OMG! I Miss American-Style Humor So Much!

The other day I got an INCREDIBLY funny video from my friend Kouichi (bro, you’re always sending me cool stuff, thanks!). This Funny or Die Sketch was probably was about Captain Planet. Does anybody remember that cartoon? There were the five teenagers (I assume they were teenagers anyway) from different parts of the world who were each given a magic ring. There was an earth ring, a fire ring, a wind ring, a water ring, and the heart ring. I don’t know about you guys, but if I was the dude that ended up with the heart ring, I would be been like “Hell naw, Gaia (the spirit of the earth), you’re gonna have to get me another ring.” LOL. Needless to say the aims for the show were quite wholesome. It was a cartoon based on ecology, and I don’t know how they pulled off the marketing, but a lot of kids ended up watching that cartoon. The cartoon was so wholesome, but this Funny or Die sketch puts a crude, macabre, and slightly creepy spin on Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Some of you may have seen it already, but if you haven’t, I’ll just tell you in advance that it has pretty strong language, but I really thought it was funny. I was nearly in tears:

I really miss comedy like this, not because I’m not able to see it, but because there aren’t a whole lot of people to share it with, people who’d fully appreciate it.

Humor really varies from country to country. Japanese humor is somewhat different from American humor. I sometimes can’t grasp a lot of humor because I’m still working on the language. But there are some Japanese comedians that are really funny without having to understand a lick of the Japanese.

I sometimes find that even with other English-speaking foreigners (Australia, England, New Zealand…), there is sometimes a different take on what’s funny and what’s not.

While some American comedians are more in your face funny. There is a lot of British humor (and I’m guessing that it might be similar in New Zealand and Australia) that’s more high brow. Not to say that high brow comedy isn’t funny, because it can be, but it’s not the type of comedy I grew up watching. I grew up listening to Eddie Murphy’s foul-mouthed stand up and thought it was hilarious. I used to watch Saturday Night Live religiously (during that Chris Farley, David Spade, Cheri O Teri, Mike Myers, Dana Carvey…era).

I find if I mention some of the comics I like (who I assumed were just universally funny) with other non-American, English-speaking foreigners, Chris Rock, Dave Chappell, Will Ferrell, etc. …they kind of get brushed aside like “I’m not really a fan.” Whereas in America, a lot of people can identify with those comedians.

It could be because comedy can sometimes builds on some type of context or assumption. Maybe for people who come from other English-speaking countries, an American comedian may be delivering from a context they may not be familiar with. Even for those living in America, if you grew up in a different region, there may be some differences in what you find funny and what you don’t.

Well, regardless of whether or not people appreciate it or not. I’ll still keep watching my very direct, sometimes a little-edgier-than-it-should-be comedy, because it really makes me laugh. But I do sometimes miss watching a good, side-splitting comedy with a group of my friends. There’s no having to explain humor or the context, no worrying about whether or not the people with you are going to like it, nobody’s going to be offended or put-off…it’s effortless.

Back to You Tube I’ve got to feed my comedy need.

See you tomorrow,

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  • Nanami

    -kicks google chrome- the video won’t load for me right now. This thing is being mean! But your post is interesting to me especially as I was just discussing American vs Japanese humor with some of my classmates today. We found out we have to do a 20 minute class for our teaching class. I decided I want to do something based around a dialogue from Monty Python & the Search for the Holy Grail.

    My classmate, Leo, has actually taught in Japan and was discussing the merit of this idea considering his own experiences doing something similar with a Friend’s episode involving Chandler talking about a dream of being nude in public. The humor/mortification of the dream was lost on his students because as a culture this nightmare doesn’t really (supposedly) occur in Japanese culture. Therefore, the whole thing was a big mess. I hadn’t ever thought about it! After talking some more, we both agreed my idea will still work but that the humor thing stuck with me.

    I guess it’s the same with a lot of Americans not getting British comedy at all too. It’s interesting how different our cultures can be in this department.

    • Donald Ash

      Oh no! You have to see that video, Nanami. It’s HILARIOUS! Thanks for your feedback on my post.
      I am embarrassed to even type this (knowing how popular it is), but I’ve never seen any of the Monty Python Movies :O (I hope to fix that soon, though).
      Yeah, I guess in a country where public, nude, bathing is quite common, the same nightmare rules wouldn’t apply. Elementary school students change in front of each other, and their teachers unabashedly. In elementary school, kids used to get “pantsed” sometimes, and would get embarrassed if people saw their underwear. Definitely a different set of values/comedy from country to country.

      The class project you’re working on sounds interesting!

      • Nanami

        I just saw it.. XD omg.. that’s so bad. haha ^ ^!

        I always liked that show alot.

        the project should be fun ^ ^. If you watch any of the pythons.. watch the search for the holy grail!! it’s a classic :)

  • Ken

    Great analysis on how people enjoy comedy.
    I’m from Japan and it took me a while to enjoy American stand up comedies because I didn’t know cultural heritage and stereo types of different region and ethnicity at the beginning of my life in US. Once I spent enough time interacting with people with different cultural backgrounds, American comedies slowly started making sense to me.

  • Lazzaris

    Captain planet looks more like a woopa loompa!
    For sure, american comedy have an special taste!

    • Donald Ash

      Yeah, I guess I kinda does, LOL.

  • Hello Donaldash,
    Thanks you for your post, books about the war with extreme black humour? Or any book at all with black humor?

    • Donald Ash

      Thank you for reading :)

  • Anthony

    I’m pretty sure capt. planet really felt that way sometimes lol. Thanks for sharing

  • mari

    Thank you for your interesting article. Yes, humor varies from country to country, but it also varies from individual to individual. Although Im Japanese, I never find Japanese comedy program on TV very funny. I think they are just crappy. I dont like ‟ foreigners “ to think all Japanese people have a same sense of humor. I didnt find this ‟ Captain Planet ” video so hilarious, but at least it seems to have successfully given me some strong message!

  • miyuki

    I am from Europe and I love American comedian, Dave Chappelle is one of my favourite ! love his sketch with lil John ;) Well I can definitively say that I do no catch Japanese sens of humour and they could not catch mine 2 ( even though I am half Japanese ) do you know edwin san juan ? I think this guy is hilarous he is still a “beginner” but he is good !

    • Donald Ash

      Bless you!! I think Dave Chapelle is AMAZINGLY funny, too. His Lil John sketch and the Rick James one are classics, plain and simple. I haven’t heard of Edwin San Juan, but I’m gonna have to check him out, too. Thanks Miyuki!

  • miyuki

    “whaaat,whaat ? okeeeey” ahahhah well just warn you Edwin San Juan is sometimes “おもい” or “cliché” (I am not sure cliché have the same meaning than in French) btw Captain Planet was a part of my childhood thanks for sharing with this us this video !

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