A survey of 30,000 people across 15 countries has confirmed what the world knew all along: Germans are completely humourless. The poll for social networking site Badoo.com found that the national stereotype of Germans as ruthlessly efficient in matters of manufacturing and football, but entirely inadequate in the wit department …
British humour doesn't translate at all well; even other English speakers (especially in the US or Canada) just don't get it. I expect the same is true for other countries, though naturally they couldn't possibly be as witty as us. Sarcasm seems to be missing from most of the world, for example.
Germans not funny though? Common misconception. The problem is that there is a very clear separation between their 'funny time' and their 'serious time'. Attempting humour in 'serious time' will be met with nothing but confusion. Faced with that sort of response, no-one ever bothers to visit them during funny time.
Re: Oh Dear
>British humour doesn't translate at all well
Not only that, most other nationalities have no idea about the concept of understatement.
I remember reading somewhere that the German's see a lot of English humour and subtleties as equal to lying... Such as the famous incident with the 747 pilot who lost all four engines in an ash cloud and came over the tannoy to say "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress."
I guess the German expect you to be honest in these situations and come over the tannoy shouting "Achtung, veee have no engines, veee are all going to die!!!!!"
I think I'd rather be on the BA plane, if I'm going to die I'd rather not do it stressed!
Very good post and i have to agree fully.
Although i was suprised to see UK score so badly, But then again alot of ppl dont get black adder
I don't get it.
I don't get it. The German pilot would have flown a German plane. Of course the engines wouldn't have failed in the first place, being German-made.
"I remember reading somewhere that the German's see a lot of English humour and subtleties as equal to lying"
That would have been a "magazine" article on the BBC web site a week or two back. The gist of it was that they don't use smalltalk and euphemism as a social lubricant the way that we do. Once you've figured out the rules of the game, however, German culture is as much fun for the Germans as British culture is for us. If you want a link to the article, try googling for "bleedin' obvious".
Belgium!? BELGIUM WTF!!
Actually, humour is one of Britain's great cultural exports
I speak of Mr. Bean and Benny Hill, of course.
The Dutch funnier than the Belgians?
Hahahaha. It's the pollees who made the jokes here.
Belgium is one surreal joke obviously, with 6 governments (or less when one or more fall for a year or so) and so forth.
Are you being severed?
I feel I am qualified to comment on this, seeing as my wife is German.
The important thing for Brits to understand is that while you are always ready for a joke or witticism, most Germans are not. They don't understand British humour because they are not in a state of mind to enjoy it, and often think of British humour as either overly dull (in the case of a sarcastic comment about your kids' good behaviour) or (in the case of stuff like Monty Python), hopelessly silly. That being said, I *do* know a few Germans who love Monty Python, just as I know a few English people who utterly despise it.
For most Germans, there is a time and a place for jokes. That is usually with friends, or people you know fairly well. With strangers, it tends to go down like a lead balloon, on most occasions. That is probably why most Brits, eager to tickle Deutschland's funnybone, have come back with the erroneous impression that the nation of beer and premium car marques has about as much a sense of humour as the Borg collective.
Even other nations have fallen into the trap of seeing Germans as humourless bits of meat on two legs: A colleague from the Netherlands was convinced that my German boss had no sense of humour, and was actually scared to crack a joke with him. (It did not help that my boss happened to dress very professionally all the time - it made him look like an FBI agent.) But he was quite happy to crack (or enjoy) a joke with most of the German office staff.
But then again, the Dutch are a different crowd: When I went to work for a well-known Dutch bank in Amsterdam in 2008, the team leader asked me where I was from. When I replied that I lived in Germany, he snapped his heels together, saluted me dramatically and exclaimed "Heil Hitler!" Yes, this was a bank. Yes, these were grown men. But then again, the Dutch sense of humour is, shall we say ... robust.
I'm with Spike Milligan on this one...
In his war memoirs he said they had a (both sides) re-union for people who fought at El Alamein.
He got talking to & befriended a German veteran, & at some point (can't remember if it was then or after) got a letter from him saying...
"Dear Spike, it was great to meet you. Sorry I missed you at El Alamein".
Class, absolute class.
There is *one* german joke
What comes between fear and sex?
answer scroll down (yes I know that doesn't work on the forum)
actually, there are TWO German jokes
Your very very funny one and the classic...
Two peanuts valk into a bar.
Vun of zem vas assaulted.
...aber es muss...
No, there is only one German Joke
The rest are true.
Joke Alert for the humorless...
Anyone who thinks Germans don't have a sense of humour has never seen Rammstein live - that's all I'm saying ;)
How many Germans does it take to change a lightbulb?
One: they're efficient and not very funny.
I can only assume this survey based their idea of UK humour purely on Ricky Gervais; for whom, on behalf of my country, I apologise.
Actually, that's a point, country. Maybe England was pulled down by some of the other nations, Gordon Broon was hardly a bundle of laughs was he, he couldn't even smile without training, and even then it was rather creepy.
So has anyone bothered to sign up to the site to find out which countries came out on top of the side splitting chart?
I'm fearing the Aussies might have done quite well, which is odd as their humour is pretty similar to us brits, just with all the subtlety removed, that's when they're not whining about something of course.
Anon, cos, well I'm bound to have upset some people - lucky I chose not to comment on the USA coming higher than the UK...
Humour = a matter of opinion
"Gordon Broon was hardly a bundle of laughs"
Yes, because that's the first thing you look for in the leader of your country; the ability to raise a laugh. That's why Berlusconi is so widely respected as statesman.
I'm afraid all this survey (and ElReg's response) demonstrates is that different cultures have different ideas of what's funny and that the individuals in each country, naturally, believe their sense of humour is among the best..
of course the USA comes higher than Britian
Thats because they make so much noise about being the best at everything that idiot Sun reader types end up believing it - tell a fool a lie often enough and it becomes the truth - its what our government (in the UK) has relied on for years.
Just watch their TV programmes...
you can tell that they are hilarious because of the laughter from the audience. It's so synchronised, too.
I mean, honestly, the Americans have the worst sense of humour around. At least people without English as a first language have an excuse.
Are you intimating that Yanks speak English? If so, why can't I understand them?
It isn't us that can't be understood, its you Brits! ;)
Personally, I find British humor quite entertaining (not just Ricky G). It takes a bit to get through it some times, but it can be great fun.
Language as an excuse
Then again, I have english as my third language, and I both understand and love the british humor. Well, except for Fawlty Towers and Mr. Bean. Those just leave me feeling embarrassed on behalf of the cast :p
Other stuff, like Black Adder, Monty Python, A bit of Fry and Laurie etc. leaves me in stitches.
I see Ricky Gervais mentioned as a cautionary tale further up, but he sure has his moments too :D
There are some phrases and slang that need looking up to fully appreciate the subtleties, especially in El Reg, but those keep getting fewer and furhter between :D
Americans have the worst sense of humour around?
The Big Lebowski.
Mizintepretation of data
Germany iz nummero uno on ze list.
For ze list of most funny nations we would have zent FunnyBot and been nummero uno AGAIN.
Harr, harr, take zat!
Hasn't anyone ever seen 'Allo, ' Allo?
The Germans were the funniest characters in that.
I found the 2 RAF guy far less funny.
I thought the British spy masquerading as the French policeman was funny.
Oh hang on, no I didn't, it was the same joke told repeatedly.
Oh hang on, isn't that British humour?
e.g. "Why was The Fast Show funny? Was it actually funny at all?"
Are you a sardine?
"Simple grinding repetition will take on the illusion of genius."
Bet you say that
to all the girls...
I know one of them, worked with him, good chap :)
Now you're talking
well, pure 41st genius.
Could be of course that the people involved in the survey have been listening to radio 4 - with very very few exceptions their 'funny' programs are so unfunny I'd rather pluck my own pubes out while watching paint dry
You need Radio 4 extra - aka Radio 7
Hut 33, Cabin Pressure, Deep Trouble
If you don't like any of them, why you must be German (though as the first one involves the War, I 'll let you off if you really are German)
Mitchell and Webb
(Insert a long, long list of other shows that were clearly good enough to picked up by BBC TV)
The News Quiz
The Unbelievable Truth (with funny German)
is enough to convince anyone that the British didn't start being funny until sometime after the Goons started. Even then, we appeared to be a bit shit at it.
Endless repeats of the Clitheroe Kid, anyone? No? How about Educating Archie? Come on, ventriloquism on the radio - it's inherently funny.
Germans have a great sense of humour but it is only displayed to friends and family. They reserve work time for work for the most part, but are no different than any other country or peoples.
Ah, its even more than that
The Germans actually have a very good sense of humour, and its often quite subtle. Its been said that Germany was possibly founded by Aspergers people and this could be true - they tend to be very direct. This doesn't preclude humour, in fact the opposite.
I recall some Germans discussing reasons not to eat at "Kentucky schreit ficken"...
Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja!...
Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!
That one doesn't count
It was written by an Englishman and used as a weapon against the Germans.
Wa ha ha
Isn't British Humour based on insulting everything and everyone (including themselves)? I can see how some might not find that funny.
@Wa ha ha
Yup, that's pretty much it. Stir in some sarcasm, word play, subtleties, and occasionally sneak "bum" and you'll sound like a native.
Those that take themselves too seriously don't get it/like it. That also includes some UK celebs, who are therefore seen as humourless twats.
I used to have a humour test for girls, just stick you tongue out at them in public, if they stick their tongue back out at you, they'll cool and obviously don't take themselves too seriously.
"I can see how some might not find that funny."
That's right, you poo poo head!
@ @Wa ha ha
"I used to have a humour test for girls, just stick you tongue out at them in public, if they stick their tongue back out at you, they'll cool and obviously don't take themselves too seriously."
Surely it's more customary to bend over and show a bare behind?
thats far more useful...
if she does the same you get a sneak preview :)
I tend to agree, even though I am from deepest UKania. British "humour" has recently become very cruel, based on laughing *at* people, not *with* them - Ricky Gervaise being at the top of the list. There is something quite cruel in a lot of lauded British humour at the moment, and I think it is recognised at some level by more people than me, because the examples being quoted above (Monty Python, 'Allo 'Allo, Benny Hill) are all from an earlier time.
That isn't to say that there isn't some gentle humour going on (I'd put "The IT Crowd" in there, for instance), but most of the comedy I like to watch seems to come from USA, e.g "Two and a Half Men", "The [American] Office" (and I truly hated the British version, so that shows how much better I think it is).
What a load of tripe
I am going to turn on the telly tonight and put on the DVD of Zadornov taking the piss out of Putin on Russian prime time TV, alternating with him taking the p*** regarding British, Americans, German and Russian themselves.
The ranking should be possibly the other way around. Jasper Carrot and Billy Connely are boring schoolteachers compared to the better off from the Russian stand-up comedians. In fact out of the English speaking ones only Russel Brandt and Zaadi come even close to the level of offensiveness and "nothing is sacred" you get there.
There is however the language barrier and the "type of humour" barrier.
Most Anglo-Saxon jokes are situation jokes and practical jokes. Most Russian jokes are language jokes - playing with double meaning of words, similar pronunciation of words, etc. That is why the common style there is "Buster Keaton" - the joke is in the words and is similarly funny read, played and written. It is not in the situation like let's say in "One Foot in the Grave".
If you do not know the language, Russian humor will be utterly lost to you. You will end up in the silly situation of thinking how tragic Chekhov stuff is while the Russians in the audience are nearly p*** themselves off laughing. Ditto for a lot of the modern stuff. You cannot grok "Common Miracle" if you are not Russian. Translation does not help because lexical humor cannot be mapped onto situational.
Afaik, it is is the same with German - it is not situational humor so you have to know the language to understand its funniness.
Situational versus linguistic
Are you talking about Americans? Or the eskimos?
While I agree on Jasper C and the modern day Billy (he used to be better, he's 'establishment' now), are you completely sure on your anglo saxon jokes thing?
I certainly wouldn't class most english (I'm english, the other UK nations are a bit different) humour as situational. Sure, there are funny stories, but the best is all word play.. not too dissimilar sounding from your russian description to be honest... When normal people, ie not on TV, face to face are being funny, much of the time its playing with language and words thats going on, not slapstick. A decent stand up over here (of which there are loads, all over the place) does this too (repeatedly swearing just isn't funny).
Funnily enough, your impression on 'Anglo Saxon' jokes is exactly the same as I have for German jokes, I imagine, equally incorrectly.
So, there you are, shows the power of the stereotype, eh?