It has come to my attention these last few weeks, talking to my American friends that us British citizens have a totally different idea to Christmas then the rest of the world. That we have a sense of humour all of our very own, that just does not seem to translate across the countries. If you are under the age of 25 you may not know any of the programmes I am about to talk of, if you are over the age of 30 I am pretty sure you all should. If not, get on youtube, iplayer, whatever and go back and look at our classic British comedy pre everything having to be politically correct. When comedy was still funny, and no one was offended for a joke.
Whatever your favourite brand of television is there is more than likely a christmas special, Eastenders, Sherlock, Doctor Who, Coronation Street, which everyone packs around the tv for around more food than you would normally eat in a week. Always making steady viewing figures year in year out, but the real ratings stealers are the classic comedy series. Usually from the 70's/80's and still holding their own today because everyone loves them.
Firstly there is Open All Hours, with Granville being shouted to 'F f f f f f fetch your cloth'. So popular still that it has spun off years later into Still Open All Hours where Granville has taken over the shop and has his own shop boy after the tragic loss of Ronnie Barker.
Then you have the comedians such as Morecambe and Wise, The Goodies, The Two Ronnies and Jasper Carrott. Steadily insulting every single race, religion, sex, gender and yet doing it in a way that no one found offensive. Knowing it was all in good taste. Something that I wish people today still understood! Morecambe and Wise with the Stripper, their constant 'If you want me to be a gonner, get me an album by Des O'Conner'. Actors queuing up to be insulted on stage by them, and returning the favour. It was once the hugest show, everyone wanted to be on, often with a huge waiting list to appear.
The Goodies and their Kitten Kong, The Funky Gibbon and various other songs that I can't believe I still remember the lyrics to after hearing them as a child. The Two Ronnies, with Mastermind and Four Candles . Four Candles still being redone by current comedians. Constantly I tried to explain the humour in these to my American friend and he was just staring blankly at me like I was a crazy person. I should have learned my lesson when I tried to get him to understand Brian Connley's Larry the Loafer, one of the best modern comedies I know. I think we all cheered when Larry stole the club off Brian to belt him instead of always the other way around.
I think the moment I completely lost my American friend from the conversation was when I mentioned the words Jasper and Carrott in a sentence together. For the start he couldn't understand the Birmingham accent, which for those of us who do go to, or come from Birmingham (like me) will know is a very mild Brummy accent. I thought I'd pick out something simple that anyone could understand, nothing with any Birmingham suburbs, no mentions of Bovril (which I still actually have never been brave enough to drink). So I went for the Nutter on the Bus, without realising that in USA they don't have double-decker buses and completely confused him. I moved onto the mother in-laws driving, seems mother in law jokes are also a British only thing, even the Mole didn't get any understanding.
It never crossed my mind that British and American humours were so different, that our classic shows would not be understood easily across the miles. Then again, I see British of a younger generation struggling to grasp at some of the jokes as well. I think it’s sad, that we are losing a tradition. I just hope that I sparked some good memories of sketches for some of you, and that others of you might go out there. Look for the sketches and enjoy them as well.
Have a good christmas everyone.