Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Just wondering, do the French have a sense of humor?

Just wondering, do the French have a sense of humor?

Old Apr 9th, 2006, 11:55 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,440
Just wondering, do the French have a sense of humor?

I am not trying to be a smart aleck. Honest. I love flying to new places and finding the mutual funny bone. One of the most humorous of people I have found, are the Japanese. They love to laugh. And seem to love silly stuff. It is such a special moment, IMO, to share a good laugh with a stranger...they are a stranger no more, IMO.

I don't hear much about the French having a funny bone. But, they must have, given all the talk about the French loving Jerry Lewis and all.

I ask because we are going on our first trip to Paris at the end of April. I love to laugh, as does my DH. Is there a funny side to the French that people just don't talk about because there are so many other qualities that they possess?

Hope I am not offending anyone by asking, but I am really curious. I appreciate the politeness and all, but do they like to have a good laugh now and then?
Heavens is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 12:03 PM
  #2  
Neopolitan
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Do Americans have a sense of humor?
Some do and some don't.

Do the French have a sense of humor?
Some do and some don't.

You can elaborate on that if you want, but I've basically said all that needs to be said. Sure, some French have a great sense of humor. Some don't.
 
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 12:51 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 41,966
My French friends do!!
Some of my American don't
cigalechanta is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 12:52 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 538
It's simply not possible for a society that purports to be committed to liberty, equality and fraternity to have an unelected, unaccountable, toff like de Villepin as PM unless that society's got a sense of humour as huge as a "Spamalot" waiting list.

OTOH, the French can find something to laugh at in Jerry Lewis. Which is incompatible with a sense of humour.
CotswoldScouser is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 12:55 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 538
PS: The French also brought us Marcel Marceau. The prosecution rests.

Any society that produces mime artists has a complete humour bypass.
CotswoldScouser is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 01:02 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 6,260
I thought Margaret T. was an absolutely fab "mime artist" and was even better at lip synching Ronald Reagan.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 01:05 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 373
Yes, they must, because in the war museum in Paris they have all Napoleons wars depicted in Mosaic tiles in the floor except for Waterloo, we got a good laugh out of that. They only show the wars he won.
weasel is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 01:09 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
"It's simply not possible for a society that purports to be committed to liberty, equality and fraternity to have an unelected, unaccountable, toff like de Villepin as PM unless that society's got a sense of humour as huge as a "Spamalot" waiting list."

I think this statement holds true for the United States under the Bush Administration today.
Robert2533 is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 01:09 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,016
They have their own sense of humour. That is, whatever they admire in Jerry Lewis, it is not that they find him funny the way Americans do.

That isn't to say there wouldn't be common humorous ground, but it can be a minefield.

I dare say there are similar divergences between, say, Manhattan and
Salt Lake City humour..
PatrickLondon is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 01:16 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 559
Several years ago while in Paris we stopped at a coffee bar which is located in Galleries Lafayette. I was enjoying a cappicino. A few minutes later this little old lady next to me whispered in my ear "Madam mustashes belong on the men" We are still cracking up over this.
Suzanne2 is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 01:17 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,121
Watch a DVD of sketches of Les Inconnus, or watch films like Les Bronzés, Les Visiteurs, etc.

I like French humor much better than British humor. British humor is extremely cynical and self-deprecating, and it becomes tiring and depressing after a while.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 01:29 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 48,368
Wit, satire, and sarcasm are much more typically French than what most Americans consider humor, in my experience, at least in the type of encounters a visitor's like to have:

http://www.anythingmatters.com/archi.../guardian.html

That said,with my French friends and neighbors, it's not at all uncommon to have spontaeneous fits of giggles or just a good old chuckle about the same types of things that would spark that reaction on the other side of the ocean.
StCirq is online now  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 02:19 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 380
"Wit, satire, and sarcasm are much more typically French than what most Americans consider humor"


this remember me that I've been warned privately by an american in an international chat-room. Something along "I'm acustomed to french humor, so I understand it was a joke, but you shouldn't use this kind of humor here. People are going to take it prima facie, will consider it cruel and won't get it's a joke, nor believe you if you say it was. Ease up on sarcasm, here".
clairobscur is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 02:39 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 80
One needs only to rent a few good French movies. There are so many.
rhmuir is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 02:45 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 41,966
When on the flight to Paris in March I saw a very funny new Gerard Departdieu film, "Olé."
cigalechanta is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 03:00 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,286
Don't you think that different nationalities have different senses of humor or find different things funny? I think it is cultural differences, or the way we are brought up and experiences.
Ronda is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 03:12 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,820
Thanks for the web site St.Cirq the article was quite interesting and it gave quite a good description of how some the French look at humour.I laughed reading about the shark incident..Typical French reaction.

Dont get me wrong, I love France, my sister is married to a Frenchman and some of my favourite's cousins and nieces are French.
kismetchimera is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 03:13 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,820
Please Omit "some"
kismetchimera is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 03:21 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,336
A few years ago, my husband and I were eating at a tiny bistro in the 6th when a mouse ran under my chair. We frantically called over the waiter and without a trace of seriousness, he said, "But Madame. That is not a mouse. It is a cat!"

Do the French have a sense of humor?! I rest my case...
Weadles is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2006, 03:25 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 41,966
There was a boojk by Pierre Daninois, called something like Major Thompsons trophies but made into a film by Preston Sturges in the 50's called, "the French, They are a funny race." This I was remembering today when I was googling a B&B and found one that used an expression I found a few years ago before I knew what it meant.
When asking for th English translation
I found through the years "FARTS ACCEPTED. " It means PETS !!!
cigalechanta is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO