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View Full Version : British or American comedy. Which do you prefer?



Mad Doc Grotsnik
29-12-2007, 13:30
It's a pretty straight forward question really, but I need structured answers, which are available in the poll. (hurrah!)

Me, I clearly prefer British Comedy. It's silly and sweary, without always resorting to toilet humour. I like word play and stupid reactions to pretty normal situations.

I tend to find a lot of American comedy, well, a little smug for my liking. Perhaps it's to do with the difference in a successful US comedian, and a successful UK comedian.

Make it big in the States, and you've got it sewn up. Movies, spin off records, the lot all seem to follow, all on the back on that one funny joke you thought up once. In Britain however, due to the more limited audience range, it's a slightly more muted fame in my opinion. Yes, you make a comfortable living, but hardly makes you a Millionaire over night. Well, unless you get picked up by American networks!

So, with the sort of success and rewards available to US comedians, I can see why all too many of them seem to disappear up their own colon, whilst British comedians seem to be a little more grounded.

Please note, the above is purely one mans opinion and an attempt at rationalising why two countires comedies are so different.

Now, it's your turn!

Dragonlover
29-12-2007, 13:38
British all the way. However, I'm talking proper comedy like Fawlty Towers, Monty Python etc. Bill Bailey is also a genius.

Dragonlover

The Guy
29-12-2007, 13:42
British, but it depends on the type of british.
I detest modern british "comedy". Much like modern british "music". Both just college rejects who get lucky.
Older british it superior

Vodevil
29-12-2007, 13:48
US Comedy for me, not really a fan of British humor.

SV_Harlequin
29-12-2007, 13:48
British of course, I like my Humour/Comedy to be witty and satricial which you hardly get in American comdey.

Corrupt
29-12-2007, 13:49
God save the queen etc
Prefer British stuff tbh.
Nothing against Friends or any American Comedians, both are quite funny and nice to have in the background of to pass 20 minutes until I do somethin else, but British comody is so much more engrossing. Blackadder is complete genius. Its the subtleties I love and the play on words.
Eg
"You cant judge a book by its cover Dave"
"Yeah and you cant compare Rimmer to a book, for a start a books got spine!"

Mad Doc Grotsnik
29-12-2007, 13:52
I wonder how Americans view the Carry On films?

Being British, I'm all for a bit of smut and innuendo, I think it's some sort of bizarre birth right or genetic conditioning, but when you hear Sid James' cackle (yes, I;m aware he was South African really) I can't help but snigger....

The pestilent 1
29-12-2007, 13:54
British Comedy for me usually.
Partly because I prefer the style, but also because I prefer our language.
What I mean is the difference in Dialects, For example I have seen Americans giving people the V's, and to them it (Apparently) is a symbol of peace.
Any Englishman knows otherwise, of course. ;)

Saying that, I absolutely despise the "Five friends and their wacky situations" that a lot of American comedy seems to be.

superknijn
29-12-2007, 14:08
Well, except for Friends. But yeah, they all are too alike these days. They all copy eachother, but become worse every time. As if they are inbreeding.

Promethius
29-12-2007, 14:12
I guess my problem with American comedy (and indeed most tv shows) is that they are all so similar to each other that the jokes/plot mesh together in my mind so that I find it hard to remember which program I saw a joke in, even on the rare occasion that the joke itself is memorable. With British programs on the other hand, even if a friend recants a joke I can quite often guess the series even without having seen the episode in question, Blackadder and Red Dwarf both being good examples. The one exception is animated comedy, where American shows steal the limelight, particularly South Park.

Icarus
29-12-2007, 14:46
American Tv is far superior to British in terms of drama, cult and scifi.

Humourwise though, Britain is clearly the king. its kind of hard to describe why, but theres something genius in a lot of British comedy, and theres a great variety of funny shows. American comedy by contrast is either family-orientated snoozefests or desperate attempts to be shocking and out there that fall flat on their face.

DeathlessDraich
29-12-2007, 15:15
Your poll choices doesn't encourage unbiased participation unfortunately.

I just like good humour - source and nationality are unimportant.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
29-12-2007, 15:17
It's not meant to be particularly impartial.

Regardless of how much/little comedy you like, there is always an over riding preference in style between the US and UK output.

Corrupt
29-12-2007, 15:23
Your poll choices doesn't encourage unbiased participation unfortunately.

I just like good humour - source and nationality are unimportant.

Il translate them

Are you
1) British and a fan of British Humour
2) British and a fan of American Humour
3) American and a fan of British Humour
4) American and a fan of American Humour
5) Other and a fan of British Humour
6) Other and a fan of American Humour

DeathlessDraich
29-12-2007, 16:17
Not a good translation actually:D

Can humour really be categorised as British or American? Can anyone truly state with conviction that a joke is American or British?
Isn't it really a question of whether it is funny or not?

Hope you see the humour in my explanation! :p

If this is what you mean

Is humour originally written and presented in Britain funnier than its American counterpart?

Then my answer is still neither.

My favourite comedy series of all time is Blackadder 2 but the my favourite comedy film of all time is Young Frankenstein by Mel Brooks.
My favourite sitcom is Barney Miller which is American.
I also enjoy the humour of Lenny Henry's Afro Caribbean themes in his show, the Indian flavour of Goodness gracious me, Ali-G, Omid Djalili.

I am a great fan of Richard Pryor whose jokes focused on black Americans.
Have you ever watched the old series of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore? Pretty strange/dry humour but it is being copied elsewhere.

The setting is different in each case but ultimately anyone would enjoy humour when it is funny. Sorry, but I really can't see a case for national differentiation of humour because I don't think there are significant differences especially since humourists and comic writers seem to borrow material from each other across the globe.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner ...:p

Some guy (UK)
29-12-2007, 16:31
British comedy for me.
Though I do like Friends- a nice, jolly, upbeat show to put on whilst I'm on the PC or just relaxing.
Mind you, Shrek 1 and 2 (not 3) were American written? I found those well done. Okay, but when it comes to TV comedy at least, British takes the lead.

The Grand Wazoo
29-12-2007, 16:48
Norwegian, and I far prefer the British comedy classics over their American counterparts. Monty Python, Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister are the kings of the hill imo. Just ordered the complete Yes Minister series as a boxed set, can't wait for it to get here :D

As for American comedy, MASH is by far the best.

Shadowheart
29-12-2007, 16:51
I'm going to vote for the US just to annoy the rest of you. Probably true, too, although that's merely incidental. This whole structural boasting about British comedy I actually find quite off-putting. I appreciate how the Brits seem to have ingrained the sharpening of their wits into their society, but it borders on indoctrination. I wonder if the Brits are even capable of doubting the superiority of their humour. I think they do expect the inquisition.

Corrupt
29-12-2007, 16:55
I wonder if the Brits are even capable of doubting the superiority of their humour. I think they do expect the inquisition.

Hmm
We often laugh at ourselves not being the best because we know we are as a source of humour
Quick
Someone say something funny about how our humour isnt the best so it still is!

Lol

Nagash
29-12-2007, 16:59
We mostly get American comedy shows here so I am more accustomed to their weird sense of humor.

der_lex
29-12-2007, 17:01
The poll really needed an 'I like a bit of both' option. Both have their gems (for example: Blackadder, The Young Ones, Father Ted for the Brits; Frasier, Spin City and Futurama for the Yanks) and both have more than their fair share of tripe.

Of course, both are far, far better than Dutch or Belgian tv comedy... (stressing the 'tv' part, both Holland and Belgium have some really good stand-up and theatre comedians).

thegnome
29-12-2007, 17:06
Both have their gems, both have their stinkers. I'm riding the middle on this one.

Nagoveht
29-12-2007, 17:58
I am a huge fan of classic British comedy myself. Usually much of the good american humor you can find is in the form of more low budget stuff like cartoons and low production films. I believe the problem lies mostly in the US Media industry in general. Because it costs so much to produce something that is expected to be seen by most of the world, (or at least, thats how us Americans like to think, flawed as it is) aka, worth a damn in America (international exportability), you have to get with one of the major producers. Now these major producers only want to finance something that they know will make them a lot of money. Something new and exciting, while capable of being a big hit can also be a big flop, a risk none of them are willing to take. So we get the same rehashed horse **** with a new setting. You see it with the reality shows, certain ways movies are now filmed, which also happens to bleed into the comedies! Only very few new ideas get through, and they are usually stolen or picked up once it appears that the idea has an increasingly growing fanbase. (aka, the old way talent was found back in the day before cookie cutter force fed entertainment)

Adept
29-12-2007, 18:29
I just like good humour - source and nationality are unimportant.

Indeed. Scrubs is funnier than just about anything out of the UK for the last twenty years, but I also love my Blackadder and Carry On films. I love Seinfeld, and I love Monty Python. I love Blazing Saddles and Are you Being Served.

Drogmir
29-12-2007, 19:06
I love both and I'm American, I also hate both.

Not all comedians are created equal

devolutionary
29-12-2007, 19:19
Wait, the yanks have comedy?

I kid, I kid! :D I see no option for non-swarthy, colonial foreigners. I am sadly disappointed by this.

Kulgur
29-12-2007, 19:35
Indeed. Scrubs is funnier than just about anything out of the UK for the last twenty years, but I also love my Blackadder and Carry On films. I love Seinfeld, and I love Monty Python. I love Blazing Saddles and Are you Being Served.

Ouch, you realise you're putting Scrubs above Red Dwarf?

I like bits of both, in general American animation is the best source of American humour (Family Guy, Futurama) older British stuff is best for British humour (Red Dwarf, Two Ronnies, Blackadder)

floyd pinkerton
29-12-2007, 19:40
huzzah! god save the queen

I don't see whats funny in many american comedies, particularly scrubs. I just dont get it:confused:

Damien 1427
29-12-2007, 19:42
The Colonials can do animated comedy better than we can. Futurama, the golden age of the Simpsons, Family Guy... The only thing we have that can compare was Monkey Dust, which sadly finished.

We do sitcoms better, for the most part. Namely the classic eighties batch (Red Dwarf, Blackadder, etcetera) but also a handful of more recent shows (Not Going Out, The IT Crowd...). I just find most American sitcoms bland as hell, but there's dozens of utterly terrible British sitcoms. My Family, in particular, is probably one of the worst ever made.

Standup is tough... But I prefer more British comedians. Jack Dee, Jimmy Carr, Dylan Moran, Ross Noble (Noble is, by far, my favourite comedian in the world)... The two most popular American standups in Blighty (Bill Hicks and Dennis Leary) don't do anything for me though.

dr.oetk3r
29-12-2007, 19:58
US com is crap, ever watched comedy central? British commedy FTW.

DeathlessDraich
29-12-2007, 20:41
Indeed. Scrubs is funnier than just about anything out of the UK for the last twenty years, but I also love my Blackadder and Carry On films. I love Seinfeld, and I love Monty Python. I love Blazing Saddles and Are you Being Served.

Remember the Paul Hogan show? - shown here in the late 80s

theunwantedbeing
29-12-2007, 20:43
Both are different types of humour really.
I tend to prefer the british humour though, although there are plenty of very funny american programmes.

Monty python > Scrubs

athamas
29-12-2007, 20:52
british is better IMO, some of the US stuff is amusing, but it has no depth or subtlety, and you often have to cringe know what is going to happen next, the uk stuff tends to be abit more sneaky...


although the canadians are quite good with some of thier humour...

The UnNamed One
29-12-2007, 20:56
Im a New Zealander, we get a mix of Brit and American stuff over here, and i prefer the Brit stuff by a long shot. I like Ab Fab, Blackadder, some Monty Python, Father Ted and Little Britians good the first few times.

Gae'Mot
29-12-2007, 21:14
Both can get a laugh out of me.

Crube
29-12-2007, 21:21
British...no US....no British.... no...


Gah


I'm in the middle here. I love stuff like Friends, Frasier, South Park, Simpsons, 70s show.. but also Red Dwarf, Blackadder, to the Manor Born...

So much to like from both sides of the atlantic... some complete tosh too, but that;s from both sides too...

MadJackMcJack
29-12-2007, 22:37
Why choose when you can have both?

Vodevil
29-12-2007, 22:53
british is better IMO, some of the US stuff is amusing, but it has no depth or subtlety, and you often have to cringe know what is going to happen next, the uk stuff tends to be abit more sneaky...

I will always think of a scene from King of the Hill when someone makes this point.

Bobby and Peggy are watching a British show, Peggy says to him "Now, British comedy is much more sophisticated then what you're used to, you might not understand it." Then, seconds later Bobby asks, "Why is that man wearing a dress?".

Good times... I'm going to retract my previous post though and agree with those that just like whatever is good.

skott4991
29-12-2007, 23:05
British comedy is the best.

Only really the older british stuff, red dwarf, only fools and horses, open all hours, my family and black adder to name a few.

The only real american comedy im into is family guy, south park and american dad, mainly because they say so many non politicaly correct jokes and offensive stereo types.

American has us beat at drama, action and sci-fi, after all they have heroes.

vforvenator
30-12-2007, 00:42
The Colonials can do animated comedy better than we can. Futurama, the golden age of the Simpsons, Family Guy... The only thing we have that can compare was Monkey Dust, which sadly finished. The thing is, I think, that those cartoons are pretty subversive for US TV, they can get away with jokes and statements that a live acted show would struggle to get aired. We in Blighty seem to have less of a problem, if you think of stuff like Brass Eye or Jerry Springer: the Musical, or even prime-time things like Little Britain or Nighty Night. Monkey Dust doesn't really compare to US comedys, as they compare better to some of our standard shows.
Think of Will and Grace, for example: hugely popular over there, so I hear, but considered unconventional in having gay main characters and the risque humour- while the UK show from which it was adapted, Gimme Gimme Gimme, was far, far cruder as well as more anarchic. Sexual innuendo seems to be a very English comedy trait, thanks to our notably strait-laced past, which the US struggles to translate. Other than Will and Grace, the only thing I've seen that tries was one of the National Lampoon films (American Pie was way too overt and OTT to be considered innuendo) and it just came across as juvenile. I think the National Lampoon movies were meant to be an American version of Carry On films, but they just seemed like any other generic US comedy, which brings me to another point...

We do sitcoms better, for the most part. Namely the classic eighties batch (Red Dwarf, Blackadder, etcetera) but also a handful of more recent shows (Not Going Out, The IT Crowd...). I just find most American sitcoms bland as hell, but there's dozens of utterly terrible British sitcoms. My Family, in particular, is probably one of the worst ever made. You notice how distinctively British comedy is perceived as opposed to US stuff? There are so many attempts at imitating a particular British style or genre or programme, but much less vice versa- surrealist or absurdist humour especially it seems. The only times our stuff is really comparable to American stuff is when it isn't trying for a style or running theme or anything, and it's just a straightforward 'sitcom'. Things like Coupling, or Three Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, or My Family (all *****, I agree)- or even the mighty Game On are examples (although if Game On had a theme, it was just sex - I don't know how US makers would have handled one of the main characters getting his penis stuck in a hoover attatchment as a main part of the plot...)
I recall Rob Schneider admitting in an interview over here the failing of the US version of Men Behaving Badly (cruder than crude, in fact on many levels pretty sexist portrayal of two guys as drunken idiots) in which he starred, as it was just formulaic- he said he'd seen the original UK version while over here and was surprised, the US one should've been called 'Men Apologising'.
But anyway. I am surprised by some things that have apparently caught on over there, big-time, for there quintessential Englishness- mainly among the university student population- things like Keeping Up Appearances (which my strait-laced mother watches: a purposefully old fashioned sitcomedy of manners in a kind of modern P.G. Wodehouse style) or One Foot in the Grave (kind of like a dark Curb Your Enthusiasm, but where the characters are mainly Brits over 50) and so on.

vcassano
30-12-2007, 09:06
Although I generally find British comedy better, even with the likes of My Family, I have to put it out there that the American Office is better than the British one...

Icarus
30-12-2007, 14:25
The Colonials can do animated comedy better than we can. Futurama, the golden age of the Simpsons, Family Guy... The only thing we have that can compare was Monkey Dust, which sadly finished.

Its true that US do have some good animated comedy, especially Futurama (Simpsons, Family Guy and South Park all started off well but have now become very tired uninteresting shows).

Thing is though, there have been very few animated comedy shows in the Uk so its hard to compare. Monkey Dust was quite funny. The only other one I can think of is 'The Mr Hell Show' from several years back. That was utterly hilarious! It had all kinds of weird funny things, my favourite being 'Serge, the Baby Seal Cub of DEATH'. :evilgrin:

Freak Ona Leash
30-12-2007, 15:20
Poshs' are funnier than Yanks, 'tis true. Like seriously, they are. Ok, some Brit stuff is naff, I agree, but then a lot of American stuff is just utter balls.

Of course, being an American teen, I do love Family Guy and American Dad. the Simpsons...meh, been going for far too long.

Not gonna lie though, sometimes I just want to smack the damn Brits because they don't talk right. I'll be damned if I could understand half of what was said in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It's worse than hearing my Cajun granny speak. :p

Damien 1427
30-12-2007, 15:43
Not gonna lie though, sometimes I just want to smack the damn Brits because they don't talk right.

No, we speak English. Not Crazy Colonial Moon Langauge.

;p

Icarus
30-12-2007, 16:16
No, we speak English. Not Crazy Colonial Moon Langauge.

Laughed my **** off at this! :D

Wintermute
30-12-2007, 16:37
Regardless of how much/little comedy you like, there is always an over riding preference in style between the US and UK output.

Very, very wrong.

So there should be an option in the poll to reflect this.

Freak Ona Leash
30-12-2007, 16:41
No, we speak English. Not Crazy Colonial Moon Langauge.

;p
Y'all speak like you got a frog rammed down your throat. :p

Us Amercians? Well, we speak like proper people. In fact, the reason there is an America is we got fed up with all your indecipherable way of talking and decided to make our own country.

Unfortunatelly, some of us didn't get the message. And 'lo, Texas, Oklahoma and Tennesee were born.


;)

Chainsofsigil
30-12-2007, 17:03
I only saw Bill Hicks mentioned once in this thread :mad:

As far as stand up comedy goes I can't off the top of my head think of a British stand-up who can preach like Bill Hicks and make you laugh. Then of course there's Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor, so I doubt British Stand-ups can stand up to these greats. Not even mediocre hacks like Dane Cook or Carlos Mencia can reduce the Yanks dominance of Stand-Up comedy IMO.

As already mentioned, Yanks > Brits at cartoons, but Brits > Yanks in Sitcoms. I'll vote for Brits at the end of the day still, purely for satire's sake. I mean, Brits have the brutal Ork-like Chris Morris (Brass Eye) and the legacy of the revolutionary and daring Monty Python team behind them. Ni!

Damien 1427
30-12-2007, 17:18
I only saw Bill Hicks mentioned once in this thread :mad:

I thought he was an over-opinionated nonce, about as funny as being preached at by sociology student who spouts that kind of crap to get laid. Just not my thing. I don't care for people blaring on about their politics.

I prefer the rambling insanity of Ross Noble, the drunken grumbling of Dylan Moran, or the grumpy old man of standup, Jack Dee. I'd happily take Noble over Hicks any day of the week. I've never wanted to smack Noble in the mouth with a golf bat.

Freak Ona Leash
30-12-2007, 17:21
British stand-ups make me want to get my "Talent Stick" (crowbar with the word talent stenciled on it) and shove it up their ****.

To be fair, the same goes for most stand-ups from America too. At least we got a few good ones though :D

Chainsofsigil
30-12-2007, 17:31
I thought he was an over-opinionated nonce, about as funny as being preached at by sociology student who spouts that kind of crap to get laid. Just not my thing. I don't care for people blaring on about their politics.

I prefer the rambling insanity of Ross Noble, the drunken grumbling of Dylan Moran, or the grumpy old man of standup, Jack Dee. I'd happily take Noble over Hicks any day of the week. I've never wanted to smack Noble in the mouth with a golf bat.

LOL fair enough old bean. I quite like Ross Noble myself (a friend of mine even met him! Lucky bastard). He is extremely talented and never fails to make me laugh.

I can say fairly confidently though, that if you gave Bill Hicks a real chance, you might well find yourself agreeing with him (e.g. choosing love over fear, the absence of positive drug stories on the news, taking the p*** out of the new kids on the block). I mean Jack Dee's funny but after watching him for an hour I dont feel anymore enlightened afterwards.

Icarus
30-12-2007, 17:52
I like guys like Bill Hicks, but I've got to say for stand-up, the Brits have got tons of good ones. Anyone who's ever been to the Edinburgh Fringe can attest to that!

Plus we have Eddie Izzard, king of standup ;)

scratchbuilt
30-12-2007, 18:46
I prefer American comedy. English comedy seems obsessed with putting down a nearby competing segment of society. Women mocking men, men mocking women, poor mocking middleclass, middleclass mocking upperclass, etc. American humor is just more universal, and there is a lot associated with that.
I'm English.
Perhaps though I get a more filtered view of American Comedy. When I was in America I found the tv unwatchable. The man show and lots of other comedies I just don't get. And so much adverts. Non stop weather was useful though.
American movies though, are much better, hot fuzz was ok 3/5, Blades of Glory was amazing 5/5, needs a sequel.

vcassano
30-12-2007, 19:43
Not gonna lie though, sometimes I just want to smack the damn Brits because they don't talk right. I'll be damned if I could understand half of what was said in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It's worse than hearing my Cajun granny speak. :p

Yeah I needed subtitles too for Lock Stock and Snatch. But then again I needed it for the Godfather and the Wire too. Though that was the point of the Wire though, realistic street talk.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
31-12-2007, 09:36
With regards to Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrells, it was a film made by a middle class mockney idiot to whom the cockney accent is the accent of hard men.

You want indecipherable? True talking to a genuine Geordie!

salty
31-12-2007, 13:37
I thought he was an over-opinionated nonce, about as funny as being preached at by sociology student who spouts that kind of crap to get laid. Just not my thing. I don't care for people blaring on about their politics.


I have to agree. Bill Hicks really grates on me, mainly because of the self-assured smugness of his opinions. There are, however, several good American stand-up comedians (I can't believe Chris Rock has been missed out in this discussion so far!).

That said, British humour definitely edges out American humour. For me, it is the fact that it is more edgy and risque - with US comedies it seems that there are only so many risks you can take before the network comes down on you like a tonne of bricks. Some comedies, particularly the cartoons (South Park and Family Guy mainly, but to a lesser extent The Simpsons [before it disappeared up its own ****] and American Dad) are pushing these boundaries, and it is a good thing, but on the whole I think British TV gives a lot more freedom to do and say pretty much what you please.

One final point however - if any American studio representatives happen to be reading this, would you please do us all a favour and stop remaking our bloody shows :mad:. The American Office was good but not a patch on the original, and the fact that many of these remakes fail where the originals were fairly popular should give you fair warning (US Red Dwarf and Men Behaving Badly for instance). I'm reserving further judgement on this issue until I have seen the US Life on Mars, but I am not holding out much hope.

Salty :)

EVIL INC
31-12-2007, 13:43
I like both. Both appeal to me in many ways.

Benny Hill was the man, and notjust because of the half naked women either. :p

kortholaxthedamned
31-12-2007, 14:35
Plus we have Eddie Izzard, king of standup ;)

Gah! Finally, someone mentioned Izzard. The man's brilliant. Along with Ross Noble, Dylan Moran and Bill Bailey. But I do like Hicks, in the few things I've seen him in. I actually enjoy comedy from both countries, but I have to say Little Britain, Catherine Tate and League of Gentlemen I despise. Which is a shame, as the people who do these shows (David Walliams, Matt Lucas, Catherine Tate, Mark Gatiss, the other league of gentlemen people, i forget their names) all at least have some talent, but they wasted it on shows like this.

Icarus
31-12-2007, 14:55
One final point however - if any American studio representatives happen to be reading this, would you please do us all a favour and stop remaking our bloody shows :mad:. The American Office was good but not a patch on the original, and the fact that many of these remakes fail where the originals were fairly popular should give you fair warning (US Red Dwarf and Men Behaving Badly for instance). I'm reserving further judgement on this issue until I have seen the US Life on Mars, but I am not holding out much hope.

QFT. I never understand why instead of just buying the original shows and broadcasting them, American TV networks feel the need to spend a load of money remaking their own American version, which then always flops horribly. The American take on the Office was the only exception, and that was basically because Steve Carrell saved it, and it still wasn't as good as the original. I just don't understand why the original British version can't be shown? Its not going to get any funnier if you remake it, and it almost always becomes so dire that it falls apart. We Brits watch a lot of American shows without feeling the need to remake them, and some of those even do well! So why this desperate need to remake everything?

Kjell
31-12-2007, 15:00
The differences are greatly exaggerated anyway. It doesn't really matter. Good comedy is good comedy regardless of which orifice produced it.

Thud
31-12-2007, 15:11
I tend to prefer British comedy, generally because the British accent just fits so brilliantly in a humorous context. Then again, my favourite comedians, Bill Hicks and Jerry Seinfeld, are both American and I'm a huge fan of Seth MacFarland's work, so...

Edit: And for the record, I'm neither British nor American.

Eldanar
31-12-2007, 15:19
Comedy is such a broad term. You have cartoons, sitcoms, sketch comedy shows, mockumentary style late night satire shows, as well as movies.

And too, I think both sides of the pond go through cycles, in all of the above.

I really cannot comment on some of the British shows mentioned, because I simply have never seen them or not seen enough of them to make much of a judgment.

But anyone who thinks American comedy is unsubtle and cookie cutter has never seen Idiocracy. Also, the Colbert Report and The Daily Show with John Stewart are some of the funniest satires I've ever seen. And the Dave Chappel Show, until he cracked under the pressure, was probably the funniest sketch show I have ever seen.

DeathlessDraich
31-12-2007, 16:03
Not gonna lie though, sometimes I just want to smack the damn Brits because they don't talk right.

The glaring grammatical mistake in that sentence is intended as tongue in cheek, I take it.


I'll be damned if I could understand half of what was said in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It's worse than hearing my Cajun granny speak. :p

Can you use Cajun to describe a person? I though only barbecued chickens can be Cajun. :p


With regards to Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrells, it was a film made by a middle class mockney idiot to whom the cockney accent is the accent of hard men.
You want indecipherable? True talking to a genuine Geordie!

Cockney is not a word used these days. I'm a few miles short of qualifying as one, being too far from the Bow bells. We call ourselves EastEnders these days but not after the pathetic soap opera, I hasten to add. :p


Although I generally find British comedy better, even with the likes of My Family, I have to put it out there that the American Office is better than the British one...

The Office was highly over rated here. Many enjoyed it because they could relate to many of the comic incidents depicted. Although the American version has yet to hit our screens, I'm sure it would not have much of a problem in being funnier.


But anyone who thinks American comedy is unsubtle and cookie cutter has never seen Idiocracy. Also, the Colbert Report and The Daily Show with John Stewart are some of the funniest satires I've ever seen. And the Dave Chappel Show, until he cracked under the pressure, was probably the funniest sketch show I have ever seen.

?? Never seen any of these and would love to. Idiocracy especially sounds good. Are these available at Amazon possibly?
If not send me a DVD sample copy please! :D

EVIL INC
31-12-2007, 18:32
Theres always the comedy that covers both areas.
Look at the show "Who's line is it anyway". I LOVE that show both in England and U.S. version.

Freak Ona Leash
31-12-2007, 18:38
The glaring grammatical mistake in that sentence is intended as tongue in cheek, I take it.



Can you use Cajun to describe a person? I though only barbecued chickens can be Cajun. :p


Nah, it wasn;t suppsoed to be tongue-in-cheek. I never said I talk right either, did I? :p I just find the accents of the people in things like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels hard to decipher. I mean seriously, you guys invented the damn language, speak it so the rest of us know what you are saying!

Of course, us Yanks got some pretty horrid accents. The accent you hear people speak in the inner-city here is pretty atrocious, and of course Southerners sometimes are pretty goddamn hard to understand.

And yeah, Cajun spices are named after Cajun people. They're from Louisiana. My grandma and her family are all from down there. Speak a mangled version of French. And a mangled version of English, to tell the truth.

Hlokk
31-12-2007, 18:50
I really like both.

Having lived in britain, a lot of the less surreal BBC stuff like Red Dwarf, Black Adder, Fawlty Towers, My Family and so on is great, but a lot of the new stuff is utter ***** (ie: Black books, mighty boosh, catherine tate, league of gentlemen). Also, Father Ted FTW!!!

Theres a lot to be said for the US comedy scene though, especially animated comedy (southpark, family guy, simpsons, american dad etc...). Most of the sitcoms tend to be crap though, aside from friends and 2 and a half men.

I'd honestly say Britan does the best sitcoms, and the USA does the best animated stuff.

I will say this though, I've never seen a funny american stand up comedian. While in Britain we have people like Al Murray, Lee Evans and Peter Kay, I've not seen a single american standup comedian who could make me laugh.

Wintermute
31-12-2007, 19:08
I will say this though, I've never seen a funny american stand up comedian. While in Britain we have people like Al Murray, Lee Evans and Peter Kay

You were doing well until you mentioned the incredibly unfunny Peter Kay :eek:

salty
31-12-2007, 19:11
I will say this though, I've never seen a funny american stand up comedian. While in Britain we have people like Al Murray, Lee Evans and Peter Kay, I've not seen a single american standup comedian who could make me laugh.

:eek: Black Books is great! ;)

As for good American stand-up, I found Robin Williams to be pretty funny in the Live at Broadway dvd. Well, funny once you get over the initial shock of hearing someone you grew up watching in family movie roles talk about fake breasts in a crude manner...

Salty :)

Eldanar
31-12-2007, 20:34
I will say this though, I've never seen a funny american stand up comedian...I've not seen a single american standup comedian who could make me laugh.

You have never seen: Eddie Murphy - RAW; or anything by Richard Pryor; or George Carlin; or Robin Williams, when he was younger and on coke and before he became a caricature of himself?

Although it is hard to think of any good current stand up comedians in the U.S. As soon as they get big they almost always get movie or sitcom offers.


?? Never seen any of these and would love to. Idiocracy especially sounds good. Are these available at Amazon possibly?
If not send me a DVD sample copy please!

Idiocracy should be on DVD. You should also be able to find Chapell, Colbert and Stewart on Youtube, Comedy Central web site, and probably on DVD.

Here are a couple of Chapelle (I did my best to find some that did not violate Warseer's PG-13 policy; you can probably find many that do:

[self edit - I forgot the Black White Supremicist - Clayton Bigsby probably violates the policy, but look it up...]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUF-YnognKU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nF4STGmM-HU&feature=related

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8MOU_-anw8

And this ought to be required viewing for speaking truth to power:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qa-4E8ZDj9s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOYZF3It848&feature=related

intellectawe
01-01-2008, 03:32
American and I love American comedy.

If you want me to like some British Comedy some more, please, stop sending Mr. Bean over here every 4 years. Please. He was gold in Black Adder, but he should not be in American style movies.

But I must say, probably my top comedy show of all time happens to be that lovely 'Allo 'Allo. Nothing beats that. Hands down.

mistformsquirrel
01-01-2008, 04:24
It's a pretty straight forward question really, but I need structured answers, which are available in the poll. (hurrah!)

Me, I clearly prefer British Comedy. It's silly and sweary, without always resorting to toilet humour. I like word play and stupid reactions to pretty normal situations.

I tend to find a lot of American comedy, well, a little smug for my liking. Perhaps it's to do with the difference in a successful US comedian, and a successful UK comedian.

Make it big in the States, and you've got it sewn up. Movies, spin off records, the lot all seem to follow, all on the back on that one funny joke you thought up once. In Britain however, due to the more limited audience range, it's a slightly more muted fame in my opinion. Yes, you make a comfortable living, but hardly makes you a Millionaire over night. Well, unless you get picked up by American networks!

So, with the sort of success and rewards available to US comedians, I can see why all too many of them seem to disappear up their own colon, whilst British comedians seem to be a little more grounded.

Please note, the above is purely one mans opinion and an attempt at rationalising why two countires comedies are so different.

Now, it's your turn!

I like both, honestly.

Anymore its become less a question of "British or American" for me; as instead its more a question of having a certain type of carry off.

Like, for example: Loved the heck out of Monty Python (I know I know, we've ALL seen at least one Monty Python movie right?)... not so particularly keen on Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (Saw the original BBC Miniseries)

There were some good points to the latter, and some boring points in some of the former... but all told I just prefer the former.

Or for American comedy - I like Jim Carrey and Dane Cooke (not as an actor, just as a standup guy), or Robin Williams; or political comics, Al Franken, Lewis Black and Bill Maher - but I'm not much of a fan of Adam Sandler, Carlos Mencia (sp?), the "Redneck Comedy Tour" guys (Occasionally they'll have a funny, but usually... eh...) etc...

It really just varies I guess.

I wish I could remember some more examples of UK comedy I've seen; before I lost TV a few years back, I know I watched a fair portion of stuff that had been ported over from BBC to American stations... but I'm at a loss at the moment. Maybe it'll hit me later.

>.> Yeah this isn't a very helpful answer, is it?

intellectawe
01-01-2008, 04:35
I don't even think I have even heard of any funny British Comedians... I may have seen one or two funny stand up British Comedians when I was a kid, but that sort of humor doesn't budge me anymore.

der_lex
01-01-2008, 04:42
Lewis Black

Lewis Black is fantastic. His rants never fail to crack me up. On the Brit side, Eddie Izzard is probably my favorite comedian.
And I know they're neither British nor American, but I really liked the theatre show of Flight of the Conchords as well...songs like Jenny, Business Time or their rap battle are fantastic. Haven't seen their tv show yet, though.

Promethius
01-01-2008, 09:45
Flight of the Conchords is great. Got into it in NZ & was very pleased to find it on the Beeb when I got back.


With regards to Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrells, it was a film made by a middle class mockney idiot to whom the cockney accent is the accent of hard men.

You want indecipherable? True talking to a genuine Geordie!

The worst accent I have come across so far belonged to a Cornish tin miner. I caught about every fifth word. Quite worrying when you are a long way underground and trying to navigate!

I think there's a lot to be said for the point someone made earlier about budgetry constraints. I think British shows do well because they tend to be low budget, low expectation, and need only appeal to a narrow audience (look at mighty boosh). American programs as a whole suffer from the need to appeal to a very broad audience due to the amount of money involved, and so try to avoid controversy and keep jokes straightforward. It makes it difficult for a particular program to stand out. More recent prime-time british sitcoms have suffered from the same problems for largely the same reasons, and imo the programs that have stood out in recent years (peep show for example) have tended to be screened late at night with a kind of 'sink or swim' attitude, and fortunately the better ones have found cult followings.

salty
01-01-2008, 10:19
I don't even think I have even heard of any funny British Comedians... I may have seen one or two funny stand up British Comedians when I was a kid, but that sort of humor doesn't budge me anymore.

I would suggest Lee Evans, Billy Connolly and/or Dylan Moran. Bill Bailey is also fantastic, but some of his work, especially the earlier stuff available on DVD, is a bit surreal.

Just throwing in another British sitcom that sprang to mind, Teachers was pretty good. At least, the last two series were (I missed the first couple).

Salty :)

The_Outsider
01-01-2008, 10:27
I love British comedy and I haven't seen anything from any other country to top it yet.

DeathlessDraich
01-01-2008, 11:04
Idiocracy should be on DVD. You should also be able to find Chapell, Colbert and Stewart on Youtube, Comedy Central web site, and probably on DVD.

Here are a couple of Chapelle (I did my best to find some that did not violate Warseer's PG-13 policy; you can probably find many that do:

[self edit - I forgot the Black White Supremicist - Clayton Bigsby probably violates the policy, but look it up...]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUF-YnognKU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nF4STGmM-HU&feature=related

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8MOU_-anw8

And this ought to be required viewing for speaking truth to power:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qa-4E8ZDj9s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOYZF3It848&feature=related

Thank you for the links and information. I particularly enjoyed Jon Stewart's satire and will look out for the names you've mentioned.

warboss48
01-01-2008, 13:21
I'm British and prefer British comedy, but I do like some American shows.

Angelwing
01-01-2008, 15:11
I prefer British comedy as it (mostly) makes me laugh out loud. Very few american comedies do that to me.

intellectawe
01-01-2008, 18:18
I would suggest Lee Evans, Billy Connolly and/or Dylan Moran. Bill Bailey is also fantastic, but some of his work, especially the earlier stuff available on DVD, is a bit surreal.

Just throwing in another British sitcom that sprang to mind, Teachers was pretty good. At least, the last two series were (I missed the first couple).

Salty :)

Why thank you very much! I will look into them shortly after I save some money.

Spell_of_Destruction
01-01-2008, 20:41
Generally speaking I like British comedy particularly shows like 'Blackadder' and 'Fawlty Towers' and more recently 'Peep Show'.

Let's not pretend that all British comedy is great though. There is a lot of utter crap comedy on British TV at the moment every bit as bad as the worst American shows.

I think the Americans do light comedy better.

The_Outsider
01-01-2008, 21:09
Why thank you very much! I will look into them shortly after I save some money.

Always consult youtube first (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfh7tSYVQdU)

Crazy Harborc
02-01-2008, 01:03
I like both styles of humor. I do not care much for every other word being cussing. At the same time.....I do not like the idea of too much censoring either.

Benny Hill....that smile and eye blinking. Peter Sellers, those mumbled sentences. Memory lapse.....can't think of other British comedy greats names.

vforvenator
02-01-2008, 01:44
Benny Hill, eh..? Is he popular in the US or elsewhere? As over here he is actively maligned in many quarters as a horrendously embarrassing symbol and reminder of British comedy and culture's sexist past (some are pretty critical of the way he was treated by broadcasters and those in the field, as the PC backlash got into full swing)

ServanoTomasin
02-01-2008, 11:44
I'm Brit and I like Brit - but there is a fair bit of US stuff I like.
I'm really surprised that the Goodies haven't had a mention. one of my favourite British comedy show - apart from the South Afrika ep....less said, the better.
I love Whose line is it anyway?, at least the origional Brit version with Clive Anderson. That said, the US version is fairly good too.
I hate Friends. I really, really, really hate it. I want everyone involved in it to be locked in a very small room and forced to watch it until they die of boredom.
I do like How I Met Your Mother. I just think its better than Friends which it is apparently based on. It would be nice if the UK would buy season 3. and for the DVD of S2 to arrive. Alyson Hannigan as Lilly in HIMYM is ace - she's really funny and the dude who plays Barney is really funny (Neil Pattrick Harris?).
Anyway
I really dislike The Office (UK version, haven't seen the US) and extras. I find them un-funny, I seriously cannot laugh at anything in them. AT ALL. Ricky Gervais just isn't funny.
The same goes for little Britain - though, this is probably down to the fact I have to listen to my class repeating the lines for 7 hours a day. Fun! :eyebrows:
Blackadder from season 2, Monty Python, Red Dwarf, Men behaving badly, Omid Djalili, Bill Bailey, Never mind the buzzcocks and Dave Spikey are all great.

Thanks to my dad, I love MASH. Which isn't a problem as it is definitly one of the best shows i have watched. I like American Dad and family guy, both of them are pretty good. I don't like the simpsons that much, its been on too long, but futurama is still good despite the lack of new episodes.
One thing thats wrong with the simpsons is the fact that the really old un-funny morals obsessed episodes are repeated too much - like the party at the power-plant-family-is-bad-cause-power-cut-in-town-blah-blah-blah. And some of the new episodes are just un-funny because they are trying to be funny. Something which I know from experience, isn't always a good thing.

I think both the UK and the US have made the fair share of great and utterly crap shows.
S.T

Shadowphrakt
02-01-2008, 12:45
I really like older British comedy, like Fawlty towers, Porridge, Monty Python, Red Dwarf, stuff like that. Though there is a lot of American stuff which is quite good, like South Park, Family guy, American Dad, Futurama. Stewie is a work of pure genious!!!

The_Outsider
02-01-2008, 15:48
I really like older British comedy, like Fawlty towers, Porridge, Monty Python, Red Dwarf, stuff like that. Though there is a lot of American stuff which is quite good, like South Park, Family guy, American Dad, Futurama. Stewie is a work of pure genious!!!

However, notice the trend.

All the english stuff you mentioned involves real actors and "classic" comedy delivery.

Yet those american shwos are all cartoons, where you have much more flexibility in how a joke can be told (as you can do literally anything).

IMO the only good yank comedy I have seen is in cartoon form, maybe to appeal to a wider audience they don't have what it takes when it comes ot stand up?

(Or IMO toilet humour doesn't sway so well in otehr countries).

thegnome
03-01-2008, 01:45
Watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, I think it might shift your opinion a little.

One thing I find interesting is a different part of Shadowphrakt's post: the part about preferring "older" British comedy. That seems to be a common opinion on this poll, and it makes me wonder if some arguments aren't being skewed by comparing classic British shows that have stood the test of time to American shows that are simply on air right now. It's incredibly easy to say that Fawlty Towers is better than The New Adventures of Old Christine, but I think it's probably a fair fight when compared to Classic American series like M*A*S*H.

TheBigBadWolf
03-01-2008, 20:21
British comedy is far better,

Red Dwarf, father ted, Still Game (you really need to be scottish to appreciate it fully)

Damien 1427
03-01-2008, 22:06
Watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, I think it might shift your opinion a little.

I honestly prefer British satire. Give me Bremner, Bird and Fortune any day.