a read through of the script.

He tweeted: “A few days ago, I spoke to an audience outside London. I told them I was adapting the Life of Brian so that we could do it as a stage show (NOT a musical). I said that we'd had a table reading of the latest draft in NYC a year ago ... and that all the actors — several of them Tony winners — had advised me strongly to cut the Loretta scene. 

“I have, of course, no intention of doing so.”

Cleese said he thought the entire thing was “surprising,” considering the film’s longevity.

He tweeted: “That was what was so surprising (...) These were absolutely top-class Broadway performers and they were adamant that we would not get away with doing the scene in NYC! I asked them, ‘Are Python fans not going to come because we're doing a scene they've been laughing at for 40 years?’"

Cleese added that a number of media outlets were “misreporting” the incident, and reports stating the controversial “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” scene — in which the lead character and others sing and whistle while being crucified — were also “untrue.”

Centered on the character of Brian of Nazareth, who is born on the same night and in a stable right next door to Jesus, "Brian" was banned in Ireland, Singapore and a number of other countries following its theatrical release.

The film went on to earn more than $20 million at the box office and despite being panned for its religious content, went on to become one of the show’s most well-known films.

Some critics have argued that contrary to reviews that found the film offensive, "Brian" was actually a scathing rebuke of the constant infighting associated with Christian denominationalism. 

In April, the entertainment website Collider revisited the film and argued that protesters completely missed the point, calling "Brian" a “scathing mockery of the hypocrisy of denominational superiority, divisions within the church that follow the same God but deride one another for their differences in doing so.”

Life of Brian's most impressive feat is, as alluded to above, the simple summation of the Christian faith. Easter is the time in the Christian calendar where the sufferings and death of Jesus on the cross gets cast aside with the Resurrection of Christ on Easter morning, heralding the arrival of a joyful new tomorrow,” wrote review Lloyd Farley.

“Python brilliantly cuts to the good part, bringing the upbeat, catchy chorus of ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ to the cross, juxtaposing the Christian belief of Christ opening the gates of Heaven with the pathway to get there."

Ian M. Giatti is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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