Humor in the UK

Throughout my time in London, the questions I have asked myself the most are: What is the EU? How is the queen so damn funny? and Is this person joking with me or not? After reading through Fox’s chapter on british humour, I’ve realized that the answer to the last question is for the most part joking. Fox discusses how intertwined humour is with everyday conversation as well as how dry it often can be. Both of these distinctions can make it hard for an outsider to pick up on when someone is joking or not. What helped me the most to make this distinction is the fact that despite their pride, Brits are pretty opposed to taking one’s self too seriously in colloquial situations. So chances are, if you pick up on irony, understating, or self-deprivation the person is being chummy rather than offensive. Immediately after reading this chapter, I went and watched a few episodes of the British Office and understood their intentions and humour better. Although there is a difference between humour and comedy, I believe that the British version of the Office depicts everyday humour rather than a comedic production. The scenes I found awkward, forced, or underwhelming before, I found much funnier. In my own office, I was witness to an exchanging of gifts last week between office members. I originally found their remarks towards one another awkward, unnatural, and sometimes flat out rude. However, after reading through this chapter, I have realized that those weren’t just pity laughs I was hearing, but this British humour in full form.

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