Richard Ayoade, the last name pronounced “eye-oh-WA-dee” has proven to be the epitome of British humour. He’s clever, articulate, and sarcastic all while wearing a dead-pan expression. This infusion of comedic traits is the reason why Anglophiles love British humour and consume large amounts of British TV to get their fix. To the uneducated or overly-sensitive, this manner of humour can be quite off-putting or even seem rude. To the scoffers, well, they just flat out hate it. The following are some examples of how Richard deftly depicts this British humour we Anglophiles dearly love. If you haven’t seen these British TV shows, I have one word for you. YouTube.
The IT CROWD
My first baptism of Richard’s particular humour was through the popular British TV sitcom, The IT Crowd. Being an IT geek for 14 years, I could very much relate to his viewpoint of the world and reaction to it. His character, Maurice Moss, was the butt end of jokes and the victim of constant teasing or bullying. Moss’s branded appearance was the crux of his IT nerd persona and how computer techs are viewed by everyone else outside this sphere. Despite Moss’ social impotence and lack of fashion sense, he displayed moments of rapier wit, showcasing his intelligence beyond RAM and motherboards. I quote the famous Maurice Moss line which encapsulates Richard’s grasp of humour via this character: “I came here to drink milk and kick ass, and I’ve just finished my milk.”
As I began to view more of Richard’s work, this embodiment of British humour became even more evident. I literally stumbled across the Gadget Man, originally hosted by Stephen Fry, on YouTube and was immediately hooked. The geek poster child, with his fuzzy hair, thick-rimmed glasses, and nasal voice, Richard Ayoade personifies the obsession technology nerds have with gadgets to simplify life in every conceivable way. Slightly ridiculous and done for effect, Richard portrays the British aloofness and sarcasm in all of its glory, while he pokes fun at this widely-accepted stereotype. Of course, geeks and nerds of every nationality can identify with this requirement to reduce human contact to its bare minimum. However, Ayoade uses his words, regularly inclusive of British slang, and witty sarcasm to convey British humour at its finest.
Like any properly cynical nerd, travel is viewed as a complete bother and something to be bitterly endured. This accounts for the frequent whinging throughout the show. Therefore, if this type goes on holiday, brevity is what’s called for and no mistake. Richard’s approach to this way of traveling, within 48 hours, is another avenue to demonstrate the sarcastic British humour we know and love. Keep calm and carry on then let’s have done with it. While we’re at it, we must take the mickey out of everyone and in every situation we possibly can. After all, we are British. It’s what we do.
I have a good friend, also British and named Richard, who regularly demonstrates this humour for which I am utterly bemused. Once, on my Facebook wall, he posted some snarky comments about a particular subject I raised. Unfortunately, it distressed another friend of mine but all the while, I’m cracking up laughing. An apology to my friend as no injury was meant.
My friend Richard will regularly take the mickey out of his Septic friends or Americans in general, especially when it comes to sports. Do not be fooled. He has a great love for us Yanks, despite his regular protestation. Besides, a tell-tale sign that you are liked by or even amused by a Brit is through the showering of rhetorical and sarcastic verbal jabs. If you are ignored, then you are disliked or possibly even detested. As I’ve said before, British humour is like opera. You either love it or you hate it. It’s their way, take it or leave it.
Do You Enjoy British Humour?
While this reflection on British humour might be offensively stereotypical to Britons, it is a pure delight to the avid Anglophile who comprehends and even encourages more of the same. Have any British friends? Noticed some of this same quirky sarcasm? Do you enjoy British humour? Log in below and post your comments below.