The Grand Tour, and previously Top Gear, has often been criticised for being close to the line when it comes to jokes. This, for many fans, is what made the show so great as Jeremy Clarkson tells the camera exactly what he thinks and gives us jokes that you wouldn’t hear on any other car show.
Not only has Jeremy come under fire for homophobic jokes, but so has Richard Hammond, and the trio is constantly pushing boundaries. But as Jeremy grows older, he’s admitted that he’s started to worry about cancel culture as we’ve already reported.
Now, James May has commented on this and how the humour shown on the show from himself, Jeremy Clarkson, and Richard Hammond, has helped the show grow, but how they’re changing to adapt to more modern expectations.
“I hope we’re always careful about the jokes we make because we’re not actually trying to alienate people or offend people.
“We make fun of people – that’s not quite the same thing. We try to be inclusive in that everybody is equally open for mockery and derision – mainly ourselves, let’s be honest.
“So I’m not aware that we made any crass homophobic jokes or comments. I hope we didn’t, but I’ll have to look back at it.”
He continued: ‘I don’t think we’re running scared of cancel culture and all the rest of it but I suppose unconsciously and just like everybody else in the world, we’re probably reassessing how we think about things, which is no bad thing in my view because society is a work in progress and it must always move on.
“So we’re not entrenched. We haven’t dug ourselves in and said, ‘No, we’re living in the 1970s with 1970s attitudes, make us a cup of tea, love.’ We’re not doing that. We’re actually quite modern people, I think.
“Except for Richard Hammond, who is obviously stuck in about 1955 in his E-Type Jaguar. But yes, on the whole, we’re reasonably progressive, I hope.”
After watching an episode of the Amazon series, former Pop Idol star Will Young took issue with Richard making what he considered to be homophobic jokes after Jeremy Clarkson drove a Jeep in a Grand Tour special. The jokes, that revolved around the Jeep being an icon of the gay community, weren’t taken lightly by Will.
But according to the singer, Clarkson was “the least of his problems”, with Hammond being the “worst one”.
He tole The Times: “Clarkson is the least worst. The worst one is Richard Hammond… because he says things like ‘I’ve got lots of gay friends’.
“The producers chose to make the main narrative ‘Jeremy Clarkson is driving a hairdresser’s car. Basically, Jeremy Clarkson is gay. They had him wearing a pink shirt. They spray the car pink. They have him playing It’s Raining Men.
“‘Clarkson was the least of my problems. It was Richard Hammond and it was the producers. They created the whole thing and it was Amazon that let it go out. I was so shocked and so upset.”
He said that Hammond should now “take responsibility” for his actions.
Richard also commented on these allegations, arguing that: “I entirely reject any criticism of me being anti-gay.”
Jeremy commented on the cancel culture that surrounds this:
“You’re on borrowed time and soon you’ll get a tap on the shoulder from the HR Stasi. I speak often to my friends about this and all of them are frightened to death.
“They know that if they continue to eat and do and say whatever they’ve eaten and done and said for the past 40 years they’re going to be out of a job.
“And even if they don’t they’ll still be out on their ear for having eaten and said and done it back in 1974.”
“All we can do, then, in a world where you’re guilty until proven innocent, and then you’re still guilty, is tiptoe through life trying to get as much hay in the barn as possible so that when we’re kicked into touch it’s not completely the end of the world.”
The Grand Tour will return with Carnage A Trois when it’s released on Amazon Prime on December 17.