Dotsie wrote:British comedy films are drier than American ones, but I would say they don't make as much money over here as there is a bigger audience for slapstick. This is not to say that Americans prefer slapstick, but that successful films in both countries tend to be less sophisticated (Ben Stiller making nob gags is always popular). And it is all about making money after all. Sitcoms from both countries are pretty unsophisticated.
Is "carcrash" comedy, the sort that makes you uncomfortable to watch it, actually funny? I prefer the American version of the Office to the British one for this reason. I just couldn't bear to watch David Brent (and I can't stand Ricky "integrity" Gervais)
OK this is my screen satirical comedy post to get it out of the way as I've predictably got far more to say on the religious/literary satire front.
I adore Monty Python BUT... it's completely outdated and of it's time these days. What Python is famed for is that it was in the vanguard in the time when, largely in the UK, 'traditional' humourous TV entertainment was beginning to be battered down. As Sharlene points out, MP really only carried on from where TW3 left off and went 'cerebral/academic' to some extent with the Oxbridge 'Footlights' effect starting to kick in during the height of the Python era.
Spike Milligan and the Goons, Peter Sellers and even Michael Bentine were all there doing something new, original and considered
with comedy in the same way that Morecambe and Wise were still at the top of their game and made me laugh just as much with their trad comedy (with had really clever twists too) - comedy is mostly about comfort levels and yes that does take into account intelligence and social niches. It's easiest to laugh at things you're familiar especially when it sends them up...
Is Mel Brooks as creative as John Cleese? - yes he is but maybe both of them appeal more to their native audiences because they know them and their material and how they pitch it
best. So I also agree with pooh that UK and US and French and Australian and Japanese etc etc comedy is different. It's interesting in one of Sharlene's posts that she mentioned Chaplin as a great comic satirist amongst other US greats - I'm sure she knows he was raised in the UK and never gained US citizenship. He also based most of his early work on his family's music hall act which are hugely 'slapstick' but he was possibly the greatest 'physical' comedian ever and he did that superbly - but it's still only at level 1 in pooh's scale for his early work because it was pitched at a naive and largely uneducated audience, both on the London theatre and in the early cinemas...
Taking The Office as one of the few Brit comedies that translated well for US audiences (and vice versa - the Golden Girls Brit makeover was utterly dire
) I didn't watch either version and the reason for that was because the British version was too sodding real and therefore too painful for me to watch as I've worked with too many d*ckheads like David Brent and so I had no interest in finding out how an American worked - I'd probably have liked it in fact, but I just couldn't. Turn it the other way and I lapped up Yes Minister and Prime Minister even though I've also worked with lots of Sir Humphreys but with that it was so well scripted and interpreted you couldn't help but love it - even Thatcher loved it for gods sake - how hard was that to achieve!
As for Friends
I never got into it as I just found it really twee and too calculatingly 'goofy but cool'.
The 2 great US sitcoms that stand out for me are Cheers
and though they're connected (and I think had some of the same writers?) the humour's different and somehow very appropriate and well-observed about 2 very different social and cultural settings.
Which sort of leads into what I'm going to say about Pyramids and religion and power. But it's late and I'm still brain-burned with all the catching up I have to do so that's it from me for now except to sum up that this isn't UK v US comedy and satire, it's about good writing and fitting the set pieces and jokes to the storys environment and whether or not Pyramids floats your boat. Terry's as usual done a good job, but that's still subject to your own personal comfort zone and what you
like to laugh at
It's all just a matter of taste in the end