J and I had tickets for Jeff Dunham’s show “Spark of Insanity” on Thursday night. OMG! It was absolutely hilarious.
It is unbelievably hard to get tickets for his shows. They sell out pretty quickly and I got lucky last fall when I found out that his tickets would go on sale a couple of days later. I logged onto Ticketmaster at 10 a.m. sharp on that day, just to find out that all tickets for the first 20 rows were already gone. WTH?
I still got floor seat tickets which – if the show takes place in a sports arena – is pretty good. You don’t want to sit all the way up in the blocks just below the ceiling. Arco Arena is an especially steep arena which does not make a good venue for stage performances, if you ask me, but oh well.
The show itself was absolutely fantastic. Jeff Dunham is a ventriloquist and a genius. The way he argues with himself through his puppets is brilliant. I haven’t laughed that much in a long time! Do you know that feeling when you actually have to start rubbing your cheeks because the laughter is becoming too much to bear? THAT’s what it felt like.
If you don’t know Jeff Dunham, you have to check him out on youtube.com. I promise, you won’t regret it.
You know, understanding comedy in a foreign language is real hard. It’s not only about the language barrier that needs to be overcome with time, but also about “common knowledge”.
I never realized how much people are influenced and shaped by the environment they grow up in. Comedy makes use of that environment constantly and so it’s not surprising that by the time I had pretty much overcome the language barrier, I was still going “huh?” in obvious despair half of the time, because I still didn’t get the jokes. I got every single word that came out of the comedians’ mouths, but I could not for the life of me make sense of it or even find it funny.
Until I realized: it has nothing to do with language, but all to do with culture and environment.
Daily life is often the basis on which comedians built their shows and funnily enough, even if it doesn’t seem so different superficially, daily life in different countries/cultures is VERY different.
Comedians make connections or refer to people/events/situations that you might have NO idea of if you grew up somewhere else. It’s literally impossible to even catch up on all the references that are made in comedy.
I mean, for crying out loud, do you (Germans) know how many jokes had to be “changed” or completely omitted by dubbing the Simpsons? It’s virtually impossible to dub comedy.
Of course, there are generic jokes that will work in every language, but most of the best and subtle jokes will only work and be understood, if you grew up within the same culture from which the jokes originated.
With time (and J’s tireless patience to explain) I have come to understand, I would say about 90% of foreign comedy. Some of it isn’t even funny after J explained it to me, but I at least understand the connection that was made.
In return, J will never fully appreciate and understand “Loriot“- my favorite German Comedian (who will turn, oh only, 86 this year) – which makes me a tiny bit sad, but that obviously comes with the different cultural backgrounds of bi-national relationships.
On the other hand, there are a lot of good things that we “get” from having different cultural backgrounds. I guess in the end, we get the best of both worlds ;)