The attentive reader (I mean you, of course) will be well aware of my love for British humour. Books and movies and TV shows seem to be on another level which can hardly be approached by any of the utter drivel passed off as comedy today.
It is not the nationality of the humour, as much as the tone that places it apart. Original, insightful and sharp, even when it is occasionally derived from the male genitalia. I find it hard to fathom how anyone can ever not be knocked over by the brilliance of Black Books or Yes Minister, by the affected smile of Basil Fawlty or the wonderfully absurd songs of Monty Python.
But the real genius of the humour lies in the dialogue. As anyone who has ever attempted to write one would know, it is not an easy task to script a comic dialogue. Which is why I never fail to marvel at the effortless ease with which it seems to have been achieved in some of these works.
Like Blackadder, speaking to an adolescent Prime Minister “Pitt” in the third series:
Pitt: … I intend to put my own brother as a candidate against you.
Blackadder: Oh, and which Pitt would that be? Pitt the Toddler? Pitt the Embryo? Pitt the Glint in the Milkman’s Eye?
The glint in the milkman’s eye! Is it not absolutely fucking delightful?
Or almost all of Blackadder Goes Forth, with the ‘I spy with my little eye’ sequence, Baldrick’s “Sir, I have a cunning plan.”, and Hugh Laurie, on hearing about Blackadder’s death, asking Stephen Fry, “Permission for lip to wobble, sir!”
Or take the opening lines of The Importance of Being Earnest, Algernon at the piano speaking to his butler.
Algernon: Did you hear what I was playing, Lane?
Lane: I did not think it polite to listen, sir.
That goes on for the entire length of the play; each line a joke, leading up to the next joke, and so on. Take one of them out and the whole thing would fall apart. That’s a fucking script.
Anyway. I could go on about this. No point. Just some thoughts crossing my mind while a couple of guys watch a movie called Superbad in office, evidently finding it pure comedy gold. A couple of lines that seem to reaffirm their belief:
“Your cock is so smooth.” “Yours would be too, if you were a man.”
“Prepare to be fucked by the long dick of the law.”
And of course, the classic, “What the fuck.”
The laughter echoes around the hall, as I step out, light another cigarette, and yet again, despair over this age of stupidity, of this idiocracy, that we find ourselves cackling in.