El sentido del humor inglés

 

Desde Getafe, Katerina Kocanova, nos envía una adaptación de un artículo sobre el agudísimo sentido del humor inglés, además de un vídeo a una serie muy divertida: The it Crowd, algo así como la versión inglesa de The Big bang Theory.

“Of all the characteristics, good and bad, for which the English are known in the outside world, our sense of humour is one of the best-known and most positively regarded. The theory apparently goes that not only do we have more humour overall than other nations, it is consistently funnier too. It certainly seems to be true that we do, on the whole, have a lot of humour.

Since we are much more addicted to humour than other groups on the European continent, how did we get this way? Why are we so sensitive to humorous possibilities? I think the answer lies partly in English history and partly in the English character and English society (assuming, of course, that these can be isolated from each other in this way.) When you compare English history with Continental history you are struck immediately by some major overall differences. To begin with, there has been no civil war in England for centuries, not since the era of Roundheads and Cavaliers, so that the idea that hordes of English people might kill each other in the streets is unthinkable and taboo to most of us (which may explain why the more violent anarchist groups have never had much success in England.) A lack of a violent domestic history is probably essential, therefore, to the development of an expansive and good-natured national sense of humour.

The English character also contributes. As a group we are fairly imaginative and aware, and this, combined with the fact that we are socialised to enjoy humour, means that we are able to see and seek out the funny aspects of things that are not always obvious. This helps to explain why there have been so many English situation comedies showcasing the comic side of running hotels, managing department stores, and other not obviously funny occupations. English society, with its class system and regional differences, also provides rich opportunities for character-based comedy. The many recognisable types and accents produced by this society offer rich material for caricature, and it is noticeable that a substantial amount of English humour is still class-based. Much of it is dependent on the contrasts, real or imagined, between people of different classes or different regions, but most especially on the contrasts between different classes, a type of humour which draws on the incongruous for its effect.

Humour is like a drug to many of us; we can’t get enough of it, and we are endlessly inventive in creating more of it. Our sense of humour has been one of our most enduring characteristics, precisely because we have found it so adaptive and helpful in hard times. Long may it prosper.”

Isabel Taylor

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