A few years ago, we had access to BBC America. For a short while, we got to see Goodness Gracious Me, Indian comedy in Britain. Ever the lovers of alien comedy, since mainstream American humor is so bland, mean, and obvious, we were hooked. This video of one of their sketches, Going Out for an English has been making the links round. And I have been indulging in many of their bits on the U-tyube. I don't get all the references, but worked with enough residents from Indian, and India via Britain, that it appeals even more than before. Some of it is simply silly enough.
Humor is such an ephemeral human sense, like taste, hard to pin down or explain, impossible to generalize across a population. American humor has been denigrated since the first colonial cartoonist's first dialogue balloon. British writers are always a little shocked that they have a strong, loyal American audience. There is a difference between what a group eats, and what an individual likes, what a crowd will laugh at, and what tickles an individual. When I saw movies in Army theaters, in a crowd of soldiers, I laughed at crap I would roll my eyes at seen alone. I ENJOYED Child's Play, surrounded by a raucous audience out to have a good time. Rather like a joke in a sermon, a priestly jest get laughs in church that would get a groan at any other time, in any other place, told by anybody else. And it's genuinely funny there. Just as a good MRE tastes pretty good when the alternative is a pork patty, or a tray pack. I loved white bread and margarine as a kid, especially squished into a tight wad. Just as I loved the BBC and Granada TV shows on the CBC, even if I didn't get all the subtleties, I caught the wit and intelligence, and it was different. I loved The Kids In the Hall, but that might just be a deeply Canadian sensibilities. Expectation, contrast, availability of choices.
So, Monty Python became the humor equivalent to Americans as curry to British cuisine. Not everyone likes it hot, but there are a lot of takers. A lot of folks don't appreciate having the tables turned on them, but enough do, and have the grace to be amused. The US is not a monolith, and even a small minority, now linked by the internet, can be a huge number. There is a love of the underdog that runs under the arrogance, enough of an underclass, a society of minorities and rebels laughing at the majority. And do we love to mock the smugness. Including the over-comfortable in ourselves.
We went out for Indian last night, and laughed at our own love of the "exotic," bunch of liberal snobs that we are.
It's snowing. Well, starting to rain, now. Moby is curled in his fleecy bed.