Laughter is the Best Medicine

Humor [Surviving Germany]

German humour? Don’t make me laugh. Where I come from,
comedy is all about finding humour in the trials and tribulations of ordinary,
real, everyday life. Sort of like this: You don’t want to be served by an imbecile. This actually happened to some friends of mine. This is absolutely true:
They wanted to buy a fax machine, and asked the assistant:
“How does this actually work?” He said: “Well… …there’s a handset, you pick it up, you speak into it
and it comes out on some paper there.” [LAUGHTER] That’s what he said.
That is genuinely what he said. But when Brits like me come to Germany, their experience of German humour
is a bit more like this: Pumpernickel!
[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE] And so the idea that Germans
have no sense of humour is born. This of course is a prejudice,
with no basis in fact at all. Germans do have a sense of humour, it’s just not the sort of
sense of humour that we’re used to. It’s comedy, but not as we know it. The basic principle you have to embrace is this: whereas in Britain and America
humour is an integral part of everyday life, in Germany it’s a way
to escape real life altogether. That’s why German comedians
have to have some sort of gimmick, like a stupid hat, or ill-fitting clothes,
or an exaggerated regional accent, or just a really stupid voice. If they look or sound too normal,
people will just think they’re being serious. So, if you are a police officer
and you say, for example: “I’m afraid that your son
has been involved in a car accident,” this is being serious. But if your uniform doesn’t fit quite properly
and you say: “I’m afraid that your son has been involved
in a serious car accident,” it’s screamingly funny. And that is all you need to know
about German humour.

100 thoughts on “Humor [Surviving Germany]

  1. I really like your videos but I have to disagree on this one. There is a group of germans which likes this kind of humor but the most germans (I'm talking about people from 16 – 30) don't like this jokes and kind of humor. Most of us like comedy from the USA and satire – some people even like something we call "Hartz 4 TV" (scripted reality) I don't know if you have something like that in britain (if not: be glad but I'm afraid you have… espacially because it's an english word. I guess britains or americans invented that stuff).

  2. Schaue ich mir Mario Barth oder Cindy aus Marzan an, dann könnte ich mich am liebsten erschießen, nur um diesem albernen Müll zu entkommen. Über Herrn Barth sagte mal ein Mensch: Ablenkungsmanöver für Debile.

    Michael Mittermeier oder Jochen Malmsheimer finde ich hingegen zum schreien Komisch. Wobei Mittermeier fast schon Kabarett sein könnte und Malmsheimer das Kabarett sehr oft mit bedient.

    Was ich aus dem britischen Raum einfach bombastisch finde ist dieser tiefschwarze Humor. Da kommt in Deutschland eigentlich nichts in greifbare Nähe 🙂

  3. when i lived in the us i heard jokes like "oh that's right, germans don't like fun things" all the time. but i knew they were joking. and we made fun of stereotypes about our own countries, too. i therefore highly recommend "the stereotype song". very funny;)

  4. Old prejudice … only partially true. As a matter of fact if you go to other countries in the world humor is not as widespread as it is in the UK either. So essentially this might as well be considered a lopsided point of view. From the counterside the british perspective could be interpreted as constantly joking, obtrusively trying to be funny, making fun of others and never getting anything accomplished … Again – Old prejudice … only partially true 😉

  5. I recently heard an anti-semitic joke that is so low in its level of unterstanding, that it is funny again! and I want to poke on that!
    what is round and hates jews? the world!

  6. Als Norddeutscher und damit ja sowieso komplett Humorloser (zu mindest so das Vorurteil), kann ich nur sagen neues aus Büttenwader das ist Humor. Was "Comedians" angeht haben/hatten wir ihn Deutschland aber auch einige recht gute z.B. Otto Walkes oder Harpe Kerkeling.

  7. Hey, rewboss, when you made faces about the German "Pumpernickel", it actually reminded me a lot of Rowan Atkinson in Mr. Bean….so, is it typical German now, or what? :-)))))

  8. Hmm, I understand why you described this video as "your most controversial" in another vid. You said that you think most germans simpley missed the point here. Well, while I get your notions about german humor and where they come from at least partially, I am not exactly sure you understand german humor. (Which only proves that humor is a serious thing and hard to get, since your insights into the german soul often are enlightening.)

    First, I think your notion about humor not being a part of social interactions is true. We do joke a lot, but this usually is amongst family, friends and co-workers, people we know.

    But while this "mallet-humor" and the thing with the strange look exists, this is not the only way humor is done in Germany and many people are in fact not too keen about this kind of funny. So I guess you have just missed the more intellectual or silent or profound comedians. Oh and… humor like this ectually exists in Britain as well. Do I really have to invoke The Baldy Man here? And to be honest, to me "Little Britain" is absolutely disgusting.

    But interestingly we Germans have a deep sense of black humor, you just have to discover it. In fact our humor is very close to the british humor sometimes, this is why "Monty Python" or "Black Adder" work so well for many Germans.
    And I recently had an interesting conversation with some guys from Israel and they claimed that the german humor sometimes is actually close to the famous jewish humor. So I guess german humor is more complex and versatile than you think.

  9. please don't conflate british and american comedy.the majority of british comedy revolves around awkwardness and funny voices…

  10. As a German, I have to say that I actually experience German humor more like the "Pumpernickel"-Version. There are some exceptions of very good comedians, but most popular ones sound totally stupid and not funny. Just compare the German take on the daily show with the original, its horrible. 

  11. shockingly wrong. really disappointed on that video. i thought you would do better research.

  12. Nope…no, no, no!!! That is just ONE version of German humour…what we usually consider "lower humour"….if you really want to understand German humour, watch Loriot, watch Dieter Nuhr – Germans usually like sarcasm, they like to take the ordinary and laugh about it, not by using props, but by carefully pushing it to absurdity.  

  13. We Germans do not have any sense of humor we're aware of. The reason is quite astonishing but simple. In ancient Germany laughing sounded like "Ho ho ho" which – you may guess – often lead to unexpected trouble with englisch speaking tribes and was reason for countless wars between those tribes. Therefore the wise ancient kings proclaimed a law against laughing in public. Even today it's a common german phrase: "Zum Lachen in den Keller gehen" (to laugh we go into the cellar) and that's why. Later the laughing sound changed from 'hohoho' to 'hahaha' – thanks to the influence of the Roman Empire. 

  14. Indeed, in Germany you can only use "real" humor if you are shure that the guys know you and your style of talking. And this kind of primitive humor he described occurs quite often in German comedy shows. You really have to dig a little deeper to find nice, subtle German humor. 
    Germans like "Kabarett", political satire. Usually i must admit that this is not funny and people often laugh just because they don't like their politicians. I rarely see good cabaret which is spot on. 
    But the killer argument is: You didn't laugh because you didn't understand, therefore you not educated… 

  15. What about Volker Pispers and the other Kabarettisten? A lot of them make fun out of Society and politics. That is the most secure topic for German "Kabarett"("Comedy"). 

  16. oh no. as great as all the other videos are, this one ist just not correct.
    sorry to destroy your image of the german humour, but i get the imagination that you just watched some Karneval-stuff and that is so not funny at all… it is so stupid that it hurts and please! please! please! dont tell anyone, that german humour is like that. what you did in the video was not funny at all, it was… eww.
    and now go and watch at least three different programmes of michael mittermeier, mario barth and kaya yanar. They are german comedians and they are awesome. one of them is actually quite popular in other countries, or at least i read about it somewhere….

  17. Ich hoffe es ist ok wenn ich dir einen Kommentar in deutscher Sprache hinterlasse, ich denke mein Englisch ist nicht gut genug um mich hier präzise auszudrücken.

    Zuerst möchte ich sagen: "Ich mag deine Videos sehr!"
    But I think it sounds better in english: "I like your videos, a lot!"

    Ich bin der Meinung, dass deine Beschreibung des deutschen Humors für "Nicht-Deutsche" ziemlich treffend ist. Das Problem auf welches du gestoßen bist scheint mit der jeweiligen Definition von Humor zu tun zu haben.
    Ich denke, dass im Englischen Humor und Kabarett im allgemeinen Verständnis wesentlich strikter getrennt ist als im Verständnis der Deutschen.
    Komischerweise scheint "der Deutsche" das Wort "Humor" automatisch mit der Art von Unterhaltung zu assoziieren über der er lachen kann. Hinzu kommt das bei Deutschen sehr häufig anzutreffende Phänomen der Selbstverblendung.

    Beispielsweise bin ich persönlich ein großer Fan von Kabarett und rühme mich eines "gehobenen Humors". Das ist natürlich völliger Schwachsinn, denn in gewissen Situationen lache ich auch über den von dir angeführten Humor.

    Ich denke das alles hat zu diesen kontroversen Diskussionen und "Anfeindungen" beigetragen.Ich hoffe mein Kommentar hat dir ein wenig weitergeholfen, wenn nicht… auch ok 😛

    In jedem Fall: "Mach weiter, ich schaue deine Videos sehr gerne und sie bringen mich oft zum lachen, ich hoffe noch viel mehr von dir zu sehen!"

  18. As a Brazilian guy who is used to watch American and Britain comedies, I must agree with you concerning the German comedy… yes, it looks really "stupid" at the first time you see it.

    The best and maybe the only one German comedy that I found funny was Loriot.

  19. Well your portrayal is a little bit superficial, but still quite spot on for a 3 minute video. It explains the appearance and exaggerated accents of leading comedians like Maddin Schneider, Mario Barth, Johann König und Olaf Schubert.

  20. It really depends on where you are in Germany. Your analysis might be partially true for the south, in the north the people actually have a very british-like sense of humor with all the wit, sarcasm and self-deprecation.

  21. I tried to be mad (well, not really), but couldn't. That outro music is sooooo joyful and catchy, I just downloaded it. my neighbours will hate me 😀 😀

  22. Theres also Kabarrett. This is a more intellectual kinf of comedy often incuding higher language and requireing political knowledge. Also the jokes are better.

  23. Also, lieber Rewboss, dieser Beitrag ist Mist. Sicher gibt es ein breites Publikum für Cindy aus Marzan und anderem Schwachsinn. Leider. Ingo Appelt ist ja auch so ein Nicht-witziger, oder die Kebekus ist auch so krawallig. Aber das ist nur die halbe Sicht der Dinger. In Deutschland gibt es verdammt gutes Kabarett, mit Geist, Esprit, Pfiff. Ein paar Namen: Volker Pispers, Urban Priol, Django Asül, FaberhaftGuth, Jürgen v.d. Lippe usw.
    Und es gibt diesen unglaublich subtilen Humor in vielen verschiedenen Varianten: Hape Kerkeling, Loriot, Heinz Erhardt. 
    Dieses Comedy-Zeugs, was Momentan (vor allem) in den (privaten) Medien omnipräsent ist, ist mit Sicherheit nicht repräsentativ. Es ist nur laut. Der wahre, tiefgehende Witz kommt leise, aber dafür umso intensiver (bestes Beispiel: Loriot).

  24. There are so many exceptions and a lot of germans really hate the "Karneval" humor, Mario Barth or Til Schweiger movies. I really have to say that I don't know anyone personally who enjoys this "german" kind of humor. I know that you call it a generalization in the other video, but still this portrays germans as unfunny people.. I don't think your "separation" theory is so true that it's a "proper" stereotype..
    Many people I know always use irony and jokes when they talk, just like you say the british would do.. You wrong so many germans..
    I think it's like you visit a small town in Bavaria and afterwards you tell everyone "yes the germans really all wear Lederhosen and drink beer in the morning"… no actually they don't, not at all. But I love your other videos so I didn't even give you a dislike 😉

  25. No silly hat, stupid accent, normal voice and fitting clothes….

    You just want to see germany burn, don't you? ಠ_ಠ

  26. give german 'Kabarett' a go! The only funny looking comedian I like is urban priol but Volker Pispers is the best.

  27. I like this "program" but I strongly disagree. German humor can be full of irony and dry jokes are even better because of our language; Kabarett is very popular and full of these stilistic elements.

  28. Rewboss, I've been attempting to learn German and as a part of that I've picked up watching the TV show Hubert und Staller.  The writing on this show seems to me to be well done and at least fairly subtle.  Have you seen the show, and is it out of the ordinary for German Humor?

  29. Why so many dislikes? It's very close to what I experience everyday, especially here in Cologne, supposedly the funniest city in the country. Well, if people think putting a red nose in their face and doing shit is funny…

  30. I'm just wondering if you've been approached by Germans to explain some British humor on a film they've recently seen. For example, I just saw "Kingsmen" and my German husband wondered about the humor on it… my response was that it's British!

  31. Rewboss, some people are real satisfied with the sort of "comic" in germany you showed. "Cindy aus Marzahn" is such a terrible. But I have found that foreigners laugh loudest at the silliest jokes
    Look on Volker Pispers, Michael Mittermaier, Martina Hill and other if you want to see intelligent humor. I do not know anybody who likes "Mr. Bean".

  32. I'm curious of Germans ever found the German Monty Python Episode funny? Search Monty Python Bavarian Restaurant on youtube for an example.

  33. I (in my honest opinion) think that my humor and the humor in my close proximity is strongly dependent on Schadenfreude and realism. I and my friend enjoy jokes about missunderstanding, mistakes and the failures of others. One example. "Ein Vater geht auf Montage und die Mutter hat eine Affaire. Der Sohn versteckt sich im Schrank. Plötzlich kommt der Vater nach Hause und die Mutter versteckt den Liebhaber auch im Schrank (bemerkt den Sohn aber nicht).
    Sohn: Ganz schön dunkel hier.
    Liebhaber: Ja.
    Sohn: Willst du meine Fußballschuhe kaufen?
    Liebhaber: Wieso sollte ich?
    Sohn: Das ist mein Vater da draußen!
    Liebhaber: Okay. Wie Viel?
    Sohn: 500
    Wütend zahlt der Liebhaber den Preis.
    Eine Woche später selbes Spiel. Mutter hat ihren Liebhaber da, der Vater kommt nach Hause und der Liebhaber landet beim Sohn im Schrank.
    Sohn: Ganz schön dunkel hier.
    Liebhaber: Ja.
    Sohn: Ich habe einen Fußball.
    Der Liebhaber seufzend: Wie viel?
    Sohn: 1000
    Wieder zahlt der Liebhaber den Preis.
    Am nächsten Samstag bleibt der Vater daheim und will mit dem Jungen Fußball spielen.
    Sohn: Geht nicht hab alles verkauft.
    Vater: Für wie viel?
    Sohn: 1500
    Vater: Sohn du gehst in die Kirche und beichtest dein Sünden. Wie kannst du dein Freude nur so übers Ohr hauen.
    Der Sohn geht zur Kirche und setzt sich auf den Beichtstuhl.
    Sohn: Ganz schön dunkel hier.
    Pfarrer: Lass den scheiß.

  34. I am Austrian and I have to agree 100%
    I have a lot of German friends and colleague, I love them all but damn, they can be frustratingly unfunny.
    Everything funny has to be labled as such beforehand, as you mentioned. Every punchline is just "in your face" or plain mean to other people. There is no real grace to it, no real subtlety.
    Of course there are exceptions, but even the "popular exceptions" like Volker Pispers rely heavily on just being mean to others for their comic relief, or it's just your run-of-the-mill anti establishment talk (with heavy empahsis on the EEEEEVIL NAZIS!!)

    I love you Germans, but lets face it, you really have a very weak comedic culture.

  35. Ich bevorzuge doch eher Satiere oder Kabarett aber sicher nicht Karnevalkomödianten 😀 geschweige den cindy aus Marzahn oder Paul Panzer

  36. Just another blind guy who thinks he knows sth and get more and more views by triggering Germans and people who actually knows the German humour. Well he succeeded in getting views through this 'I called thing instead of sth rude'… Man I feel sorry for those who will watch this thing and believing that

  37. I dont know what to think…..If you are serious, then you must must be either not understanding german humour…..since im always laughing all the day about funny things, or you are just some kind of degenerated i.e. 2:12 / 1:01 ….i know u meant it in a more or less funny way…..but what ur saying is completely stupid.

  38. you dont know anything about humor i guess.
    by the way the correct stereotyp for germans is that we are too serious to be funny and not that our sense of humor is like an 3 year old child.
    british humor is to dress like an woman and talk with an high voice about tea. how does it taste?

  39. Wenn man dem Herren glaubt, müssten wir Deutschen über seine Video lachen; aber aufgrund seines Aussehens…

  40. Well that's a wrong picture of German humor. It makes me wonder if you know Dieter Nuhr, for example.

  41. You know what? I really had to laugh about your funny policeman. But that's ok because I'm german and I'm allowed to laugh about primitive jokes. (i can't deny my roots)
    Ever thought about a career at RTL?

  42. I was raised by a German mom in Canada with loads of half-German/half-British cousins. All my cousins… in Germany, the UK, and the USA… have a similar sense of humour. We're quite sarcastic. I don't get this nonsense about humourless Germans. (What about Dr. Seuss, Charles Schulz….? who were shaped by their German heritage no doubt.) Anyway when my mother and her siblings got together, they spent their time, arguing, gossiping or laughing.

    German culture is not homogenous and, in general, not devoid of humour. I'll give an example of a saying from my great-grandfather, who was a naval officer from the Friesland area. If he knew a woman who was very "talkative" he'd say something like… "She speaks so much, she has to breathe through her a**hole." O.K. that one's a bit crude, but it is funny.

    I will admit that German humour, mainstream, is a bit cheesy. Ugh.

  43. This has nothing to do with German sense of humour. The German sense of humour, as all sense of humour, draws from the absurd. Only, what is perceived as absurd differs from country to country.
    "This parrot is dead!" – "No it isn't, it's just resting!"
    Is as funny as
    "Herr Müller-Lüdenscheidt!" – "Herr Dr Klöbner!"
    Context is important.

  44. Well.. there is the stuff which gets the 50+ year olds in big groups but political satire is a strong part of german humor and more young people are interested in that. Although maybe just the intellectuals since I'm surrounded by students.

  45. Here in Switzerland we don't need any humour at all, our language is already funny enough. We do have humour of course, but it wouldn't be necessary. 😁😁😁😁

  46. Sehr geeherter Herr Rewboss,
    in anbetracht Ihrer fundamentalen Erkentnisse zum Thema Deutscher Humoristischer Lei(d)tkultur, in Verbindung mit dem Fakt, dass Sie diese Erkenntnisse in einer Sprache publizieren, die global verstanden werden kann, sehen wir uns genötigt Sie aus dem Deutschsprachigen Kulturraum zu verbannen.
    Gegen diesen Bescheid, können Sie innerhalb von 4 Wochen ab Zugang, Widerspruch erheben. Der Widerspruch kann auch auf elektronischem Wege eingereicht werden, sofern Sie die dafür notwendigen technischen Voraussetzungen, nach Paragraph 4, 5 und 11 des EGovG vom 25.07.2013, zuletzt geändert am 05.07.2017, sowie die darus resultierenden Rechtsvorschriften, hinreichend beachtet werden.
    im Auftrag des Ministers für internationale Stereotypen.

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