Different kinds of humor

Every year on New Year’s Eve we do it: we watch “Dinner For One” in TV – sometimes even several times that evening since it is shown on several channels at different times. It has become kind of a tradition already. Again and again we find it funny. It is a kind of humor based on repetitions: the more often the butler stumbles upon this tiger fur the better we laugh.

You don’t know what it is all about ? Well, it is about Miss Sophie celebrating her 90th anniversary with 6 friends who unfortunately all passed away meanwhile. Her butler is arranging a dinner table laid out with 6 + 1 dishes and he has to play the role of the 6 who can’t make it anymore to this event. And of course he has to drink for all of them. Very well played by Freddie Frinton and always an enjoyment for me, my wife and many other Germans to watch this.

But not for everyone. This time we spent New Year’s Eve with my sister in law in Regensburg and her daughter has been there as well, coming from Abu Dhabi with her new Sudanese husband. Of course he had to watch the show with us – and he did not find it funny at all. My wife later on told me that some of her friends have friends in UK and one evening when they watched the show together those folks could not laugh either about this. Come on, this is supposed to be British humor, isn’t it ? May be I am wrong, may be it is just a kind of humor we Germans think is British humor.

This comedy sketch has been written by an English writer but the TV show is a German production – delivered in English language. You can watch it here on youtube or here on Google; the latter one is the version with a German introduction.

As I mentioned British humor or what I believe British humor is supposed to be: something I can not laugh about is Monthy Python. I hate their shows and also this famous movie Life Of Brian many would rate as the most funny movie ever. I admit: I never watched it entirely.

Anyway, time to draw a conclusion out of this: humor is very subjective. Whether you find something funny depends on your character, your culture, your background, your current mood. Because of this it is always risky to tell a joke during a meeting or conference call – you can’t foresee how everyone else will perceive it. It might happen that something you find real funny other’s don’t find funny at all – of even worse.

The same applies to blog postings to some extent. Good grief, I hope I have not offended too many people with my blog so far when posting things I find funny like for instance comic strips. Nevertheless, in case of a blog posting or a book or any other piece of writing the reader can opt out any time – which might be more difficult in a meeting.


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