View Full Version : British Comedy Vs. Everyone else

04-09-2004, 02:20 PM
So I went to the cinema (this was a while ago) and saw Scary Movie 3. In it's defence, it wasn't that bad (it wasn't that good either). I came home with a small smile on my face centente in the fact that it made me laugh at points. I threw on a DVD which just happened to be Naked Gun (the first one) Now that made me laugh even more, Leslie Nielson was immensly funnier back then and everything was great.

The I went downstairs and turned on the TV. On TV was a british satirical quiz show called 'Have I Got News for You'.

Now I'm sorry, but the sheer spontenaity of the show (especially Paul Merton who is just so unpredictable in his answers to some of the questions) made me laugh out load, hard throughout the entire show. The mere half an hour of Paul Merton and Ian Hislop gave me more laughter than the who hour and a half of scary movie or naked gun or whatever makes you guys laugh. Even funnier than Def Comedy Jam, (and I'm black), I loved it, but HIGNFY is much funnier because it's unscritped (for the most part, there is an auto cue for the presenter, but even than can be interrupted by the others).

But not just that show, 'They think it all over' and 'Never mind the buzzcocks' are great, but even the sitcoms like Fools and Blackadder and Red Dwarf are great. The US can't really pull off the comedy of these or Monty python or whatever, it just so damn funny.

So Now, I would like people to come here and say why they like of dislike British comedy and why and whether you prefer other comedy (like american, it can be good, I'll grant you that) and why and so on.

I give you the floor.

04-09-2004, 02:28 PM
You've got the upper hand. Saying anything, even

"Today, I ate ham"

is funnier in a British Accent.

04-09-2004, 06:39 PM
Well, few things are better than Fawlty Towers and The Office...

... but then again I haven't seen anything British beating stuff like Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Daily Show...

... so it's a toss-up. ;

04-09-2004, 07:29 PM
I've got an excellent example:

First of all, Coupling is f-ing hilarious. I've already the first two seasons on dvd. Though it may be a little hard to compare to some things, I believe this is more "sophisticated" humor.

But when the Americans re-did it with the same exact scripts as original, it just wasn't funny. In fact, it was a disgrace. Cancelled after three episodes.

But there is a large variety of British humor and an even larger variety of American humor. I believe it is impossible to compare. But American sitcoms suck compared to British sitcoms. But when it comes to movies, we've all had classics. "Airplane" is hilarious. But the US has this "gross-out humor" fad that's taken over. American Pie got so much money, and they're making sequels of everything. Even the first Scary Movie was a little more like a gross-out version of Airplane but spawned two awful sequels. But those movies are aimed at a specific demographic too. There are a lot of different types of people in America.

Right now, the humor in the US is at an all-time low. My opinion? Everybody has a thing where they like to laugh at what they don't understand, and I think that's the source of American gross-out humor is that a lot (not everybody, but a lot) of Americans are prissy bastards who hate talking about sex and has turned it into a vice. So we laugh at it. I believe most Europeans are a little more open about that type of thing. So they have less of it.

04-09-2004, 07:49 PM
All my favourite comedies are British.
Dads Army, Father Ted, Fawlty Towers and Blackadder to name a few.
But there are some very good American shows too. Probably the best being Scrubs and Sienfeld.
I love Friends too but I have to say that Id watch Father Ted over anything American any day.

04-09-2004, 08:36 PM
Consider yourselves lucky!
You have nothing similar to an Italian comedy....

Monthy Python are gods!

04-09-2004, 09:06 PM
Father Ted is scarcely British...but yes, British shows rule :).

04-09-2004, 09:43 PM
The reason American comedies are so lame is that they're just churned out to make money. Being half-American, half-English I have been forced to watch crap TV on BOTH sides of the Atlantic.

I can honestly say: Even at their worst (I might mention Hardware), British crap comedies are nowhere near as mind-numbingly awful as the worst American comedies(of which there are a lot more - The Munsters, Bewitched etc.).

Even thinking about The Love Boat makes my eye twitch, as I supress the memories...(forced to watch as a child).

Ryam BaCo
04-10-2004, 12:36 AM
movies, plays,... based on british and viennese humor are generally better than the american one.

american fun-movies like american pie can be fun to, but the fact that almost every single punchline turns around sex or sexlike topics is a little bit primitve.

04-10-2004, 03:46 PM
Originally posted by Ryam BaCo
american fun-movies like american pie can be fun to, but the fact that almost every single punchline turns around sex or sexlike topics is a little bit primitve.

But weirdly enough, Graham Norton has proved that we're even better at that than Americans (I won't say I dislike him, I can tolerate him and he can be funny at times, but the fact that you can't really have a real conversation with him without thinking that every word is an innuendo is a little unsettling at times)

Well, as long as someone else thinks so, I might as well admit that I do love Coupling, it's somehow different but I can't quite put my finger on why (actually I just can't be asked to analyse it, we'll just call it funny and leave it at that).

And that fact that being British allows us to talk about sex more frankly (I suppose the characters in Freind could talk about breasts like they do in Coupling, but it wouldn't be as funny, not by far).

But you've even got to look at British Rom-coms, they are actually better because the whole sex theme doesn't have to be as much of a factor. It's also something to do with physical comedy which america is just full of at the moment, even friends has grown into and almost farce because of it's abundance of physical comedy, whereas british comedy is smart and clever and not as slapstick (but still has a bit of physical comedy)

It's also fresh, too many times have I seenthe same scenario played out over and over again, and I almost physically groan when I see this as it just makes it predictable. One classic Coupling episode I'll never forget is the one with the foriegn woman who can't speak a word of english. I won't go into it, but those who have seen it know what I'm talking about and those who haven't have missed one hell of a half hour.

04-10-2004, 04:08 PM
I generally prefer British humor, and I have DVD sets of Faulty Towers and Blackadder, and all of the Python movies.

But not all American comedy is bleak: Seinfeld was one of the most consistently funny shows ever (although I usually like the early episodes a little better.) The Simpsons (and Futurama) are still great. David Letterman was truly amazing when he first started and was on late at night. And my favorite comedy movie of all time: "This is Spinal Tap", was Americans playing Brits.

And let's face it: America still has the best stand-up comics in the world. Carlin, Cosby, Pryor, Williams, Dangerfield, Chris Rock, Sienfeld...

04-10-2004, 04:31 PM
I dunno, you can't really beat the satirical humour of Jack Dee and let's not forget the once ground breaking Carrot.

04-10-2004, 04:40 PM
Big Buttocks.
That's right.
Big Buttocks (http://bb.thefluffymag.net/1024/main1024.htm) is the best InuYasha british comedy ever!
Mixture between Big Brother, the show where people all live together in a house and do daily tasks, and InuYasha, combined into BIG BUTTOCKS, the show where InuYasha characters all live under one house and try to get along. Buahahahah.
Eh. Erhem.
Happy Easter and thank Jesus for dying for us. :)

04-11-2004, 03:06 AM
I know I'm going to be smited for this but.....

Though I think they are fun, I'm beginning to think that Monty Python is a little overrated. They are funny, but they are not comedic genuises. Let's face it, they're just goofy and not much thought goes into their work, similar to a lot of American movies.


But then again, Terry Gilliam was in Monty Python and he is my FAVORITE filmmaker of all time. I know that's a heavy word to use, buthe just is for me. Call me uncultured or uneducated in the realm of film buffs but he is my FAVORITE filmmaker. I haven't liked all his films, but i've never hated one and there is something alway original in each one of his movies and the worlds he creayes. The Brothers Grimm is coming out in November, it will be a hard wait.

04-11-2004, 11:25 AM
I'd like to see you read the Python biography and say not much thought goes into their stuff. It's worth a read, trust me.
As for stand-ups...Peter Kay? Bill Bailey? Milton Jones (questionable)? Ross Noble? Victoria Wood? Jack Dee and Jasper Carrot, like Joshi said? Ben Elton? They're all classics. Especially Bill Bailey. You gotta love him :).

04-11-2004, 01:57 PM
I've only seen Monty Python and the search for the Holy Grail, and it was funny lol.

Mr Flibble
04-11-2004, 02:55 PM
I'm Brittish ( Well, I live in Northern Ireland; I've got to be careful. In certian parts of Belfast you should say that you are Irish) But I digress.

I'm Brittish, not I'm not biased.

I love most Brittish comedy. Its either dead on ( Blackadder, Red Dwarf, Faulty Towers, Monty Python, Black Books, Father Ted,etc.) or absolute shi-ite. ( Hardware.)

In fact, I have a better synopsies(sp?); BBC comedy is better.
Coupling USA, Red Dwarf USA and Hardware are all examples.

But American comedy...films are bad, FOX (and others)is/are good.

Futurama, Simpsons, Friends, Will & Grace, Family Guy, The PJ's ( did anyone ever see that?), and The Fairly Odd Parents.

Which is a kid's show, but sheer comedy gold.

04-11-2004, 03:23 PM
Originally posted by Feral
As for stand-ups...Peter Kay? Bill Bailey? Milton Jones (questionable)? Ross Noble? Victoria Wood? Jack Dee and Jasper Carrot, like Joshi said? Ben Elton? They're all classics. Especially Bill Bailey. You gotta love him :).

Ross Noble is the worst standup ever. I was totally disappointed with his act, because he's consistently brilliant on Room 101 and HIGNFY. Maybe it was an off day, though. Other very bad examples of British comedy include "A Pint of Lager and a Packet of Crisps", "Hardware", "Dinnerladies" & "The Vicar of Dibley". I don't much care for Monty Python, either :~

The rest is all excellent. In the past month or so we've had Garth Meranghi's Darkplace, Nighty Night, Director's Commentary and another series of Black Books, which all pretty much rocked. HIGNFY starts a fresh run this week, too. :)

As far as animation goes, we're pretty crap at that - Monkey Dust & Bob and Margeret were alright, I suppose, but nothing on Family Guy or The Simpsons. I think late-night interview-type shows such as Conan O'Brien & Jonathan Ross are only any good if you know what's going on in the country and who the person being interviewed is - The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live seem a bit crap to me.

Partridge forevar.

04-11-2004, 04:03 PM
Fair enough, I was going on what I'd seen on HIGNFY and Room 101 coupled with what my brother has said about his act.
Dave Spikey is good too, BTW. And Dave Gorman. And Frank Skinner. And David Baddiel, but only in small doses.
As for animation, yes our cartoons are generally crap. But what about Aardman's stuff, like Rex the Runt, Robbie the Reindeer, Wallace & Gromit and Creature Comforts?

04-11-2004, 08:12 PM
I like Hardware, and the Munsters is a classic!
I saw the PJs! That was great. I actually cried when the hobo guy sang 'Wonderful World' by Louis Armstrong. Family Guy is amazing too. Makes me laugh so much. Its on a par with Father Ted.
Anyone seen 'That 70s Show'? Theyve got it right. Its made by the same people as 'Third Rock From The Sun' another amazing show.

04-11-2004, 10:15 PM
Ah man, I forgot about standups. Yeah Eddie Izzard is probably one of my favorites.

But George Carlin is an opinionated all-American. And he's also one helluva funny guy.

04-12-2004, 01:04 PM
I've only ever seen Ross Noble on HIGNFY (I've got the best of compilation DVD, Tub of Lard, best... episode...ever) and he was pretty funny on it.

I never really like Creature comforts, don't know why. and don't get me started on 2DTV, nah, the simpsons, futurama and family guy are quite the best when it comes to animation, but comedy wise, they still don't hold a candle to the comedy we can get down here.

I liked the Vicar of Dibly, but I guess we have different tastes, it's not my favorite sitcom, but it's still funny.

And with stadups, you can't beat Peter Kay or Victoria Wood. And I know Bill Bailey's already been praised, but didn't anyone see him hosting the Empire Movie awards 2004? Brilliant.

04-12-2004, 02:52 PM
Originally posted by Feral
But what about Aardman's stuff, like Rex the Runt, Robbie the Reindeer, Wallace & Gromit and Creature Comforts?

Oh yeah, Wallace & Gromit kick ass. This (http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/news/20040318.shtml) looks quite promising too.

04-12-2004, 04:34 PM
Originally posted by scabb
The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live seem a bit crap to me.
They were both really good... once upon a time. You have to go back pretty far though.

04-13-2004, 09:50 AM
we are exceeding funny.

the office, spaced, Peter Kay's phoenix nights, red dwarf, allo allo, hardware, blackadder, only fools & horses, One Foot in the Grave, My Family, The Thin Blue Line, Alan Partridge, The Brittas Empire...

as you americans say... its all good


04-22-2004, 02:32 PM
You're all forgetting the classic Rab C Nesbitt!

Anyway, personally, I believe that British comedy is more amusing than American because the of the wit. The gags seem to be a lot less obvious than those in American comedy.

The other thing with American comedy, in particular sit-coms, is that they all seem to follow the same formula. Typically, you have the smart female characters who always outwit the men, the gags are very visually obvious, which often spoils it. There's always one 'ditzy' character. Black characters always have the comedic upperhand over the white characters, just as the women have the comedic upperhand over the men.

Oh. Let's not forget the token camp gay character, so everyone can laugh at their ridiculous lines of "Whatever!" or "Oh my god. You look so cute in that... *limp wrist*, well for someone who looks so un-cute all of the time". Or in every one in three episodes someone new will try to infiltrate the group of main characters and they'll all end up rejecting them because they were so awful, or something.

I think I should go into writing successful American sit-coms. ;)

04-22-2004, 03:02 PM
Exactly, british comedy is completely unpredictable. for a start, the whole Only Fools and Horses things was great as it was completely non-linear and non-static, whereas something like friends, seems a little predicable at times. Also, characters were consistent in Fools, whereas in friends, almost all of them are completely different now to as they were when the show first started (slightly apart from Joey, but he was always a little flat and his whole sleeping with everyone thing has become alittle old now) which in a way can be good as it shows them growing, but instead, it's as if they've turned into completely different people.

04-22-2004, 03:06 PM
I can only say two things - 'Monkey Dust' and 'Little Britain'