National & International Humour

Travel Forums General Talk National & International Humour

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1. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Does each country have its own brand of national humour?

To some extent, each culture has something different that tickles the collective funny bone.

Can you pinpoint what it is that makes humour unique in your part of the world or elsewhere?

2. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Sarcasm in Ireland

And a sense of the ridiculous

3. Posted by mtlchica (Respected Member 922 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I think that some cultures have dryer senses of humour than other, or more sarcastic, or more goofy....but I think a sense of humour is as unique as a doesn't always have to do with cultural surroundings. I equate a dry sense of humour with brits, but I have some friends who have that kind of humour and have lived here in Canada all their lives.

As for me, I'm not's a mixture of dry, sarcastic, cheesy and goofy. A hybrid sense of humour!

4. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

If you believe the study here: Funniest Joke, then yes, different countries have different senses of humour.

As well as identifying the joke which appealed most to people around the world, the experiment revealed wide humour differences between nations.

People from the Republic of Ireland, the UK, Australia and New Zealand most enjoyed jokes involving word plays.

Many European countries, such as France, Denmark and Belgium, displayed a penchant for off-beat surreal humour, while Americans and Canadians preferred jokes where there was a strong sense of superiority -- either because a character looks stupid or is made to look stupid by someone else.

Europeans also enjoyed jokes that involved making light of topics that make people feel anxious, such as death, illness and marriage.

Wiseman said: "These results are really interesting. It suggests that people from different parts of the world have fundamentally different senses of humour."

5. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I couldn't access the Funniest Joke link, but that's probably just a local server problem. However, I would imagine that GregW has outlined the main points anyhow.

With respect to national & international humour ... Sarcasm and exaggeration are said to be particularly American brands of humour. The Japanese enjoy word play and puns, as well as violent slapstick comedy. The British appreciate parody, especially in the political arena. Indians find humour in sometimes subtle, sometimes profound parables that in few other cultures would raise a chuckle. The Chinese find riddles and proverbs humorous.

In the end, it is the culture that dictates what individuals from different countries find funny. Unless you really understand your audience and what tickles their funny bone, you could run a high risk of embarrassment by introducing your own brand of humour into another culture.

6. Posted by grink (Full Member 69 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

i think that culture plays a very important part in what people find funny-there are social rules and conventions about what is acceptable-sure individuals have variance in their humour 'type' but it differs widely across cultures-i think language is very important too-a joke cannot be expressed if there is no language to communicate it and the ideas surrounding it. For example in cantonese word play and puns as well as toilet humour and slapstick are generally considered funny.

7. Posted by SkacoreUK (Full Member 56 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

That really is one of the funniest jokes I have ever read...for those of you who can't access it...

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy takes out his phone and calls the emergency services.

He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"

I think that humour is deffinatly a cultural thing, the two extremes I am most aware of are those of America, and the UK.

I don't want to say that American humour is more obvious, but it seems to translate well to the UK. Whereas British comedy just doesn't work in the US (The Office for example UK version - awsome, US version - where has all the humour gone!!)

British humour is dry, we really CAN laugh at ourselves, and its often VERY dark (League of Gentelmen, Jam, Brasseye) and we also don't seem to have the need for canned laughter any more, to tell us when to laugh.

Anywho, its a great subject, and I think its a difficult one to pinpoint

8. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I grew up in a country town in Australia. We basically had two television channels to choose from.The government station presented mostly British shows, whilst the commercial channel presented American shows. The difference in humour was quite obvious. There wasn't much going in way of Australian shows at that time.

One example that comes to mind was the British "'Til Death Us Do Part" with the bigot character Alf Garnett. An American version was "All In The Family" with the bigot,Archie Bunker.

Anyone who saw both would know whatI mean

9. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Quoting samsara2

Sarcasm in Ireland

And a sense of the ridiculous

I'm sure that the boundaries of cultural sensitivity would be apparent in most cases.

10. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

There may not be a global convergence of humour trends, but there are some international figures that do transcend their own culture to become the butt of jokes literally told around the world.

A German businessman could quite easily hear the following joke in Hong Kong about Microsoft chairman Bill Gates - an American global business icon of the 1990's.

The joke:

How does Bill Gates change a light bulb?


He doesn't need to. He just calls a meeting and declares darkness the new international standard.

This joke says as much about how Microsoft is viewed as it does about global business trends.