Humor British humour

The Young Ones (19821984), a British sitcom about four students living together. It combined traditional sitcom style with violent slapstick, non sequitur plot-turns and surrealism.

A Bit of Fry and Laurie, sketch show written by and starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie noted for its eccentric and inventive use of language

Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at No 42, TV programme featuring an Indian mily, starring Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal

The An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman joke format is one common to many cultures, and is often used in English, including having the nationalities switched around to take advantage of other stereotypes. These stereotypes are somewhat fond, and these jokes would not be taken as xenophobic, this sort of affectionate stereotype is also exemplified by Allo Allo!, this programme, although set in France in the second World War, and deliberately performed in over the top accents, mocked British stereotypes as well as foreigners. This also applies to a lot of the regional stereotypes in the UK. Regional accent and dialect are used in such programmes as Hancocks Half Hour, Auf Weidersehen, Pet and Red Dwarf, as these accents provide quick characterisation and social cues.

Many UK comedy TV shows typical of British humour have been internationally popular, and have been an important channel for the export and representation of British culture to the international audience.

Usually, for television, the performance of a practical joke on an unsuspecting person whilst being covertly filmed.

Drop the Dead Donkey, Channel 4 sitcom recorded close to transmission that satirised the weekly events (19901998)

A strong theme of sarcasm and self-deprecation, often with deadpan delivery, runs throughout British humour.

Vic Reeves Big Night Out (1990 and 1991) a parody of the variety shows which dominated the early years of television, but which were, by the early 1990s, lling from grace.

The Young OnesHumor British humour, a cult sitcom starring Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Nigel Planer and Christopher Ryan on BBC2 (19821984).

Spaced (a sitcom depicting the realistic, everyday lives and emotional dramas of two London-dwelling twentysomethings, also incorporating aspects of surreal and absurd comedy)

The Ricky Gervais Show, Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais mocking Karl Pilkingtons unique outlook on life.

Black Books, a sitcom about a Bookshop owner, flavoured with surreal and nonsensical elements on Channel 4 (20002004).

The lovable rogue, Humor, often from the impoverished working class, trying to beat the system and better himself, typified by:

Snuff Box, a sketch show about a hangman (Matt Berry) and his assistant (Rich Fulcher), who make jokes or light-hearted conversation while hanging men.

Although racism was a part of British humour, it is now frowned upon, and acts such as Bernard Manning and Jim Davidson are pilloried. Most racist themes in popular comedy since the 1970s are targeted against racism rather than in sympathy. Love Thy Neighbour and Till Death Us Do Part were both series that dealt with these issues when the United Kingdom was coming to terms with an influx of immigrants. Fawlty Towers featured the mistreatment of the Spanish waiter, Manuel, but the target was the bigotry of the lead character. More recently, The Fast Show has mocked people of other races, notably the Chanel 9 sketches, and Banzai has mimicked Japanese games shows, which have an exaggerated sense of violence, and public absurdity. Goodness Gracious Me turned stereotypes on their heads in sketches such as Going for an English and when bargaining over the price of a news.

The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, a variety show of sketches and songs in the surrealist genre of comedy on the BBC (19931995).

The League of Gentlemen, a cult comedy revolving around the bizarre inhabitants of the fictional town Royston Vasey

Nighty Night, a TV series about a sociopathic beauty therapist who kes her husbands death in order to steal her disabled neighbours husband

Kind Hearts and Coronets, a film about a man murdering his way to a hereditary position, starring Alec Guinness in numerous rôles.

Not the Nine OClock News, satirical sketch show, notable for launching the careers of Rowan Atkinson,new york asian escort model Griff Rhys Jones, Pamela Stephenson and Mel Smith on BBC2, (19791982).

Garth Marenghis Darkplace, a horror comedy revolving around the supernatural, and is set in a hospital in the 1980s

Monty Python, a comedy troupe, noted for performing sketches with no conclusions originally (19691983).

Sutton, David. A chorus of raspberries: British film comedy 1929-1939. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, (2000) ISBN 0–603-X

Black humour, in which topics and events that are usually treated seriously are treated in a humorous or satirical manner, typified by:

Im Sorry I Havent a Clue, a radio panel game with bizarre games, notably Mornington Crescent and One Song to the Tune of Another on BBC Radio 4 (1974-).

In the early 1930s, cartoon-style saucy postcards became widespread, and at their peak 16 million saucy postcards were sold per year. They were often bawdy, with innuendo and double entendres, and featured stereotypical characters such as vicars, large ladies and put-upon husbands, in the same vein as the Carry On films. This style of comedy was common in music halls and in the comedy music of George Formby. Many comedians from music hall and wartime gang shows worked in radio after World War 2, and characters such as Julian and Sandy on Round the Horne used innuendo extensively. Innuendo also features heavily in many British films and TV series of the late 20th century. The Carry On series was based largely on smut and innuendo, and many of the sketches of The Two Ronnies are in a similar vein. Innuendo with little subtlety was epitomised by Benny Hill, and the Nudge Nudge sketch by Monty Python openly mocks the absurdity of such innuendo.

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Bottom, in which Richie attacks Eddie with little or no provocation, usually resulting in Eddie violently (often near-tally) retaliating.

Brittas Empire, Chris Barrie sitcom set in a leisure centre about an annoying manager on BBC1 (19911997).

Green Wing, an experimental sitcom that utilises surrealism, sped-up/slowed-down camera work, and ethereal, dream-like sequences on Channel 4 (20042007).

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Jokes are told about everything and almost no subject is taboo, though often a lack of subtlety when discussing controversial issues is considered crass.

British humour is a somewhat general term applied to certain comedic motifs that are often prevalent in humour in the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth.

Harsh sarcasm and bullying, though with the bully usually coming off worse than the victim – typified by:

Restoration comedy is notorious both for its innuendo and for its ual explicitness, a quality encouraged by Charles II (16601685) personally and by the ethos of his court.

QI or Quite Interesting, a panel game where points are given for being quite interesting and points are taken away for common misconceptions.

The Inbetweeners, Channel 4 comedy series detailing the last years of sixth form for a group of average teenage boys

Big Train, a sketch show with absurd situations performed in a realistic, deadpan style on BBC2 (19982002).

Innuendo in British humour is evident in the literature as r back as Beowulf and Chaucer, and it is a prevalent theme in many British folk songs. Shakespeare often used innuendo in his comedies, but it is also often found in his other plays, as in Hamlet act 4 scene v:

The Vicar of Dibley, a sitcom in which Dawn French plays a female vicar whose parishioners are archetypically eccentric and mad

Alexander, Richard. Aspects of verbal humour in English Volume 13 of Language in performance, Publisher Gunter Narr Verlag, 1997 Accessed August 2011

Come Dine with Me, reality cookery programme where eccentric cooks and their guests are often mocked by narrator Dave Lamb

Discworld, a series of ntasy books written by Terry Pratchett, heavy with irony criticizing various aspects of society

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By the end of the 20th century more subtlety in ual humour became shionable, as in Not the Nine OClock News and Blackadder, while Bottom and Viz continued the smuttier trend. In contemporary British comedy Julian Clary is an example of a prolific user of innuendo.

In the Victorian era, Burlesque theatre combined uality and humour in its acts. In the late 19th century, magazines such as Punch began to be widely sold, and innuendo featured in its cartoons and articles.

The British class system, especially class tensions between characters; and pompous or dim-witted members of the upper/middle classes or embarrassingly blatant social climbers, typified by:

Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, a musical group playing songs inspired by the music of the 1920s and comic rock songs

Young men will dot if they come tot / By Cock, they are to blame.


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