British humour

Basil Fawlty   Thu Nov 09, 2006 6:35 am GMT
Some examples of shows that make me laugh would be Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, Peep Show, Red Dwarf, Alan Partridge and the comedian Jack Dee (I'm sure there are many, many others, but my mind is a blank right now).

As Reilita didn't state her research title to be Modern Day British Humour, I don't see why the older shows should be discounted. Any modern comedian has seen, and is to some extent influenced by these shows.

Lastly, British humour is not racist. It does however regularly give a poke in the eye to political correctness and the phonies that surround it. The UK has much fewer problems with racial discrimination than many other countries in Europe, the performance of football fans in Spain and Eastern Europe especially highlight this. British humour means not being afraid to raise taboo topics, often racist terms if used, are a way of showing the lack of intellect of the people who use them. One only has to look at Brasseye to see the excellent job they did on highlighting media caused hystery in a humourous, if rather provocative way.

My two pennies worth.
Adam   Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:33 pm GMT
Blackadder is a great BBC comedy.

Here are some funny quotes -

Blackadder (which is set in olden times)

Messenger: My Lord, news: the Swiss have invaded France.
King: Excellent! (to one of the men standing) Wessex, while they're away, take ten thousand troops and pillage Geneva.
Chiswick: But the Swiss are our allies, My Lord.
King: Oh yes... Well, er, get them to dress up as Germans, will you?

"Baldrick, your brain is like the four headed, man-eating haddock fish beast of Aberdeen"
"In what way? "
"It doesn't exist "

- Edmund & Baldrick

"Have you ever been to Wales, Baldrick?"
"No, but I've often thought I'd like to."
"Well don't, it's a ghastly place. Huge gangs of tough sinewy men roam the valleys terrifying people with their close harmony singing. You need half a pint of phlegm in your throat just to pronounce the
placenames. Never ask for directions in Wales Baldrick, you'll be washing spit out of your hair for a fortnight."
- Edmund & Baldrick

Right, good morning team. My name is Edmund Blackadder and I'm the new minister in charge of religious genocide. Now, if you play straight with me you'll find me a considerate employer, but cross me and you'll find that under this playful boyish exterior beats the heart of a ruthless sadistic maniac.

- Blackadder's induction speech as Lord High Executioner

P: I must say, Edmund, it was jolly nice of you to ask me to share your breakfast before the rigours of the day begin.
E: Well, it is said, Percy, that civilised man seeks out good and intelligent company, so that, through learned discourse, he may rise above the savage and closer to God.
P: Yes, I've heard that.
E: Personally, however, I like to start the day with a total dickhead to remind me I'm best.

( Speaker & new Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland, Pitt The Younger )

S: Honourable members of the House of Commons, I call upon the new Prime Minister of Great Britain and Her Empires: Mr. William Pitt, the Younger.

P: Mr. Speaker, members of the House: I shall be brief, as I have, rather unfortunately, become Prime Minister right in the middle of my exams. I look forward to fulfilling my duty in a manner of which Nanny would be proud. I shall introduce legislation to utterly destory three enemies of the State. The first is that evil dictator, Napoleon Bonaparte.
(Members shout `Here here!!')

P: The second is my old Geography master, (Benonabreast Switchanks?). But most of all, sirs, I intend to pursue that utter slob, The Prince of Wales! Why, this year alone, he has spent 15,000 pounds on banqueting (shouts of `boo! boo!'), 20,000 pounds on perfume (members all hold their noses), and -- most astonishing of all -- an astonishing 59,000 pounds on socks! Therefore, my three main policy priorities are: 1) War with France; 2) Tougher sentences for geography teachers; and 3) A right royal kick of the Prince's backside!!

(all members shout affirmatively)
P: I now put upon the leader of the Opposition to test me on my Latin vocab

[[The 18th Century's Pitt the Younger still holds the record of being Britain's youngest ever Prime Minister]]

G: Well, they can't do that. Why, the public love me! Only the other day, I was out in the street and they sang, `We hail Prince George! We hail Prince George!'
E: `We *hate* Prince George', sir. `We *hate* Prince George!'
G: Was it?
E: I fear so, sir.

- Prince George (G) realises something…

G: Well, what's he (an MP Blackadder wants to help him) like?
E: Well, according to `Who's Who', his interests include flogging servants, shooting poor people, and the extension of slavery to anyone who hasn't got a knighthood.
G: Excellent! Sensible policies for a happier Britain!

Baldrick burns Dr Johnson's dictionary, the first ever English dictionary, much to the horror of Baldrick's boss Edmund Blackadder.....

E : Right, let's get the book. Now; Baldrick, where's the manuscript?
B: You mean the big papery thing tied up with string?
E: Yes, Baldrick -- the manuscript belonging to Dr. Johnson.
B: You mean the baity fellow in the black coat who just left?
E: Yes, Baldrick -- Dr. Johnson.
B: So you're asking where the big papery thing tied up with string belonging to the baity fellow in the black coat who just left is.
E: Yes, Baldrick, I am, and if you don't answer, then the booted bony thing with five toes at the end of my leg will soon connect sharply with the soft dangly collection of objects in your trousers. For the last time, Baldrick, where is Dr. Johnson's manuscript?
B: On the fire.
E: (shocked) On the *what*?
B: The hot orangy thing under the stony mantlepiece.

M: Bonjour, monsieur.
E: What?
M: Bonjour, monsieur -- it's French.
E: So is eating frogs, cruelty to geese and urinating in the street, but that's no reason to inflict it on the rest of us. Doesn't anyone know? We hate the French! We fight wars against them! Did all those men die in vain on the field at Agincourt? Was the man who burned Joan of Arc simply wasting good matches?

- Mrs Miggins, who runs the pie shop, and Edmund Blackadder, commenting on the new "craze" for France in England. Blackadder hates the French. This is an episode set during the French Revolution, and Blackadder ends up having to save a French arostrocrat from the revolutionaries.
Adam   Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:59 pm GMT
Memorable quotes from Fawlty Towers.....

Basil Fawlty: [two guests are speaking to Basil in German] Oh, German!
I'm sorry, I thought there was something wrong with you.

Basil: [on telephone] Hello? - Ah, yes, Mr O'Reilly, well it's perfectly simple. When I asked you to build me a wall I was rather hoping that instead of just dumping the bricks in a pile you might have found time to cement them together... you know, one on top of another, in the traditional fashion.

Basil: [yelling and getting angry at his car aftet the engine refuses to start] Start! Start, you vicious bastard! Oh my god! I'm warning you! If you don't start, I'll count to three. 1, 2, 3. Right! That's it, you disgrace to the roads! I've laid it on then line to you time and time again! I'm going to give you a damn good thrashing! [Leaves for a few seconds to return with a rather pathetic branch and proceeds to repeatedly hit the the car]

[Basil, after a recent head concussion, is taking dinner orders from a German group. Basil doesn't like the Germans and no matter what he does he cannot stop himself from accidentally mentioning the war]

Younger Herr: May we have two eggs mayonnaises, please?
Basil: Certainly! Why not, why not indeed? We are all friends now, eh?
Elder Herr: A prawn cocktail.
Basil: All in the Market together, old differences forgotten, and no need at all to mention the war. SORRY! Sorry. What was it again?
Elder Herr: A prawn cocktail.
Basil: Oh, prawn! That was it! When you said "prawn", I thought you said "war". Oh, y— Oh, the war! Oh, yes, completely slipped my mind! Yes, I'd forgotten all about it. Hitler, Himmler, and all that lot... Oh, yes, completely forgotten it, just like that.
[He looks around for a moment in confusion.]
Basil: Sorry. What was it again?
Elder Herr: A prawn cocktail!
Basil: Oh, yes, Eva Prawn. Yes, of course. And Goebbels too, he's another one I can hardly remember at all.
Younger Herr: And ein pickled herring!
Basil: Hermann Goering, yes, yes, and, uh, von Ribbentrop, that was another one.
Elder Herr: And four cold meat salads, please.
Basil: Certainly. Well, I'll just get your hors d'oeuvres... hors d'oeuvres vich must be obeyed at all times vithout qvestion! Sorry! Sorry!
[Polly enters the dining room.]
Polly: Mr. Fawlty, will you please call your wife immediately?
[Basil looks around frantically.]
Basil: Sybil? Sybi— She's in the hospital, you silly girl!
Polly: Yes, call her there!
Basil: I can't! I've got too much to do. [whispering loudly] Listen, don't mention the war! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it alright.
[Basil returns to the Germans.]
Basil: So! It's all forgotten now, and let's hear no more about it. So, that's two egg mayonnaise, a prawn Goebbels, a Hermann Goering, and four Colditz salads.
[The younger Frau is sobbing openly now, consoled by the elder Herr.]
Basil: Now, wait a minute. Well, I got a bit confused here. Sorry! I got a bit confused, 'cause everyone keeps mentioning the war. So, could you— what's the matter?
Elder Herr: It's all right.
Basil: Is there something wrong?
Elder Herr: Will you stop talking about the war?!
Basil: ME?! You started it!
Elder Herr: We did not start it!
Basil: Yes you did — you invaded Poland!

[Basil attempts to cheer up the younger Frau.]
Basil: Here, watch! Who's this, then?
[does Hitler impression]
[Younger Frau sobs even harder.]
Basil: I'll do the funny walk!
[Basil goosesteps (a la: The Ministry of Silly Walks) in and out of the dining room]
Younger Herr: STOP IT!!!!
Basil: I'm trying to cheer her up, you stupid Kraut!
Elder Herr: It's not funny for her!
Basil: FUNNY?? NOT FUNNY?!?!? You're joking!
Elder Herr: It's not funny for her! Not for us, not for any German people!
Basil: You have absolutely NO sense of humor, do you?
Younger Herr: THIS IS NOT FUNNY!!!

[Finicky guest Mrs Richards attempts to convey her requirements to Manuel, the Spanish waiter who's not very good at English]

Mrs Richards: Now. I've reserved a very quiet room, with a bath and a sea view. I specifically asked for a sea view in my written confirmation, so please make sure I have it.
Manuel: ¿Qué?
Mrs Richards: What?
Manuel: ¿Qué?
Mrs Richards: "K"?
Manuel: Sí.
Mrs Richards: "C"?
[Manuel nods.]
Mrs Richards: "KC"?
[Manuel looks puzzled.]
Mrs Richards: "KC"? What are you trying to say?
Manuel: No, no-no-no. "Qué" — "what".
Mrs Richards: "K — what"?
Manuel: ¡Sí! "Qué" — "what"!
Mrs Richards: "C.K. Watt"?
Manuel: Yes.
Mrs Richards: Who is C.K. Watt?
Manuel: ¿Qué?
Mrs Richards: Is it the manager, Mr Watt?
Manuel: Oh, manager!
Mrs Richards: He is.
Manuel: Ah… Mr Fawlty!
Mrs Richards: What?
Manuel: Fawlty.
Mrs Richards: What are you talking about, you silly little man?!
[She turns to hotel maid Polly.]
Mrs Richards: What is going on here? I ask him for my room, and he tells me the manager's a "Mr Watt", aged forty.
Manuel: No, no. Fawlty.
Mrs Richards: Faulty? What's wrong with him?
Polly: It's alright, Mrs Richards. He's from Barcelona.

Mr Carnegie (Hygiene inspector): Lack of proper cleaning routines, dirty and greasy filters, greasy and encrusted deep fat fryer, dirty, cracked and stained food preparation surfaces, dirty, cracked and missing wall and floor tiles, dirty, marked and stained utensils, dirty and greasy interior surfaces of the ventilator hood...
Basil: About the fat fryer...
Mr Carnegie: ... Inadequate temperature control and storage of dangerous foodstuffs, storage of cooked and raw meat in same trays, storage of raw meat above confectionery with consequent dripping of meat juices onto cream products, refrigerator seals loose and cracked, ice box undefrosted, and refrigerator overstocked...
Basil: Say no more.
Mr Carnegie: ... Food handling routines suspect, evidence of smoking in food preparation area, dirty and grubby food handling overalls, lack of wash hand basin which you gave us a verbal assurance you'll have installed at our last visit six months ago and two dead pigeons in the water tank.
Basil: Otherwise okay?
Yann   Sun Nov 12, 2006 2:17 am GMT
Faulty towers, Only Fools and Horses, Smack the Ponies, Allo Allo and Wild Wild West… These are my favourites.
I’m surprised nobody mentioned ‘Shameless’. That is great stuff too. And I love the accent!