British humour is one of a kind. The type that will make you gasp and do a quick recap of what was just being said and wonder if the person’s being serious or not. The type that could actually change the way you feel about a person. Want to live in the UK? You’ll be hearing it a lot! From sarcasm to clever self-deprecation masked in blunt phrases that are just so British it hurts, here’s our guide to British humour.
Irony and sarcasm
Using sarcasm is a skill many Brits tend to possess and use effectively as a comeback.
Combine it with irony and you pretty much have the foundation of British humour. Brits often use this humor on the people they love, so if you see someone being jokingly mean to their friend, they’re not actually mean - it’s just British humour!
Here's an example of British humour in action:
What the Brits are really good at is self-deprecation. You’ll hear them say terrible (but often true) things about themselves, their country, their government, you name it. Maybe it’s because of bad weather, but self-deprecation really lies at the heart of British humour and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Dry and incredibly subtle
I used to spend a lot of time Googling what people were talking about. You might find yourself in a room full of people where someone cracks a joke and everyone laughs. Well, not everyone because you sit there completely baffled at what’s funny. Unless your friends are willing to tell you what’s going on, you’ll have to find out what the joke is yourself.
But the good thing about that is, the more you surround yourself with British humour, the more you’ll appreciate it!
Are you ‘taking the piss’?
Google might lower our SEO score for this one, but we just absolutely have to talk about it. The Brits LOVE to take the piss and they love talking about it. And no, we don’t mean the one where you need to go to the bathroom.
‘Taking the piss’ or ‘taking the mickey’ means your British friend is making fun of someone. ‘Piss-take’ is also often used as a noun in the same context and it comes up often when someone is being hit with a dose of British humour.
British vs American jokes
So what’s the difference?
While American humour does come with sarcasm, it’s all about the execution of the joke. However the biggest difference between the two is the fact that Brits don’t mind laughing at themselves - this type of humour is still extremely rare with Americans.
How to learn it the right way?
If you can’t move to the UK but still want to practice your Brit jokes, it’s best to catch up through comedy shows, YouTube channels, and podcasts. Start up with these and work your way up!
- Stephen Fry
- Rowan Atkinson
- Alan Partridge
- Yes, Minister
- Mind your Language
- Peep Show
And after you graduate from those, you'll be able to enjoy plenty of more British comedians and comedy shows in no time!
Do you like British humour? Come let us know in the comments!
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