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  • (rousing music)

  • - Hello everyone, and welcome back to "English with Lucy."

  • Today, I've got a very different video,

  • but it's been extremely highly requested.

  • A lot of you have been telling me

  • that you don't understand British humour

  • or that you would like to understand British humour.

  • So today, I'm going to talk you through British humour,

  • help you to understand it a little bit more

  • and give you some phrases that you can also use

  • to participate in British humour.

  • So, our sense of humour can do two things.

  • It can make people feel excluded

  • because they don't understand what's going on,

  • and it can also make people feel offended

  • because it can be, or it can appear to be quite offensive.

  • But don't worry, we're going to cover all of that today.

  • This video might be one of the most important

  • videos I've ever done on my channel.

  • Humour, the British sense of humour, is very important to me.

  • Quickly before we get started,

  • and no, this isn't sarcasm but we will cover that later,

  • I would like to thank the sponsor of today's video.

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  • Right, let's get on with this very humorous lesson.

  • So, what is British humour?

  • Well, I'm gonna break it down into eight categories.

  • But in general, we just love to ridicule and make fun of

  • every day life, the absurdity of every day life.

  • One of our most popular comedians is Michael McIntyre.

  • And literally all he does is make witty remarks

  • about every day life.

  • He makes us laugh about ourselves.

  • And the things that we do that we don't even think of,

  • he makes us analyse them and think,

  • wow, that's ridiculous.

  • I'll leave a link to some of his videos

  • and his work in the description box below.

  • So first, let's talk about irony.

  • Irony.

  • This is when we highlight when something is different from

  • or the opposite of what is expected.

  • This is incredibly important in British humour.

  • An example of irony could be,

  • our local fire station burnt down last night. (laughs)

  • Obviously, you would not expect a fire station to burn down.

  • You would expect that they would take care of their building

  • just as they take care of other buildings.

  • That would be very ironic.

  • We love highlighting these ironic situations,

  • we love highlighting irony,

  • the irony of every day life.

  • Another example could be,

  • "You know our friend Pat, the marriage counsellor?

  • "Unfortunately her and her husband are getting a divorce."

  • We would find that very very funny.

  • Obviously, we'd be sad for Pat and her husband

  • but, the irony would not be lost on us.

  • (laughs)

  • Phrases we can use.

  • So, if somebody says something to you

  • that you think might be ironic,

  • you can say, ugh, the irony,

  • oh, the irony.

  • Or, you could also say, oh, how ironic.

  • Or better yet, say nothing at all, just smile.

  • Just a coy smile would be fine.

  • Now, one step on from irony is sarcasm.

  • This is something that we are famous for.

  • Sarcasm uses irony to mock or ridicule.

  • A great example of British sarcasm in it's purest form

  • was actually performed by my father

  • at his father's, my grandfather's funeral.

  • We like to make light of any situation here in the U.K.

  • Before we start, my grandfather had a great sense of humour.

  • He was always laughing

  • and he would've absolutely loved this.

  • So, my dad was put in charge

  • of writing the eulogy for the funeral,

  • and he also had to read that eulogy out in the...

  • I was gonna say cockpit.

  • (plane whooshing and beeping) It is not a cockpit.

  • What is it?

  • (door opening)

  • Will.

  • - [William] Yeah.

  • What's that place where you do a reading in a church?

  • (crickets chirping)

  • (idea light pinging on) Pulpit!

  • Thank you, I got it. (door closing)

  • Okay.

  • So, he had to give this reading of the eulogy in the pulpit,

  • at the front of the church,

  • to everyone who was attending the funeral.

  • Now, because this eulogy was so long

  • they divided it into two parts.

  • They were gonna have a little break, and his sister,

  • my aunt, Marie, was going to choose three songs

  • that Yeti really liked, that reminded her of Yeti.

  • And she was going to put them in this interval.

  • So, all was going well, she turned on the songs very well.

  • But when it came to turning the music off,

  • it was quite abrupt. (laughs)

  • It was literally like.

  • (classical music)

  • (music abruptly stopping) (record scratching)

  • And my father, still using his funeral voice,

  • with not a smile on his face, just said,

  • "Beautifully faded out, Mary."

  • And then just continued delivering this eulogy,

  • and it was hilarious.

  • But I did think, had my students been at this funeral

  • they would have been so shocked and offended

  • that my dad would make a joke at this funeral. (laughs)

  • My granddad would have loved it,

  • and the whole family found it hilarious.

  • And actually, that's a really good example

  • of deadpan or dry humour, which we'll talk about next.

  • But first, a couple of phrases you can use

  • when you are attempting to use sarcasm.

  • If somebody misunderstands you and gets offended,

  • you can say, I'm being sarcastic.

  • Also say that with no smile, 'cause that's quite funny.

  • Or, that was sarcasm.

  • So, if you're worried that they might not understand,

  • as soon as you say something sarcastic you can say,

  • I absolutely loved your dancing.

  • That was sarcasm.

  • So yes, as mentioned before, deadpan or dry humour.

  • This is when you say something amusing or funny

  • with a very straight face and a very serious tone.

  • The best jokes are delivered dryly.

  • This is more of a tactic,

  • because you know that your joke is funny,

  • you have the confidence and intelligence

  • to know that what you've said is funny,

  • because you've said it with a straight face

  • but people have still laughed.

  • It can add that extra shock factor.

  • This is why it's so easy

  • to offend people with British humour.

  • We often confuse Americans because they,

  • their humour. I love American humour.

  • But their humour is more obvious and in your face.

  • So sometimes, if we say something

  • that appears insulting with a straight face.

  • Well, they would normally make a joke like that

  • with a smile on their face,

  • or making it obvious that they're joking.

  • So there can be some confusion.

  • Next we have my favourite one, which is wit,

  • making witty comments.

  • This is making quick and intelligent remarks and comments,

  • preferably with a straight face.

  • This is all about being quick thinking and clever.

  • We love feeling in awe of someone

  • when they make a completely unplanned or off-the-cuff joke

  • that fits in perfectly with the conversation.

  • This can be really really hard for non-native speakers.

  • I experienced exactly what you're experiencing in Spanish.

  • Because I'd want to make a quick comment,

  • it would come into my head,

  • but by the time it actually came out of my mouth

  • the conversation had moved on.

  • So to make witty comments and to be witty,

  • you have to be really clever and really quick,

  • and good with your language skills.

  • To be described as witty in the U.K.

  • is the mother of all compliments, it really really is.

  • So if anyone ever says, that was very witty

  • or, you're very witty,

  • you should take that as a really really big one.

  • Next we have self-deprecation, self-deprecating humour.

  • This is one that you may have seen

  • in a lot of my videos actually,

  • it's quite an easy one to do.

  • But it's hard to not overdo it actually,

  • it can just get depressing after a while.

  • This is simply making fun of oneself,

  • like me making fun of myself or you making fun of yourself.

  • We don't like to show off too much in the U.K.

  • This is a very important component of British humour,

  • and culture actually.

  • Americans might say, America is the greatest.

  • And Brits might say, Britain is a great place to visit

  • if you don't mind poor weather and questionable food.

  • We love making fun of ourselves,

  • whether that's ourselves as a person

  • or ourselves as a nation.

  • Other examples.

  • Going into work and saying, ugh,

  • I look like I got dressed in the dark this morning.

  • Or, talking about how bad you are at cooking,

  • I'm so bad at cooking I could burn water.

  • They're just little comments that are quite amusing

  • that we throw out, and they are making fun of ourselves.

  • Then we have innuendos or double entendres.

  • These are amazing. (laughs)

  • This is when we intentionally say things

  • that could be interpreted as taboo or sexual in meaning.

  • These are a huge part of British culture and British humour,

  • because they're so easy to slip in anywhere,

  • because they're not directly offensive or rude.

  • But once you know the meaning of them,

  • it can be quite shocking to see

  • that they are in the newspaper

  • or in a children's TV programme.

  • An example could be, there's a plate of sausages over there,

  • would you like to give her one?

  • Well, to give him or her one means to

  • give them sexual intercourse, I guess.

  • And obviously, the fact that sausage is involved

  • make this more emphasised.

  • But actually, sexual innuendos and double entendres

  • can be found anywhere, especially in headlines of newspapers

  • and in general conversation.

  • I remember being around six years old.

  • My childhood home was very near to my lower school.

  • And I was sitting underneath a hedge,

  • so I was hidden from the path that led to my school,

  • and I was watching my dad do work in his vegetable patch.

  • So I couldn't be seen,

  • but people could see in and see my dad.

  • And I heard one of my teachers

  • walking along with another teacher, say to her. (laughs)

  • Say to her companion, "I'd rather see his meat and two veg."

  • And I remember going, "Daddy, why did Mrs. (mumbles)

  • "want to see your meat and two veg?"

  • And he obviously went very red.

  • They had gone by then, but I remember him telling

  • my mom about it over dinner and her being shocked

  • and also laughing loads.