Many French people like Benny Hill and I haven’t found anyone who doesn’t like Mr. Bean. Slapstick, Mr Pastry and clowns are forms of humour Brits associate with our childhood. I like to start an English lesson with a joke. It gives a good indication of people’s level of understanding. The person who laughs first obviously understands the narrative and the punch line. Then, I ask that person to explain to the others why it was funny. During one lesson with a group of mature adult business men, there were 10 minutes left. I told a few of my best jokes and then asked if they had any. I will never repeat the exercise! Their jokes were not the sort that I could or would ever want to repeat! One comic film we love is ‘Bienvenue chez les ch’tis’. It tells the story of a post office manager from the south who dearly wants a transfer to the coast to please his wife. His efforts to secure it result in him getting a transfer to the north of France. The film highlights the stereotypical ideas the southerners have about northerners. It is hilarious. We make all of our guests watch it. However, in the follow-up film ‘Rien À Dèclarer’, the fine line between patriotism and racism is crossed far too many times for us, well indoctrinated, ‘politically correct’ Brits to feel totally comfortable when watching it. British people tell Irish jokes; French people tell the same jokes against the Belgians.

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