Thursday, January 27, 2011

Funny ha ha vs funny nah nah

Am feeling slightly uncomfortable by the current debate, the one that compares British humour to American. a debate triggered it seems by ricky gervais's compering of the 2011 golden globes.

Hmm. Was that really a valid point of reference on the part of the Brits? Was it even humour? Sure we all laughed but in a horrified, wide-eyed nervous snigger sort of way, the kind of thing you did behind your hand at school when an insolent child was rude to teacher. We responded to the sheer gall of it, not the comedy content. The whole thing resembled a medieval spite show, where the vicitims, used to glory and adulation were stripped bare, locked in stocks and humiliated, one cold soaked sponge after another. Much to the hilarity of onlookers.

Am a little ashamed if this is being held up as typically "British" humour. We're cleverer than that. So is he. This was cheap, nasty and exposed gervais as scowling, finger-pointing and just a little bit bitter about something or other. More playground bully than comic genius.

It's true, we do it alot in this country. It's a flaw of the British psyche and possibly rooted in some national malaise that the only way we can feel better about oursleves is to mock someone else.

We should stick to self-deprecating, what we do best. Or at least always did. Perhaps the debate should be not how American humour compares to British, but at what point, on a sheer laugh out loud (as opposed to snide snigger) scale, stateside comedy proper began to regularly trump us.

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