Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Funniest Country on Earth

As a humorist, you may occasionally come across a situation where you need a "funny country" to finish a joke. But if you are not an experienced supergenius like me, or if you are merely an amateur supergenius, you might not be entirely sure which countries are still on the cutting edge of what is funny and which have passed their time in the spotlight.

When I was a kid in the 1980's there were a lot of jokes about Poland and dumb Polacks. But nobody makes jokes about Europe anymore - they seem to have gotten their act together (except Italy.) At least half of the pornography that Americans consume must now come from the former Eastern Bloc nations. Hot lesbian action is almost never funny.

Canada and Mexico are easy targets for Americans because of their proximity, and you will probably still see a lot of jokes made at their expense, but in my opinion it's all been done. You can't joke about America's number one trading partner and number one supplier of cleaning ladies and fruit pickers. You can't joke about Mexico, either. Even if you try it's pretty damn insulting, as I just demonstrated.

The nations of Africa are right out, of course. They've got enough rotten shit to deal with without us picking on them. Western Africa, it turns out, is turning into a nice collection of suburbs. Libya might be worth a yuck or two, but I doubt most young people can remember why we started making fun of them in the first place. (I doubt anyone younger than 25 can even spell "Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi.")

The Middle East seems to suffer from the same problems as Africa, not to mention that a lot of them want to kill us, and we as Americans have done our part to make life there a lot worse. You can't laugh so much about something you're scared of.

Asia continues to "emerge" as a world power. Our grandparents picked on Japan a lot, but they sure taught America a thing or two about quality electronics, compact and mid-size cars, and cartoon tentacle sex. Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia have been pretty quiet lately. And the boat has sailed on Khmer Rouge Cambodia jokes as far as I can tell. Anyone old enough to know what that is will be too old to laugh.

Australia jokes went the way of Paul Hogan's career. And everybody loves New Zealand now, for some reason, even though in reality it's a big shithole from coast to coast.

That just leaves south and central America. Here there remain a few gems. Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Columbia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Panama -- these countries are all cool. Guatemala and Nicaragua are still probably fucked up, but they've been out of our minds for so long it's hard to remember what makes them funny. Haiti would be a good joke, but there are enough of them living in the US now that you might get cut up. Peru has Mayan ruins and nobody knows what goes on in those three little colony/countries north of Brazil. That leaves Bolivia, Uraguay, and Paraguay.

I did some research. Bolivia, while being very coup-happy in it's nearly 200 year history, recently legalized cocaine. They have their first indigenous president in their history. So Bolivia jokes are in a holding pattern to see what happens next. Uraguay, it turns out, has both beach resorts and gauchos, so you might actually consider vacationing there.

Paraguay, on the other hand, is landlocked. It was also home to many Nazi expats, including Dr. Mengele. But I still wasn't sure until I saw this at Infoplease.com:
After World War II, politics became particularly unstable. Alfredo Stroessner was dictator from 1954 until 1989, during which he was accused of the torture and murder of thousands of political opponents. Despite Paraguay's human rights record, the U.S. continuously supported Stroessner.
Hilarious. Moreover, Paraguay meets the requirement that Americans not be able to name their capital nor locate them reliably on a map. But somehow we still know that it's a troubled country. This is sufficient to make fun of it. That is why I call Paraguay the 2006 Funniest Country on Earth.

However, and just to be serious for a moment, I think that the boat has sailed on jokes about foreign nations and foreigners. Racism and bigotry have been ushered out while acceptance and multi-culturalism has been ushered in. It is my opinion that you probably shouldn't make jokes about countries at all. It's been done. Right here.

21 Comments:

At 5:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Australia are the best and funniest country in the world!
Full....Stop

 
At 4:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say Canada is the funniest country in the world. The majority of comedians are Canadian

 
At 2:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

australians have a very unique sense of humour which is similar to the british sense of humour but very different to what americans would call funny. i still believe though that australians are the funniest people on earth.

 
At 6:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I would have to agree that Australia probably are the funniest country in the world. There's just something about their dry humour which cracks everyone up. And it seems that Australians are always able to joke about each and every single nation in the world and its funny even to the nations that are being victimised. But then, when other countries try to joke about Australia it's just not funny...I wonder why Aussies are the only ones to get away with it?....

 
At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ireland are definitly the funniest country. It's just their ability to make absolutly anything funny

 
At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just look at all the greatest comedians in the World, they're all Canadian. I'd say that Canada would take the top spot as funniest country. Australians and the Irish have good senses of humour, but their comedians suck. As for the US, we lack in quality comedians compared to our population, our funniest is who? Dane Cook, and I find him plain annoying.

 
At 6:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure which is the funniest country in the world , but its clear that the idiot who wrote this article is a fu-cken Racist.

 
At 9:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is awesome. He's no racist, he's a genius.

http://www.shirtattic.com/designs/paraguay.jpg

 
At 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Irish could make a bucket unbelievably hilarious, the other person is right. Aussie humour is upbeat but too obvious. British humour is sharp but sour. Irish humour has a warm-heartedness that Jews or Brits could only hope for, accompanied with a left-of-center sharpness all their own. Dylan Moran, for example, is the funniest comedian alive. the Canadians? now you're bein funny. i lived with 3 Canadians ive never met such a bunch of drips. polite, over-serious drips. skiing and a mug of cocoa is whats on the beat there guys.

 
At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Australian Comedians are there? None, never heard of one in my life. Britain, Canada, USA are the funniest Countries in the World. That's where all the best Comedians are from, Billy Connoll, Robbin Williams, Steven Wright etc..

 
At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ive travelled the world sice i was a young boy with my parents and found that a lot of countries were funny in particular scotland in a city called glasgow you cant go in to a pub without laughing your head off in the first second england is not as funny as scotland but quite funny.I went to australia and yes id say that they were very funny but usually there way of speaking sounds so deliberate when they curse and nt so fluent

 
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At 3:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you have a point, but from the little man in the corner, you are wrong about nz. We have a beautiful green country and Australia has the best comedians the world has ever seen. You have forgotten, that comedic culture is often come from current events and overreaction. England is always there to be taken the piss from because of their hilarious varying accents and poor taste in football. But english are also great generous people don't get me wrong. And the 'almighty' USA is yet to be comedically assessed. Every time a kid has a backpack in public in the US it's 'hold the fuck up world this is a bomb scare.' America get the fuck over your fat arrogant asses. The Irish are even more hilarious than anything and the welsh can be at the peak of the insults, from the language to it's shadow under England and it's 'sheep shagging'. Ppl do say that nz is a sheep snagging country, but isn't new Zealand Lamb top shelf products around the world. Americans pay top dollar to enjoy a portion of our 'shagged' meat ;p

 
At 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Americans are so arogant. All of the UK regions- Scotland, Wales and England all have great senses of humour and so do the irish who i believe produce the best comedians. The best humour though would have to be that of Australia+NZ. Both have a mutaula understanding of each other and love to take the piss out of each other. The U.S think they have the best of everything but as far as humour is concerned, No thank you

 
At 7:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in America and don't think we have the best of everything. Take Obama for instance. Please!

 
At 11:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Canadian who lived in NZ for 12 years I saw that there were a lot of similarities between the two countries - both have a somewhat dry sense of humour, especially where their neighbours are concerned. One of the best jokes I heard in the early nineties was made by the then prime minister of NZ commenting on the free movement of workers between NZ and OZ. He said it increased the IQ of both countries!

 
At 2:10 AM, Blogger skoch1 said...

Funniest Nation in the World ???
Canada or, Canadians I should say, is the #1 hands down.
You've gotta have an incredibly twisted sense of humor to ellect a guy like stevie to run the country for next 4-5 years and believe in everything he says.
Congratulations Canadians !!!
You WON the title "The Funniest Nation in the World" (in my books, anyway).

 
At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Canadian's and Italians are the funniest because when you dont eat food in italy they are offended and alot of them start crying and there accents are funny. Canadians always say "eh?" at the end of there sentences and they have different humor than Americans because alot of you eat bacon but canadians make bacon so fuck off.

 
At 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think everybody names many funny countries because you haven't been in Chile. When you do you will be in the "laughing all day" country in the world.

 
At 2:09 AM, Blogger Dani said...

The U.S.A.'s #1, duh; hence why everyone watches what we do, while we continue to give zero shits about other countries. Canadian stand-up comics are funny, but that's cause they also march to the beat of our drums. Cause no one's internationally famous until they're Hollywood famous, or have you not noticed the trend? Also, their sense of humor's closer to ours, as opposed to the nonexistent one across the pond. It's a wonder anything we remake instantly stops sucking to the rest of the world. Australians are ok, never heard of a funny one, and the New Zealand accent is certainly a thing to laugh at. Yea we're arrogant, who wouldn't be? You hate to love us and love to hate us, but you can't beat our indifference, kiddies ;)

 

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