It’s Funny Because I Get It
How many comedy series from outside of your own country do you watch?
Personally, I’m Australian and watch some Japanese, British and American comedy shows but I hardly find them as funny as some of my local shows such as ‘Summer Heights High’, ‘Hey Hey It’s Saturday’ and ‘The Paul Hogan Show’, Australian shows.
Susan Purdie identifies comedy as the breaking of rules involving behaviours and language, although these rules are often subject to cultural barriers. Much like the advertising fail, “where the bloody hell are you?” one cultures joke may be another culture’s insult.
Getting Angry at ‘Angry Boys’
Chris Lilley’s ‘Angry Boys’ was met with some criticism in the US, specifically the character of S’mouse, an African American Rapper and a parody of the mainstream hip hop industry. Looking at this cultural content from different nationalities perspectives can cause different responses.
Comedy is said to be characterised to a locality, meaning Australian comedy is different to American comedy because of location specific references. Other elements that should be taken into consideration include political views and popular demographic. America is infamous for an inability to laugh at themselves where as a lot of Australian comedy is based on mocking our own stereotypes.
There are cases where comedy can breach borders because of a similar ‘cultural DNA’. This means that two cultures that share similarities can sympathise and understand each others comedy. For example, Australia being almost like an evolution from UK culture, people from a UK culture can understand some of the irony behind Australia’s stereotyping comedy.
As we can see in this video, Irish comedian Dylan Moran at the Melbourne comedy festival combining his comedy from the UK and Ireland with Australian comedy for an Australian audience with relative ease. Another thing to note is the abundance of his jokes that ‘mock’ Australia, Australians and Australian ‘things’.
How To Go Global
Comedy is lost in translation when certain specific are just not understood by a culture. This can be overcome be sharing the shows format but localising the script.
With this shows such as ‘The Office’ can be successfully translated, in this case from a dark UK version to a much brighter US version.