Apr 11, 2008, 9:36 PM
Post #14 of 17
Re: [JoanneMerriam] Canadian humour
[In reply to]
Bill, the inability to understand deadpan humour is only one reason why the rest of Canada hates Upper Canadians (i.e. people from Ontario).
Is that a joke?
Actually, I am not sure which way you are pointing this observation. Is it because "Upper Canadians" cannot understand deadpan humour that they are hated, or because other Canadians do not understand the deadpan humour of Upper Canadians? I have not met any Canadians, yet (and I have been coming to Canada for nearly forty years, a real lot in the last decade and a half, and for extended periods of time going on 7 years), who are into what I would call "deadpan" humour. Slapstick seems popular. Puns are rampant. Around Toronto and Hamilton/Cambridge/Guelph (another area where I have spent more than a bit of time) there is a lot of NYer style humour, you know the style, comes in biting, urbane flavors typical of North Am large urban areas. Anything approaching deadpan, however, seems to tip into farce. I suppose one might say the humour in "Corner Gas" (now cancelled) includes a form of deadpan, but too obvious, too direct, and thus more slapstick or farce, than what I think of as deadpan (which to me has a bearing of dead serious, unless one thinks about it, and then, uhh, duh, wry smile or a wince depending on how bad the humour really is).
My experience with humour in Nova Scotia, visiting with my wife's family in Shelburne (years ago, long before we married), was baffling. They were too funny -- I had cracked a rib the night before visiting, and while I had no idea how to label or categorize their humour, they were making me writhe in pain from uncontrollable laughing. Was not fair.
I am in Ontario, but Northwestern Ontario is a world apart from the GTA, and at least regionally different than the rest of "Southern Ontario" (Windsor to Niagara, and including the GTA) . . . this is isolated (even if I am in a town of a hundred thousand . . . there is no other city, of any size, however, for hundreds of miles in any direction . . . none this side of Moscow if one goes north from here), mills and wilderness on the "Shield" along the north shore of Lake Superior. I love the local culture. Our North of Superior Film Association is among the best for bringing in foreign and independent films (just had our annual fest end of March . . . I saw 11 of the 18 films in four days, out of a possible 13 screening times). I love being able to wear jeans to the best restaurants in town (that does not make them any less expensive than fine restaurants elsewhere . . . indeed, more expensive than the States by a substantial margin). But it is like being from Western or Central NY . . . whenever I went anywhere, people assumed I was from NY City (which I have not been to since 1983), and even now, when I present my NY drivers license, people jump to the conclusion I am either from NY City or have spent a lot of time there. Nope. I haven't, not since a few visits in the early 70s and one more in '83. And it is the same when one says they live in "Northwestern Ontario." All anyone hears is "Ontario" with visions of the CN Tower, Skydome, St. Catherines, Ottawa, and London. Different world.
For now, my wife stomps my foot if I slip and start uttering what I think is humour. She is right, of course. Almost no none gets it.