It's often said that many Americans don't get and/or like the British sense of humor, and the reason quoted is usually the cultural difference in the use of irony and sarcasm. But is it true? What about the Simpsons, M.A.S.H or Friends - they all ooze irony and sarcasm. What do you think?
Might post example of British humor so we know what you are talking about.
I am neither American or British and I love both styles,slightly preferring American stand ups..really depends though.
Thank God for youtube as TV Programmers seem to dictate to a large degree what we can watch
Being a New Zealander and steeped in more British influences,my fellow countryman generally seem to prefer British ,except when it comes to sitcoms,then its USA all the way.
Interesting post btw.
P.S Flight of the Concords (Kiwi comedians)have a good following in the states. So I think its more a personal preference rather than culture. Just my thoughts.
Personally, I find that there are amazing American and British TV programmes and films that I love and those that I hate - I think the distinction is more about personal tastes in both instances.
American? I love the Simpsons and MASH. I hated Cheers - I watched a few times and couldn't see any possible appeal. I've briefly looked at other ones (can't remember their names) and hated them.
British humour for me is typified by Only Fools and Horses, the Carry On Films and older programmes. My pet hate of all time is the programme, "Keeping Up Appearances," as - in my opinion - it is the most annoying, irritating and unbelievable piece of crap ever produced.
I'm not a big TV fan, which is why the programmes I refer to are all probably out of production a generation ago but thought I'd throw in my tuppenceworth
For me, I really do love British sense of humor. I loved the Monty Python humor, and I still like the dabble of humor in Skins, Misfits, IT Crowd and Sherlock.
My view as a Brit in Florida. Irony isn't used anywhere near as much by Americans generally in everyday life and can be interpreted as mean-spirited sometimes. There are the US comedies that use 'smart humour' (Seinfeld, MASH etc), but lots more that don't. Humour is linked to wider culural outlook. Brits tend to be more miserablist and see life as a little absurd on the whole, compared to their more upbeat and literal American cousins, who tend to have more of a you-can-get-it-if-you-really-want approach to life.
I think Paul makes an interesting point about the use of irony in daily like being reflected in the entertainment industry. My personal experience is that my dry sense of humor is often completely lost in America. The Brits have a way of not letting you know they are trying to be funny, whereas the Americans spell it out a bit more. I can't imagine a comedian like Jack Dee really making an impression over there for this reason, but then Eddie Izzard did really well on his tour of the states (Knolyourself - these 2 comedians give a good representation of the two opposite ends of the spectrum of British comedy, to answer your post). And I heard that the office did well in some award ceremony or other, and a lot of people weren't really impressed by that. Funnily enough, people here generally rate the American version as better than the original English series - me included!
And the outlook on life point is quite valid also. One thing I like about Americans is their generally enthusiastic approach to things. Maybe because we spend so much of our lives complaining about the weather, it's slightly tainted our ability to have an optimistic can-do attitude!
I'm not a Monty Python fan at all. Does that mean Brit humor is lost on me? I just don't like it. I do like dry humor/irony and can dish it out when I'm in the mood.. which has been more often recently.
I think many Americans are simply too serious, lighten up and laugh, it's much healthier than moping around about things we can't control.
Seinfeld, Friends, even Lucy are all laugh out loud funny every time I watch them.
Right now Mad Men is one of my favorite works of satire. It's insightful, humorous and sophisticated in a warped 60's kind of way.
A funny Simpsons parody of the opening of Mad Men
Not being a Monty Python fan doesn't mean Brit humor is lost on you at all:-) it's pretty old now, and to be honest, lot's of younger Brits don't like it at all. I also don't find it nearly as funny as I used to. People often think of old classics like Monty Python as being representative of British Humor. But to me it's the same as associating England with red phone boxes, bad food, policemen with truncheons, top hats and a cup of tea at 4pm;-)
And Mad men is great!
British humor is usually defined by the use of irony and, probably even more so, understatement. Britain is also a bit more of a monoculture, being a smaller country with far less of a sensibility towards immigrants. America has vast regional differences, and the impact of immigrants has made it more difficult for Americans to automatically assume others will understand them when using irony & understatement.
To Ethan's point: Americans need to spell out "we're going to be ironic and exaggerate now" in a way that seems ham-handed to Brits, but it's done as a way to change the mood and expectations of the audience. In my experience, Yanks can appreciate and dish out irony and understatement as well as Brits, but it's not the default as it is in Britain.
As a Brit I think that Americans totally 'get' our humour, I see examples of it on American TV programs all the time.
My husband and I totally get British humor! We were totally surrounded by it when my husband worked for a British company for two years. My husband has a veddy British joke about a Lord and his manservant . it's just a little gamey, so I'll just quote the last line (you've probably heard it),
His Lordship says to his manservant "Jeeves, get me my baggy tweeds and let's see if we can smuggle it into town".
Quality humor writing is usually appreciated by most. Some of the more pedestrian sitcoms target a less sophisticated audience and won't appeal to everyone. That being said, there are still differences in how different cultures perceive humor. In the old days of commercial aviation, when a single movie was shown to all of the passengers, I used to notice that people on international flights would sometimes laugh at different scenes.
by bueler 6 years ago
Growing old and loosing my sense of humor....help me please???It seems like as I grow older I am loosing my sense of humor. Maybe because of increased responsibilities adding stress but many people still have theirs as they grow older. Please share your secret.
by Dennis L. Page 2 years ago
Have republicans lost their sense of humor?Jimmy Kimmel’s performance last evening during the Academy Awards was absolutely hysterical. However, the internet trolls hated his comedy routine and claim he made the show more about politics. We live in a political world now and satire is normally a...
by BumptiousQ 2 years ago
WHERE does a sense of humor come from? WHY does it even exist in the universe? HOW did it happen?Does it come from the brain? Divinity? A person's upbringing, environment, genetic makeup? A combination of many factors, both physical and metaphysical?
by Ken R. Abell 8 years ago
Does your sense of humor help or hinder your writing?
by TheWorldNow 6 weeks ago
Why do so many Americans hate America? And if they hate it so much why don't they just leave?One thing that really bothers me is the way some Americans seem to hate everything about America. I'd just like to ask them: "If you hate everything about the country you live in then why are you...
by kirstenblog 8 years ago
Any idea?Seems one of the great mysteries of life
Copyright © 2019 HubPages Inc. and respective owners. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages® is a registered Service Mark of HubPages, Inc. HubPages and Hubbers (authors) may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.
HubPages Inc, a part of Maven Inc.
|HubPages Device ID||This is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.|
|Login||This is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.|
|HubPages Traffic Pixel||This is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.|
|Remarketing Pixels||We may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.|
|Conversion Tracking Pixels||We may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.|