Friday, February 09, 2007

American v. Brit humor

Simon Pegg, writing in the Guardian about perceived differences in what Americans and Brits find amusing.

Although it is true that we British do use irony a little more often than our special friends in the US. It's like the kettle to us: it's always on, whistling slyly in the corner of our daily interactions. To Americans, however, it's more like a nice teapot, something to be used when the occasion demands it. This is why an ironic comment will sometimes be met with a perplexed smile by an unwary American. Take this exchange that took place between two friends of mine, one British (B), the other American (A):

B: "I had to go to my grandad's funeral last week."

A: "Sorry to hear that."

B: "Don't be. It was the first time he ever paid for the drinks."

A: "I see."

Now, my American friend was being neither thick nor obtuse here; he simply didn't immediately register the need to bury emotion under humour.

I find British comedy more amusing than homegrown stuff, but that's mainly due to childhood exposure. Every Sunday, before Mass and Sunday School, I'd get ready and watch "Monty Python's Flying Circus" on PBS (which was only on Sunday AM).

This explains more about my personal and emotional development than I'd like to think about.

No comments: