Funny 'cos it's true

Observational comedy is Britain's favourite

Observational comedy is Britain’s favourite form of humour – with crude, lavatorial gags and sarcastic insults liked the least.

 A new survey has found that 42 per cent of people say the retelling of everyday situations ‘by the likes of Peter Kay and Victoria Wood’ is their favourite source of comedy.

It has a clear lead over the second most-loved style, slapstick, enjoyed by 18 per cent of people quizzed – and popular across all age ranges. Satire was next on the list, with 14 per cent.

Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, with caustic put-downs ‘characterised by sharp-tongued comedians like Jimmy Carr’ scoring just six per cent, with a similarly low score of eight per cent for ‘the self-deprecating style of humour typified by comics like Jo Brand.’ 

The survey also found that Northerners are the strongest fans of observational comedy, with over half (51 per cent) preferring this form of humour; and those in the North-East were the biggest fans of satire – where the 31 per cent  of people who prefer topical comedy is twice as high as London’s figures.

The study also concluded that as a nation, we laugh a lot less than we used to.

It found we laugh an average of 14 times a day – three times lower than in the Fifties – despite, or perhaps because of, our more comfortable standard of living today.

The study of 1,000 people was conducted on behalf of Ocean Village Holidays, which is launching a £800-a-head ‘Laugh Alive’ cruise in September, offering a series laughter workshops and comedy classes

Amanda Bate, who devised the cruise said: “The findings of this study show a worrying trend towards glumness.

“In the Fifties we laughed for an average of 18 minutes daily but this has dropped to just six minutes.

“Laughter is an essential ingredient of a healthy, happy life and is one of the most effective and immediate antidotes to stress and tension - it really is the best medicine.   Adults need to learn how to laugh again.”


Published: 31 May 2005

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