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Old January 17 2013, 05:50 PM   #1
Hyfen_Underskor
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American Comedy Vs. British Comedy "TV"

Who is funnier?

I've got to give this one to the brits. Part of this may be because their funniest comedians have a stronger presence on British TV, whereas our (the U.S.) funniest comedians are in the cinema, and for the most part a separate entity from that of TV.

To be honest, I don't watch network TV anymore, unless there's a sporting event of interest on. But I can see from commercials that our comedy is just as bad (or worse) than it has been for years. It's unbelievable what they attempt to pass of as comedy.
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Old January 17 2013, 06:08 PM   #2
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Re: American Comedy Vs. British Comedy "TV"

American and Britain each have their gems. Some British stuff sucks, and some awesome. Same with the US.
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Old January 17 2013, 06:24 PM   #3
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Re: American Comedy Vs. British Comedy "TV"

Both are very different -

British shows tend to have one or two writers (often the creators) and produce short seasons of hopefully inspired comedy, i.e. Fawlty Towers.

American shows seem to be long seasons produced by multiple hired writers relying on the numbers and turnover to keep it fresh, i.e. Friends.

Both systems produce classics and duds. Mainly the latter...
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Old January 17 2013, 06:41 PM   #4
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Re: American Comedy Vs. British Comedy "TV"

Most TV in both systems is absolutely crap - each throws up some gems.
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Old January 17 2013, 06:46 PM   #5
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Re: American Comedy Vs. British Comedy "TV"

The brits have put out duds for sure. I think there are a number of strengths they have that we don't.

1. Not afraid to use senior actors/actresses as leading characters (Waiting For God, As Time Goes By, Keeping Up Appearances), which tends to remove barriers of having to look good in every shot (Friends, and the equivalents thereof).

2. They've been able to pull off some Sci-Fi comedies (Red Dwarf, HHGTTG, and yes, I would include Doctor Who). The closest we've done that I can think of is Third Rock From The Sun, which I have a strange hunch was not that funny ( I never really watched it).

3. A show not designated as a comedy can be very funny (Doctor Who, Rumpole Of The Bailey).

4. The ability to pull off historical themes. The brits were able to produce a successful renaissance era comedy (The Black Adder). We haven't produced any comedy westerns, or pilgrim/founding father comedies. I have to admit though, that the Brits attempted another Renaissance era comedy that was a flop.

5. I don't think we have anything like Monty Python's Flying Circus.
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Old January 17 2013, 06:48 PM   #6
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Re: American Comedy Vs. British Comedy "TV"

Third Rock From the Sun was HILARIOUS.
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Old January 17 2013, 06:51 PM   #7
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Re: American Comedy Vs. British Comedy "TV"

^ This.
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Old January 17 2013, 06:56 PM   #8
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Re: American Comedy Vs. British Comedy "TV"

Third Rock from the Sun was incredibly funny, at least in the first few seasons, in the end it wasn't that great anymore, but it wasn't that bad as, say, Friends, which was funny for the first couple of seasons and then gradually became unbearable. Third Rock is one of my fave US sitcoms, after Frasier and Arrested Development. If we count adult cartoons, then obviously I would count The Simpsons until 8th or 9th season or whichever it was, South Park at its best, and Archer. And of course Seinfeld, though I was never a big fan.

On the other hand, Brits have had brilliant TV comedies ranging from Only Fools and Horses to Monty Python's Flyng Circus to The Office (although the US version is OK, too, the British original is the first in my heart).

Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post
The brits have put out duds for sure. I think there are a number of strengths they have that we don't.

1. Not afraid to use senior actors/actresses as leading characters (Waiting For God, As Time Goes By, Keeping Up Appearances), which tends to remove barriers of having to look good in every shot (Friends, and the equivalents thereof).

2. They've been able to pull off some Sci-Fi comedies (Red Dwarf, HHGTTG, and yes, I would include Doctor Who). The closest we've done that I can think of is Third Rock From The Sun, which I have a strange hunch was not that funny ( I never really watched it).

3. A show not designated as a comedy can be very funny (Doctor Who, Rumpole Of The Bailey).

4. The ability to pull off historical themes. The brits were able to produce a successful renaissance era comedy (The Black Adder). We haven't produced any comedy westerns, or pilgrim/founding father comedies. I have to admit though, that the Brits attempted another Renaissance era comedy that was a flop.

5. I don't think we have anything like Monty Python's Flying Circus.
I would agree with most of these, however, 3) is also true of some American shows. Buffy, anyone? (Angel, Firefly, too, occasionally.) US TV is quite fond of dramedies.
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Old January 17 2013, 11:16 PM   #9
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Re: American Comedy Vs. British Comedy "TV"

Just looking back at the last 10 years or so the only American comedy I've enjoyed was Arrested Development. From Britain, I enjoyed Peep Show and The IT Crowd.

But I don't watch much TV in general.
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Old January 18 2013, 12:25 AM   #10
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Re: American Comedy Vs. British Comedy "TV"

how come americans don't do panel shows? they're missing out.
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Old January 18 2013, 12:40 AM   #11
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Re: American Comedy Vs. British Comedy "TV"

The next question is do Brits and Americans tend to favour certain types of comedy i.e. Verbal or Physical. (Not to say you can't like both)
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Old January 18 2013, 12:47 AM   #12
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Re: American Comedy Vs. British Comedy "TV"

junxon wrote: View Post
how come americans don't do panel shows? they're missing out.
Like Have I Got News For You? I've wondered this myself, but I'm guessing the reason is because those shows wouldn't be able to get anything beyond B-, C- and D-list guests since the A-list crowd is clearly too good/busy/much of a moron/coked up to appear on a silly panel show.
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Old January 18 2013, 03:20 AM   #13
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Re: American Comedy Vs. British Comedy "TV"

Hyfen_Underskor wrote: View Post

4. The ability to pull off historical themes. The brits were able to produce a successful renaissance era comedy (The Black Adder). We haven't produced any comedy westerns, or pilgrim/founding father comedies. I have to admit though, that the Brits attempted another Renaissance era comedy that was a flop.
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Old January 18 2013, 03:44 AM   #14
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Re: American Comedy Vs. British Comedy "TV"

And all in of themselves historically aired first run.

The post post post modern era of Television began the day after friends finished.

Just watched a new English comedy "Way to Go" which was more odd than funny, about a threesome of lads who invent a Kovorcian like suicide machine and solicit old age pensioners with temrinal this or that to plug into it for a mountain of cash.

Yes odd, one of the kids from inbetweeners in it, but I didn't laugh once.
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Old January 18 2013, 03:51 AM   #15
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Re: American Comedy Vs. British Comedy "TV"

Keeping Up Appearances was my first exposure to British comedy. I became an instant fan. I've seen each episode a dozen times, but it never ceases to make me laugh. Love that Bucket woman.

It was even said a recent thread about Frasier, that it was the most British American sitcom we've ever had.
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