My humor isn’t from here. And it’s male.

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image by Hubbe (website and comics in German)

Sometimes I’m sitting together with friends, having a good time and then my mouth opens, I say something funny and everybody stops doing whatever they were doing and start staring at me instead. And then there’s this silence, you know, that particular silence that, if my life was a movie, would be illustrated by a long shot, accompanied by the sound of crickets. So, not funny then? The first person who speaks after an incident like this usually says something along the lines of “You can’t say something like that.” Well, I just did, so I assume I can.

My partner, the Scotsman, says I have a wonderful, refreshing, non-German humor. This might be the problem. Most of my friends are German (as am I) but my humor is an Ausländer. And male. See, I’m not saying that Germans don’t have any humor. It is just a special kind of humor, politically correct, bold enough to sell tickets but not so bold that you might seriously insult anyone. It’s a nice humor, people who are more evil than me might say it’s boring. Which is true. Looking for dead pan humor in a German comedian’s routine? Look somewhere else.

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image by Michal Marcol/freedigitalphotos.net

Here is a list of things that you shouldn’t make jokes about while you’re in Germany:

  • people with a skin colour that is different from your own
  • disabled people
  • death
  • war (especially when it’s about a war that we lost)
  • sex (applies only for rooms filled with people of both sexes; men in a room full of men and women in a room full of women may tell any joke they like about sex)
  • addicted people
  • sick people
  • gay people
  • people from another country
  • religion

(Some people do it anyways but they usually have to justify themselves in talk shows afterwards and whatnot.)

There is even a (w)hole state here in Germany where the people are simply incapable of understanding irony. “Oh, did you clear out the dishwasher?” – “Well, no, those tiny little elves came along and they put the dishes away and even mopped the floor while they were at it.” …silence…

I have no idea what the reasons for this lack of ‘proper’ humor are. Maybe we have too much angst to insult somebody. Maybe we are afraid that the joke might be on us in return, and laughing about ourselves…what a preposterous idea! We are hard working, orderly and serious people with schedules to keep and lists to check. Every joke about the differences between men and women, thrown into the crowd at a party by some poor guy who had a couple of beers will end up in a discussion about gender equality, led by some girl who studies sociology and wants to become a professional feminist and full time member of femen. Take this, you silly moose:

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