British Humor as I Have Known It

I like British humor. My favorite British show in recent years is Upstart Crow and I keep hoping there will be a fourth season, but it’s not looking good. Upstart Crow is a very irreverent look at the Old Bard who was sometimes a bit of a wankington.

My all-time favorite is probably Father Ted. The premise is that all the really bad Irish priests are exiled to small islands. The two main characters of Fr. Ted are (no surprise) Father Ted and a young priest, Father Dougal. There’s also a drunken, lecherous, insane priest, Father Jack.

Of course, in the dim mists of time, there was Monty Python’s Flying Circus and the subsequent films.

The world recently lost one of the Pythons, Terry Jones. Not only a brilliant comic, but a brilliant medievalist. It wasn’t until I became a medievalist myself that I realized how authentic Monty Python and the Holy Grail is in so many ways — the political philosophy of medieval village life, the injuries caused by hand-held weapons, the absurdity of courtly love, the dramatic notion of male courage, forests fraught with danger, the persistence of magic, the power of the Grail. Now I get it. Reality is makes comedy funny.