General Question

Saturated_Brain's avatar

American vs British Standup/Humour?

Asked by Saturated_Brain (5235points) May 27th, 2009

This may cause some slight controversy here but I just wanna ask… Which type of humour/standup do you people prefer? American or British?

Please correct me if I’m wrong but it seems to me as if American humour is more lowbrow (see link [Pablo Francisco] for reference) while British is cleverer (see link [Red Dwarf] and link [Eddie Izzard – this is perhaps by far one of my favourites] for further reference).

It would be nice if responses could include links. =)

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6 Answers

Jude's avatar

I have no links, but, just wanted to add my preferences. I think that British comedies (be it film or tv – Ab Fab, Black Adder, French and Saunders, Monty Python, Ricky Gervais) are brilliant, but, prefer American Stand-up (Wanda Sykes, Kathy Griffin). No comment on the what’s clever or lowbrow. Just stating what I like..

bezdomnaya's avatar

Daniel Tosh and Demetri Martin are my two favorite American stand-up comedians. I think that their jokes are fairly high-brow. Daniel Tosh goes for the occasional boob joke. Frankie Boyle is my favorite British comedian (granted, he’s Scottish, not English) and he is a rude, rude man. Goes for some seriously low-brow, yet seriously funny ones.

The thing is, this question should really be about the audiences. Every stand-up comedian has to cater to the audience he’s performing in front of. So, are American audiences usually more low-brow than British audiences?

bezdomnaya's avatar

Oh, and Bill Hicks seems to go for the high-brow stuff.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Monty Python could be pretty lowbrow (e.g. Mr. Creosote). Benny Hill was definitely lowbrow. Steptoe and Son was rather lowbrow. Americans haven’t cornered that market.

That said, aside from Bill Hicks, Mr. Show and a few old sitcoms, like the Mary Tyler Moore Show, I prefer British humour in general. Eddie Izzard is my favourite comedian. And as for sitcoms, while I love, love, love, Black Adder and Red Dwarf, my favourite sitcom writer/creator is Irishman Graham Linehan (who sometimes works with Arthur Mathews). Brits do dark humour extremely well. I have been a fan of Chris Morris for years, too.

MacBean's avatar

I prefer the Brits, thanks. And I think your lowbrow/clever assessment works in general but there are always exceptions.

Jack_Haas's avatar

There is so much diversity in US comedy I don’t really see a clear picture. Little Britain is extremely low brow but it’s been a huge hit in the UK while its US version doesn’t do too well, for example. Sacha Baron Cohen is another example of low brow humor. In the US there are people like George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Stephen Wright, and others that are on the high brow side.

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