Strongest military, biggest economy... Now the U.S. has one more thing to chant "We're No. 1!" about, according to social media and dating site Badoo.com: World's funniest nation. According to 30,000 respondents in 15 countries, Americans are the best at making people laugh, followed by Spaniards and Italians. Canada didn't crack the top 10, and the least funny of the 15 nations was Germany. And much to the chagrin of London-based Badoo, Britons came in at No. 7. "I'm afraid that we don't find some of the results very funny," says Badoo marketing director Lloyd Price. Here, a brief guide to the rankings:
What exactly did Badoo ask?
Two questions: "Which nationality — excluding your own — do you feel is the funniest and/or best at making people laugh?" and "Which nationality do you feel is the LEAST funny and/or good at making people laugh?" The poll had about 2,000 respondents from each of the 15 countries surveyed.
What's so funny about Americans?
The U.S. can thank its entertainers for its top ranking. Thanks to TV shows like The Simpsons, Friends, and Seinfeld, plus a strong roster of comedians, America really is "the world's only comedy superpower," concedes Badoo's Price. "Even Obama is much funnier than any European leader." And remember, this isn't Americans tooting our own horn, says Katie Pavlich at Townhall. "The rest of the world has declared us the funniest." Go Team America!
Is Germany really so humorless?
Generations have thought so: Mark Twain once quipped that "a German joke is no laughing matter." But Germany's defenders say foreigners just don't get Germans' sense of humor, in part because their jokes don't translate well. Also, Germany's comedy tradition has its roots in a particular, esoteric style of 19th century cabaret, "mixing political satire and amusing songs," Badoo notes. But hey, "the Germans are brilliant at many things, including making cars and beating us [England] at football [soccer]," says Price.
Should Britons be insulted at their No. 7 showing?
The British "generally applaud themselves for their wit and sarcasm," so they aren't taking this well, says Alyson Krueger at TIME. Nor should they, says Austin Johansen in Death + Taxes. The deadpan Britons "have been comedic pioneers for generations," and I'd imagine Monty Python's "John Cleese and friends are choking on their tea" somewhere. I mean, France beat them? That alone is proof that "the entire survey is seriously flawed," says Lester Haines at The Register.
Are these results believable?
Well, "lest we all get big-headed about our top-notch comedy scene" in America, says Richard Lawson at Gawker, remember we were only up against 14 mostly-European nations. "So this really does not say much about the comedy stylings of various African and Asian nations." Badoo should poll a little wider next time. "I mean, America will still win. We always do. But it's more satisfying when there's more competition."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How I lost all my money
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- 10 things you need to know today: December 20, 2014
- Pope Francis' American problem
- Vox, derp, and the intellectual stagnation of the left
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- A brief history of the Christmas present
Subscribe to the Week