Let's look at some of the best comedies to grace this fine planet:
Keeping up Appearances.
One Foot in the Grave
The IT Crowd
Not Going Out
Open All Hours
There are so many more but I find there's little worse than hearing an American cry.
Does that answer the question?
This is from Carry on Abroad:
Man to woman: Drink?
Woman: No thank you, I tried it once and didn't like it.
Woman: No thank you, I tried it once and didn't like it.
Woman: Not at all, my daughter is just the same.
Man: Your only child I presume.
I rest my case!
No matter how much politicians would like to pretend otherwise, the UK is a country in post-imperial decline. As a nation it's a lot older than the USA and so people have a sense of the absurdity of things people in some other countries (including the USA) value. Therefore the British have a long tradition of laughing at the fact that their country is rubbish, whereas if you made a joke taking the piss out of the state of things in America (a superpower), many Americans would not find it funny. This kind of self-deprecating humour is subtler and requires more thought, and therefore is better. American dramas, British comedies, and European films are the best in the world.
I am 50-50 on this. Americans make comedy, the British do 'humor'; Go figure! My favorite shows are British: Office, Getting on, Thick of it. But Americans make good tv. Americans make good sitcoms that keep you glued on for seasons at end. The difference is that when I want intellectual fulfillment I go to the Office. When I want something that makes me laugh and cry, and cry some more, and still get invested emotionaly in the character politics of the drama I go to the American Office. So I am not sure which side of the fence I am on. But I will give the green thumb to the British side for originality since the major comedies of the last decade seem to have come from that side of the Atlantic.
Just look at all the amazing British comdies out there: Little Britain, Come Fly with me, Allo Allo, Carry on, Mr Bean, Only fools and Horses, the Inbetweeners, Monty Python, Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, A Walk on the Wildside, OopsTV, You've been framed, The Worlds End, Paul, Shaun of the dead, Hotfuzz, Mr Bean.
Meanwhile Americans only have: Friends, South Park, The Simpsons and Family guy, and the last three have been going on for far too long and have been going downhill due to the lack of ideas.
British humour includes all ages, and normal looking people and is not so centred around sex and if it is it is making light of it in a FUNNY way that all ages can identify with. American humour is always based on piano teethed, talentless, all hair actors and the theme is always the same trying to "get some" gotta "get some" how to "get some". British actors are chosen on acting abilities, they have a much broader range and are very expressive. Faces aren't chosen on clear skin and age but ability and suitability and TALENT. We're all sick to death of Charlie's boozing and dumb family sitcoms that are completely unrealistic. It's like comparing a cheap romance novel to literature. No comparison. Just watch Mrs. Brown's boys for universal humour.
I can't believe we even have to answer this. I'm not British, nor American but British comedy is the best full stop. What we have earned from this page is that the British seem to be better at making their point than Americans. Top gear, the peep show, the inbetweeners vs friends (overrated), the simpsons (overrated), the inbetweeners US edition (embarrasingly cringeworthy)
British comedy shows are far funnier than most american ones and it is proven by the amount of shows they copy from us (the inbetweeners, shameless, the office- though i dont like the office). There are some good american shows though- like big bang theory and they have the best animated shows (south park and american dad) but their RL comedy shows suck bad (ie. Parks and recreation). Everyone raves about Friends but it only ever made me laugh once (when Ross gets a fake tan). I think they really force the humor or its really bland (two and a half men etc). Nothing that comes from the US will live up to the excellence of Black Adder or even Red Dwarf is better than the majority of american shows.
Ive noticed british comedy people take the piss out themselves, american comdey is more into taking the piss out other people. British comedy is so much more entertsining, and you can relate, americans take themselves too seriously to be funny. I actually cant watch american stand up, its so cringeworthy.
We in Brtian Embrace Negativity lets face it , we go to work , have tea with family , and sleep for 50 years to earn money because not because our lives are dull we live in a society were we hate everything from waiting at cash points , teenagers & mobile phones , loud angry people , not enough coffee beans and hearing Radio 2 irony , sarcasm ,negativity makes us laugh at other peoples mistakes the Bar Scene Only Fools and Horses :)
Monty Python was the worst thing that has ever happened to comedy EVER! Than you have shows like the British version of "the office" which was an embarrassment until America made it a hit. I feel as though you can't be American or British to put an opinion out there because you grew up with that style your entire life. You have adapted to it. But I don't think there is a person living on this Earth today that thinks monty python is funny.
i've tried time and time again to give british comedy its fair chance in winning me over and it has FAILED every time. I just do not share that sense of humor, it's dry and bland for me. I just do not get it, the only exception that gave me a few laughs was Russell Brand in the movies Sarah Marshall and Get him to the Greek
Where are your shows that are translated into dozens of different languages and watched AROUND the world. Ill wait. The Simpsons and Seinfeld are just a couple of shows but here are dozens of American shows that have done this. Maybe a handful of British shows have done this. There is a reason why our stuff is more widely available around the world. It's better. Plain and simple.
Their is a reason why they call it American comedy and British comedy. Each comedy show is personalized to connect with its audience. That being said, when American comedy shows say a funny joke that relates to Obama's "fiscal cliff", people in Britain watching the American comedy will have no idea what the joke meant. The same goes the other way around. Therefore if the people reading this argument are in America, they they will most likely prefer American comedies, but if the person is in Britain, then they probably prefer British comedies. It all depends on what type of audience the show is trying to reach.
As was stated previously, The Simpsons and Seinfeld are two perfect examples of comedy that everyone can laugh at. It seems that British comedy is only funny to British people. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but when comparing comedy, I think it is important to recognize the impact of said comedy and to understand how much people enjoy it.
I may have voted 'Yes' 20 years ago but seriously, we (the UK) haven't had a decent comedy since One Foot in the Grave. Has any one watched our newest offerings: The Job Lot and Vicious? They're both unfunny, boring dross and I'd find listening and watching the grass grow a hell of a lot funnier. We stink at comedy nowadays.
Arguing who's comedy is stupid solely because America is such a big place there's far more quantity, thus the greater chance for a perfect show AND an awful show. Anyone claiming American comedy is "too PC" clearly hasn't watched anything other than the crap on ABC and CBS. Adult Swim, Comedy Central, and FX routinely turn out some of the best television in the world but don't get the same ratings purely because they have a smaller audience, and it has nothing to do with the quality.
I think a lot of posts here are very ignorant about American comedies. I find it odd how Brits like to compare their old comedies from nearly twenty years ago to contemporary mainstream American comedies. Traditional mainstream American comedies are more like I love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, the Brady Bunch, Leave it to Beaver, and much more. The thing about American comedies is that it is very diverse in comparison to British comedies. Since the USA has a huge audience of varying demographics, comedies in the USA vary as well. For example, when it comes to sitcoms conservative Americans might prefer light and clean comedies from Disney or shows like Malcolm in the Middle or any other show regarding family and the problems they face in American society. A big misconception is that Americans don't tackle controversial issues. Wrong! Even family shows talk about racism, sexism, bullying, stereotypes, and homosexuality. Then there are the political "personalities" who mock American politics and pop culture. Including Family Guy and South Park. There are crude American comedies focusing on sex/adult content and there are ethnic/racial-based comedies targeting a particular group of people like Moesha (afro-centric sitcom). American sketch comedies are self-deprecating so I'm not sure where all this "Americans do not like to make fun of themselves" come from. There were probably thousands of George Bush jokes on late night TV. Jay Leno has a segment called Jaywalking which is about finding stupid Americans (then the Brits and other foreigners take it seriously and go SEE SEE You Americans are so stupid). There is comedy central and Adult Swim which is not PC at all. Also, I've seen the Big Bang Theory and while I am not a fan, clearly the show is very clever. The words they use are intellectual (contrary to some Brits claiming all American comedy is stupid) and the syntax and/or usage of sesquipedalians are unique. Furthermore, if the whole world supposedly think American comedies are "awful" like a lot of Brits here are saying, then why are they popular around the world. Even American comedy films are popular in the UK, making millions every year. The TV show "Friends" was one of the biggest shows in Britain, so again, contradictory to the postings here. The major point I would like to reiterate is that American comedies do not follow one path or one structure. I immigrated to the states myself, and it has the most diverse entertainment industry.
In terms of television, the United States dominates Britain. The US is known for taking shows from the UK and making them significantly better. The Office had a longer (and better) runtime in America than the UK because American writers were able to implement that dry style of comedy as well as mix in what's considered "American comedy." America has a much more diverse set of comedic styles that allow for a more interesting dynamic. Another example is Wilfred, although its not British, it was a foreign show that became a lot better upon entering the States because it became more diversified.
Aside from making other countries shows even better, America is constantly pumping out its own comedic substance. Programs like Louis, Silicon Valley, Seinfeild, Big Bang Theory, Friends, and the list goes on and on. America also has hands down the best cartoon comedy industry in the world, having wildly successful shows like Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, Archer, South Park, Rick and Morty, etc..
And let's not forget kids comedy, US kids shows blow the UK's out of the water, SpongeBob alone has layers of depth that go beyond most adult oriented comedies in the UK (and that's not a rip on the UK, just a praise of SpongeBob).
With movies you could go back and forth all day on "UK had this, US had that, UK had this, US had that", but the US will always have the advantage just purely on the fact that even British comedians will come to America for movie production because, you know, Hollywood.
With standup, I feel the diversity of American humor tops Britain. There are of course legendary British comics, but with a few exceptions, British comedians tend to blend together with the uniform dry, pessimistic humor. You definitely have a lot of that in the States mind you, but never to the point where the whole country's comedic style is based on it.
And finally the argument that American humor is worse because it is just toilet humor, or isn't intelligent is just ridiculous. Yes America has plenty of toilet humor, that doesn't mean A) it's worse, or B) it's inherently unintelligent. It presents such a narrow view of comedy when people can't see the merit of well preformed blue humor. And it's not as if that's all we have.
If we were to make a list of the best 50 modern comedians only 2 Brits would make the list. Billy Connelly and Eddie Izzard, no Ricky Gervais is as funny as a sack of dead puppies. The rest would be Americans plain and simple. The only thing I see going for the Brits is there tv shows, I admit American shows are horrible but if you think that supposed to be the measuring stick of determining humor then your sadly closed minded. Most writing in American shows is purposely dumbed down to appeal to a greater audience and censored to protect the company sponsoring it. If you want real comedy go strait to the horses (comedian) mouth.