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On most days here in England, I somehow end up quoting Family Guy or Anchorman back and forth with my English friends.
It’s easy to assume that all of American pop culture translates across the pond. After all, we share a common language, for starters. Most of the films playing at the cinema are American, Comedy Central UK plays Friends and South Park all day long, and clubs play Lady Gaga and LMFAO all night long.
But despite all that, there’s a gap — a comedy gap.
I first noticed it with Saturday Night Live. The only SNL sketches that make it across the pond are the occasional Lonely Island song. I mentioned “More Cowbell” in passing, and Dave didn’t have a clue what I was talking about.
“We are watching More Cowbell RIGHT NOW!” I cried. I sat down Dave and his brothers and after some avid Googling, pulled up More Cowbell on Funny or Die.
This 12-year-old SNL sketch has been done to death in America. You can buy More Cowbell t-shirts, More Cowbell mugs, even More Cowbell socks. Every year at Halloween, some guy is dressed up as the More Cowbell guy. Even Will Ferrell did it again, bringing a cowbell to Conan’s final episode of The Tonight Show.
BUT — to the Brits, this is completely new. I played the sketch for the three guys and watched them nearly fall over in heaving, gasping laughter. Watching them laugh until they were red-faced and teary-eyed was its own reward.
That’s how it was when WE saw it for the first time.
Since then, I’ve made it my mission to share as many funny videos from America as possible to my British friends.
Here it is:
Adventurous Kate’s Guide to Contemporary American Culture and Humor
More Cowbell — The original and best.
Pants on the Ground — One of the best — and most surprising — American Idol auditions of all time.
Antoine Dodson — Hide yo kids, hide yo wife. Is there a better rags to riches story than Antoine Dodson? After this video went viral, it turned into a remix that became a bestselling iTunes song. Then, later, he appeared at the BET Hip-Hop Awards — with the audience singing along with him.
Two Worlds Collide — Of all the Lonely Island digital shorts on SNL, this is the weirdest, and I think my favorite. This is one that didn’t cross the pond.
The Interrupter — One of Conan’s best recurring bits on Late Night. I LOVE THE INTERRUPTER!!
The Leprechaun of Mobile, Alabama — Required viewing on St. Patrick’s Day each year, and one of the most random news reports of all time.
What is a…? — Even Alex Trebek can’t keep his composure on this one.
Hamm and Buble — Another SNL sketch, Jon Hamm and Michael Buble have opened a restaurant with an unusual theme.
Well, this page is an excellent way to waste a lot of time, but I do hope you pass it on to your non-American friends. You’ll love watching them laugh!
9 thoughts on “Bringing More Cowbell to the UK”
Hilarious – did you see the pants on the ground version in the finale??
Have they seen D**k in a box???? Equally culturally important, I say. Sorry in advance if it gets stuck in your head for days.
It’s fascinating to see what humor makes it over and what doesn’t. I would think that most of the time it’s based on differing humor styles, but from your account it sounds like they thought the cowbell skit was hilarious. Have you shown Brits any American humor that you loved but they either didn’t get or didn’t think was funny?
This is a great list– and I happen not to have seen half of them before! I’m really bad with US pop culture… and this makes me realize I’ve been missing out!
i dont get the leprehaun video….. and im irish living in ireland!!!! please explain, love love love anything with will ferrell! and ive been addicted to fun or die a long time now :0)
Haha, what a great collection of hilarious videos! I had almost forgotten about Pants on the Ground.
I’m with Ava, though, wondering what they think of “D*ck in a Box” — I’ll never forget the first time my parents saw that video (which was only like a year ago; I have no idea where they’ve been! Lol).
Ahahah I know what you mean, there’s tons of stuff my English mates don’t get from the Simpsons, Family Guy and various Will Ferrell films.
Antoine Dodson! So many memes make sense to me now!!!!
Although to be honest, the Cowbell thing didn’t do it for me. Have you seen MadTV’s “Can I have your number?” skit?
“Oh Yvonne? Hold up. That’s a French-ass name, Yvonne!” haha!
These are hilarious thanks!