jump to last post 1-24 of 24 discussions (33 posts)

British comedies in the US

  1. rambo87 profile image57
    rambo87posted 8 years ago

    why is it that British comedy often struggles to impress audiences in the US?

    1. GeneriqueMedia profile image61
      GeneriqueMediaposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      There's not much on television. And the ones that are....are taken and Americanized (like the Office.)

      I for one love Red Dwarf, and a few others. But Red Dwarf is the most awesome thing since sliced bread.

      Americans aren't used to subtle comedy.



  2. SweetiePie profile image85
    SweetiePieposted 8 years ago

    There is not much on network TV in my opinion.  Any channel that show commercials is not some thing I usually watch.  I read my news online, and watch mostly movies on TV for the most part.  When I do watch TV series it is usually the HBO variety like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Big Love, and the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.  I also liked Flight of the Concords.

  3. Colebabie profile image59
    Colebabieposted 8 years ago

    I just don't get the humor. I'm really sorry, but I just don't. smile

  4. Bob Cedar profile image49
    Bob Cedarposted 8 years ago

    "Where is Charles Pensington this morning?"  *Charles enters the room to soft, polite British applause* "I say Thurston, you will never guess what I just did." "What was that Charles?" "I was playing cricket, when all of a sudden I rounded the tilly wag with a crumpet." *Polite British laughter*

    Nah I'm just kidding, I liked this one show, and I can't remember the name of it, where these guys lived in the country and one kind of looked like a farmer, but the others were well dressed. It would always play soft flute-y type music between scenes. I remember seeing that on PBS.

  5. GeneriqueMedia profile image61
    GeneriqueMediaposted 8 years ago

    Seriously, British Comedy can be awesome.

    Red Dwarf on YouTube:


    And...most awesome...


    "Sir, just suppose I did have the cat..what would you do to Frankenstein?"

    "I'll have it sent down to medical and have it splice it up into a million pieces to make sure its okay"

    "Well, will you put the cat back together when you're done?"

    "Lister, the cat will be dead."

    "Well, with respect sir, whats in it for the cat?"


  6. Mary James profile image59
    Mary Jamesposted 8 years ago

    I'm an American, my husband is English, this is a heated debate in our household.

    The language barrier is one reason.  It's amazing how two people can be speaking the same "language" without actually speaking the same language.  I can't tell you the countless mistakes that have come out of this problem (including one very strange beef, potato, and spinach casserole).

    Cultural differences present another problem.  What a person finds funny stems from what they know, and what they know is based in how and where they were raised.  British and American culture, despite their similarities, are surprisingly different.  As one responder to this put "I just don't get it".  This is the reason Little Britain isn't flying off the shelves of Best Buy.

    American FCC regulations prohibit a lot more.  My father-in-law is always glued to the TV when we visit, so I've experienced my fair share of BBC and Sky.  Despite what Americans like to think, they aren't used to some of the content you get on regular British TV.  We're used to having to pay for that kind of stuff, hence Showtime and HBO.

    It's really a combination of these three that make up the failure of British comedy on American TV, which is a shame, because some of it is absolutely hysterical!

    1. Eaglekiwi profile image70
      Eaglekiwiposted 8 years ago in reply to this
    2. KCC Big Country profile image85
      KCC Big Countryposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      I too have managed to marry an Englishman and there isn't a day that goes by that one of us doesn't have to explain something to the other!  Keeps life interesting!

  7. Mrvoodoo profile image60
    Mrvoodooposted 8 years ago
  8. Colebabie profile image59
    Colebabieposted 8 years ago

    I still just don't get it smile It isn't my type of humor, it lends itself to think it couldn't really happen I guess. American comedy is either 1. Totally impossible 2. Oh my gosh that has totally happened/could totally happen. British comedy is somewhere in between.

  9. GeneriqueMedia profile image61
    GeneriqueMediaposted 8 years ago

    *offers Colebabie a crumpet*

    Meh, oh well. You tried. wink

  10. Colebabie profile image59
    Colebabieposted 8 years ago

    Mmm crumpets I like smile Thanks!

  11. Junkster profile image56
    Junksterposted 8 years ago

    I like both British comedies and American one, the myth that british humour is more "intellectual" is null I think, there's plenty of "clever" US shows.  A selection of US and UK comedies I like are listed below:

    US -
    30 Rock - (absolutely love this show)
    The Office - (soo much better than the UK one, and yes I'm from the UK)
    My Name is Earl - (alright for what it is, not the bes though)
    South Park - (it's actually really clever and funny these days)
    Chappelle's Show  - (best US skit show ever)

    UK -
    Only Fools and Horses - (classic)
    Whatever Happened to the likely lads - (again, classic 60s/70s)
    The Inbetweeners - (exactly like me and my friends a few years back, so funny)
    Look Around You - (first series is what schools used to show to kids to "educate" them but it's so funny)
    Red Dwarf - (anytihng apart form the recent travesty three-parter they did)
    Peep Show - uch a genius idea with two funny guys.

  12. Uninvited Writer profile image82
    Uninvited Writerposted 8 years ago

    I love British comedies. But, then again, I was born in Scotland.

    Among my favourite shows are:

    BlackAdder (all 4 series') - with Rowan Atkinson
    As Time Goes By
    Fawlty Towers

    As you can see, most are older shows.

    My current US favourite is The Big Bang Theory.

    1. Junkster profile image56
      Junksterposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Big bang theory and Blackadder, two I forgot!

      I watched the blackadder boxset from start to finish only a month ago too! D'oh!

    2. profile image0
      A.M. Gwynnposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      I just have to add my own two cents to your selections. I love those! I didn't get a chance to even view Black Adder.
      My all time favorite Brit Com is Keeping Up Appearances. Close behind that: Are You Being Served?, As Time Goes By, Waiting For God, The Vicar Of Dibley, Fawlty Towers and yes, I have to admit I used to watch Hero. I know all mine are the old ones, but they have served me so well and I will still watch them whenever they are on.

  13. LondonGirl profile image88
    LondonGirlposted 8 years ago

    Fawlty Towers
    The Office
    Peep Show
    Bremner, Bird and Fortune

  14. Aya Katz profile image87
    Aya Katzposted 8 years ago

    One that impressed me a while back was "Good Neighbors".

  15. Research Analyst profile image78
    Research Analystposted 8 years ago

    The Benny Hill Show was my favorite british comedy, too funny!!smile

  16. kerryg profile image86
    kerrygposted 8 years ago

    We got a bunch on PBS for awhile and my brother was quite the addict. My favorite was The Vicar of Dibley, and I keep meaning to check out Red Dwarf, which was his favorite.

  17. Mrvoodoo profile image60
    Mrvoodooposted 8 years ago

    Don't forget about 'Some mothers do av em', 'Porridge', 'The Good Life', 'Last of the summer wine' and that old one with the two rag and bone men but I forget what that one was called, all greats!

    1. Amanda Severn profile image91
      Amanda Severnposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Steptoe and Son!

      1. Mrvoodoo profile image60
        Mrvoodooposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        That's the one, thank you. smile

  18. Amanda Severn profile image91
    Amanda Severnposted 8 years ago

    There's a definite difference not only between American and British humour, but also their writing styles. Even here on hubpages I can often pick out a British writer without referring to the box in the top right-hand corner. I think we British love to send ourselves up, and we're very fond of humorous characters that are almost caricatures of stereotypes, such as Basil Fawlty (right-wing, ultra Conservative sea-side hotelier) and Geraldine Granger (pretty, amply proportioned lady vicar based in a village full of completely oddball eccentrics)

    The Vicar of Dibley and BlackAdder are two of my favourites, but I also love the humorous undercurrent that runs through some of our dramas such as Ashes to Ashes, and Life on Mars.

  19. K.D. Clement profile image81
    K.D. Clementposted 8 years ago

    I stumbled onto The Catherine Tate show on youtube.  I love her!!  She makes me laugh so hard I almost pee my pants.  Anyway, I am keen for British humour.  Love it all.  I used to be a fan of Absolutely Fabulous and the show (forget its name) that takes place in a department store (was popular in the 70s I think).

    1. profile image0
      Neon Sign Fanposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      "Are you being served?" I think that's the name of that one.

      1. K.D. Clement profile image81
        K.D. Clementposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        Yes!!  That is the one!

  20. rambo87 profile image57
    rambo87posted 8 years ago

    Ok after seeing all the responses on here maybe I was a bit wrong, some British comedy oviosuly is well recieved in America. With regards to American comedy in the US the first one I ever remember watching was "Cheers" what a classic. When I was at school I also used to love watching My Wife and Kids. Can someone tell me what are the biggest comedies in the US at the minute?

  21. GeneriqueMedia profile image61
    GeneriqueMediaposted 8 years ago

    Ah, and lets not forget "Whose Line is it Anyway?"

  22. profile image0
    Janettaposted 8 years ago

    Oh, I love British humor! I'm American as is my husband and he complains that he just doesn't get it. There isn't a lot on TV, I've caught a bit on BBCA- I like Couples, and I LOVE GRaham Norton! I usually laugh til I cry every time I watch an episode. And I know they are comediens, but I really like Russel Brand and my fave is Eddie Izzard

  23. BristolBoy profile image79
    BristolBoyposted 8 years ago

    One of the funniest commedies from this side of the pond is Father Ted - a series about Irish priests on a remote island.  Pure genius all the time.

  24. girly_girl09 profile image69
    girly_girl09posted 8 years ago

    I absolutely LOVED Keeping Up Appearances on PBS via re-runs. I own all the seasons now on DVD lol. Other than that, I never really got into any other British comedies....not sure why.