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British vs. American Comedy: What's the Difference?
   Now You See It
  Published: 2 years ago


Is there a big difference in comedic style across the Atlantic? Let's see.

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Videos in Order of Appearance:
Monty Python - World's Funniest Joke:
Spongebob - "Frankendoodle" S03E14
Big Think - Ricky Gervais:
Stephen Fry Clips:
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Comments Directly on YouTube

6 hours ago
Final episode of "black adder goes forth" .

20 hours ago
Good comedy/bad comedy ratio is higher in UK. Thanks to Hollywood's some slipshod shitty movies like amateur dad , how to fuck your boss, funny black cop it is hard to find the respectable ones.

24 hours ago
Alan Partirdge has to be one of the best examples of British comedy aside from Monty Python

1 day ago
Highlighting the difference between the underlying British cynicism and American positivism sums it up quite accurately. The Brit's can't help but exaggerate all the tragic character flaws as a permanent state of being for comedy characters (Alan Partridge/David Brent/Mr. Bean). Yet in the US, it is overriding positivity undercut by reality that gives the comedic edge (South Park/Bill Hicks/ Doug Stanhope/ Larry King). None better than the other I say, complement one another nicely

1 day ago
I often watch US Comedies on TV and even I notice the main differences, for instance take some of the biggest sitcom series in the last decade or so eg How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory, they're both a group of friends who live in reasonably large apartments that would cost quite a lot in reality, both have reasonably successful careers and large salaries, both can afford to constantly eat out in restaurants, cafes, movie theathres, bars etc All of that could apply to Friends or even Frasier. It's that American optimism mixed with that American dream, where everyone has enough money to live a comfortable life and the only worries they have are easily solved by the end of the episode. Whereas I've noticed often British comedy shows like The Office, Shameless and even going back to Only Fools and Horses are usually more about working class with working class worries.

Only Fools and Horses for instance is a good example to look at when comparing the two types of comedy, in Only Fools and Horses you have Del Boy who is essentially a working class man brought up on a council estate and whose income is through selling knocked off (fake or dodgy) goods from a suitcase or the back of a van but constantly dreams of being a millionaire (The common phrase in the show is "This time next year, we'll be Millionaires!") it's essentially a working class person constantly dreaming and trying to work toward that "American Dream" of being a millionaire with his own business and filofax and Rolls Royce with a built in phone (Some of his dreams in the show) whereas American comedy it seems more like it starts from the middle class living reasonably comfortable lives and they don't aspire to be rich or businessmen, they just seem to live out their lives with different scenarios. Essentially some of the main British comedy series seems to be about focusing on dreams vs reality, compared with American comedy which is already set in that "American dream" instead of that American reality (Take for instance How I Met Your Mother or Friends, both set in New York with large apartments that would cost thousands of dollars to rent each month yet they never seem to have to worry about being homeless which is pretty unrealistic).

3 days ago
Could it not just be summed up as; Americans watched imported british humor, loved it, stole it, appropriated it?
Just looks like classical American humor is going the way of the dodo more than anything else-¨.

4 days ago
These feel like mini-documentaries, love it!

4 days ago
Or maybe there isn't much of a difference at all unless you cherry pick things. Either you're smart enough to understand the humor, or you aren't.

4 days ago
Yay I'm optimistic.

5 days ago
always so glad i'm british. american humour is too blatant + try-hard

5 days ago
the office is such a dumb show. and british comedy is way better than american. sorry people, but its true

5 days ago
He just read the 2016 usa presidential election results.

5 days ago
I liked this video. I liked the uploaders/makers point of view. Im from New Zealand so my tv influence was heavily british. Since the internet though I have come to appreciate the positive point of view of the usa.
Id like to think that slowly to two are growing and changing because of each other.

5 days ago
Irish humour is the funniest in the world ... father Ted was the best ever .. I'm not Irish I'm antarctician 🐋🐬🐙⛄🚀📹🌋🌋🌋🗿🎣🚢✈🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨

5 days ago
The fact you brought SpongeBob into this proves the British have superior comedy...

5 days ago
i do think talking about the office but not mentioning it crowd or the inbetweeners is inconsistentdue to the imbalance

5 days ago
Did this guy use 21 jump street as an example!? What a fool

5 days ago
The best stand-up comics are all American.

6 days ago
Ricky Gervais's answer to the difference at this Oxford talk was very interesting- Brits love the underdog, we love laughing at insecurity whereas American's don't find nihilism in comedy. My Canadian friend also told me the UK sarcasm, in the US if sarcasm is used its funny but only if it is resolved by saying its a joke. The UK uses so much sarcasm however we never resolve it we go back and forth but never break laughter which resolves the sarcasm.

6 days ago
It's nothing to do with that. American humour had not no sophiscation. They can't understand the mechanics of humour. They laugh at a door opening in a sitcom.

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