Accents eh, bro?

Why are some accents funny?

The Australians find the Irish accent hilarious.  Half of Ireland holds down steady jobs doing comedy here. But I bet the Scots don’t laugh at them. I’m told the Americans cack themselves at the Canadians. ‘Aboot aboot!’ Similarly, I fear the amusement is not mutual.

I just spent a couple of weeks spinning comedy gold out of the most minor differences in pronunciation, in New Zealand.

Hearing them say:

‘the fush and chups are un the chully bun’

is funny, even on the thousandth time. Flight of the Conchords is an international media sensation propped up on a funny accent.

Our charming hosts, of course, took the piss back, including making fun of our i’s, e’s and oo’s. I couldn’t hear the differences in that last one, which was interesting. My other observation re: the New Zealand accent is that they have much much better diction and enunciation than we do. Turns out that hearing every syllable and the final consonant in a word can bring the lols too.

Over time, as they consistently made fun of our sharp i’s, it became even funnier to hear them mock us. ‘Sweeeming?‘ They would ask, when we went past a swimming pool. ‘Oh Sheeet! I forgot my sweeemers!   Put your beeer in the freeedge.‘   Before long, doing a Kiwi doing an Aussie accent became the very last word in comedy.

One important ingredient in the comedy soup is to have only a small distance between the voices. Noone’s laughing at hearing a Kenyan’s accent. Maybe it has to do with small cultural differences too. But that’s not the only thing:

French. ‘A leetle beet. Ooh la la! Zis eediot ‘as no idea ow ze franch accent ees!

English. Not funny. Except the northerners.

South African. Hilarious, especially when used for evil.

Melbourne’s ‘wog’ accent.  Funny.  see: the films and TV: Acropolis Now, the Wog Boy, Pizza, Swift and Shift.

Americans: not funny, just ubiquitous.

Why is it so? How can the American accent be so drab? What accents have made you laugh? What have I missed? Do you think what you find funny actually depends on your own accent?

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Thomas the Think Engine is the blog of a trained economist. It comes to you from Melbourne Australia.

2 thoughts on “Accents eh, bro?”

  1. German! “Turns out that hearing every syllable and the final consonant in a word can bring the lols too”

    For fun, try saying 15,555 in German.


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