It goes without saying that British humor can generally be perceived in different ways, depending on who’s interpreting it. The use of slang and colloquial terms that are seldom used in other countries can result in jokes simply being too British for other countries to understand it. And guess what? That’s why we love it!
Take for example the popular British sitcom, Dad’s Army. While it was a major success domestically, it was never taken to other parts of the world. This can be owed to the humor being so grounded that people in other countries would simply be unable to understand it. When the producers attempted to take the show to the US, it was renamed to The Rear Guard and can generally be considered a failure, only airing the first episode before vanishing.
British television channel Gold decided to conduct a survey where a hundred comedians were asked about their favorite one-liners from British comedy shows.
Some of the comedians who participated in the study include David Baddiel, Jenny Eclair and Reece Shearsmith. Some of the more noteworthy sitcoms featured in this list include The Office, Faulty Towers and the iconic Blackadder.
- The Office: While David Brent looks to his employees, he says the following: “I suppose I’ve created an atmosphere where I’m a friend first, a boss second.” After a short pause: “Probably an entertainer third.”
- Blackadder: As Lord Flashheart’s eon is running away with Kate: “I’ve got a plan, and it’s as hot as my pants.”
- The Vicar of Dibley: As Geraldine Granger introduces herself to the Dibley parish: “You were expecting a bloke: beard, Bible and bad bad breath. Instead you’ve got a babe with a bob cut and a magnificent bosom.”
- Dad’s Army: After being asked by a German prisoner what his name is, Captain Mainwaring turns to Private Pike and says the following: “Don’t tell him, Pike!”
- Father Ted: The titular father explains perspective to Father Douglas: “These (Looks at toy cows) are small. But those (looks to real cows) out there are far away. (Points to to toy cow) Small… (Points to real cow) far away.”
- I’m Alan Partridge: As Alan pitches his last idea to the BBC Commissioning Editor: “Monkey Tennis?”
- Absolutely Fabulous: As Patsy flips through a magazine, judging the celebrities pictured in it: “One more facelift on this one, and she’ll have a beard.”
- Hancock’s Half Hour: Tony Hancock while expressing his opinion on donating blood: “A pint? Why that’s very nearly an armful!”
- Fawlty Towers: In response to being asked whether he placed a winning bet on the horses, Basil’s Spanish waiter, Manuel, simply states: “I know nothing.”
- I’m Alan Partridge: Partridge giving his opinion on Wings: “They’re the only band The Beatles could have been.”