Not only in Malta
As some of you might already know, I like funny. I try my best to see the funny side of things and, most of the time, I think that I manage.
But the truth is that whenever I write something comical, I feel, (to say the least) short-changed. I always get the sinking feeling that the majority of the Maltese, do not really get my kind of funny and, that maybe, just maybe, I’m flogging a dead horse by trying.
Over the years, this belief has led me to wonder what it would have been like to have been born in England. What would it have been like to have been raised in ‘Little Britain’ style, with Anne Robinson as my favourite aunt and Jeremy Clarkson as my funny neighbour? Awesome, I thought, but then, last week, my fantasies were shattered, as the Brits completely crushed my idealistic image of their dry sense of humour.
I’m referring of course to the fuss most of them made about Jeremy Clarkson’s joke on BBC’s ‘The One Show’ - the part where he went on air saying that the pension strikers in England should be shot (executed) in front of their families.
Now of course, reading it as I wrote it here, completely out of context, with no facial expressions accompanying it, takes the funny right out of it, but when put back in context, and when Jeremy Clarkson says it, I can’t see how it could be anything else but funny.
Jeremy is possibly one of the funniest men on earth, known for his satirical, politically incorrect, and brash jokes, and as I suspected from the start, his offending comment had been agreed to with the BBC prior to going on air.
The image above is a transcript of the exact exchange of words, and should you wish to see for yourself, you can also watch the entire clip here.
So far, the BBC have received over 22,000 complaints, and even though Clarkson was forced to apologise on national television, shortly after he read out the apology, he managed to offend the Brits once again by calling train suicides, ‘very selfish’.
In his signature satirical style he said "I have the deepest sympathy for anyone whose life is so mangled and messed up that they believe death's icy embrace will be better. However, every year around 200 people decide that the best way to go is by hurling themselves in front of a speeding train. In some ways they are right. This method has a 90% success rate and it's extremely quick. However, it is a very selfish way to go because the disruption it causes is immense.”
Once again, if you read it off this blog like that, it is probably uncool and not funny, but when Jeremy Clarkson says it, it is, in my opinion, absolutely hilarious. And yet, once again, the Brits didn’t get it!
So, it seems that I was wrong after all. The Brits are also capable of not getting it. When you pull their leg about something that they care deeply about, or when you hit right in the hearth of their home with your funny, even if it’s obvious to the rest of the world that you’re just trying to get a laugh, the Brits can get just as uptight as the Maltese, and anyone else for that matter.
The bottom line is that people are people, and wherever you go, deep down we are all the same. Some of us get it, some of us don’t, some of us get it most of the time, and some of us hardly ever. Some of us like it, some of us don’t, but what’s for sure is that the humour gene is not hereditary, it’s neither geographic nor demographic, and it certainly can’t be bought, or learnt. It’s one of those things that you’re either born with or you’re not, and if you happen to have it you can either, nurture it, kill it, or turn it into a complete nuisance.
Maintaining this funny balance is a serious business, and that’s what I keep trying to do with my funny musings. It’s not easy, but at least now I know that even the likes of the BBC and Jeremy Clarkson can get it wrong sometimes.