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Irish Humor

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Irish Humor

  1. 1. 1 Irish Humor By Don and Alleen Nilsen
  2. 2. WARNING ABOUT IRISH HUMOR, TABOOS, AND CENSORSHIP In selecting examples of Irish humor we have tried to be edgy, but not offensive, but consider the following: CENSORSHIP FROM THE RIGHT: Blasphemy, Obscenity, Profanity, Swear Words, Vulgarity, Mention of Body Parts, and Body Functions CENSORSHIP FROM THE LEFT (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS): Age, Disabilities, Gender, Ethnicity, Belief System, and all other marginalizations. Ethnic humor tends to be in the vernacular. It is colloquial, and ungrammatical and unpretentious, but it is also often “vulgar” because it is in the language of the common people (compare “Vulgar Latin”). We’ve tried not to use offensive examples, and we hope we have succeeded, but remember that what is not offensive to one person might be very offensive to another person. We apologize in advance if any of our examples are offensive. 2
  3. 3. Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+edgar+bergen+and+charlie+mc 3
  4. 4. Des Bishop Des Bishop: “Irish Women are Always Freezing”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+des+bishop&view=detail&mid= 4
  5. 5. Jason Byrne Jason Byrne at the Apollo: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+jason+byrne&view=detail&mid 5
  6. 6. Louis CK Louis CK “Saturday Night Live”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+louis+ck+saturday+night+live& 6
  7. 7. Stephen Colbert Stephen Colbert: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+stephen+colbert&view=detail& 7
  8. 8. Eoin Colfer and the Artemis Fowl Books 8
  9. 9. Artemis Fowl is an Irish Rogue The Irish Rogue is not a criminal, but he is very bright and charismatic. And he is subversive. Artemis Fowl is a typical Irish Rogue, in the tradition of Christy Mahon in John Synge’s Playboy of the Western World, Mr. Boyle in Sean O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock, of Finn MacCool in James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, and of Sebastian Dangerfield in J. P. Donleavy’s The Ginger Man. Jonathan Swift was even being a bit roguish when he wrote “A Modest Proposal.” 9
  10. 10. Rogues are revered in Ireland, because it was the Rogues who fought back when the English were taking over Ireland. Rogues break rules and laws, but it is always for the greater good, as when Artemis steals some fairy gold to help rescue his father from the Russian mafia. Rogues are entertaining and high spirited, and they diffuse violence with their use of humor. Although they are flirtatious, they seldom form any lasting alliances with women. 10
  11. 11. Many rogues are linked to an aristocratic figure, usually an Irish rebel chief, for whom he risks his life. The ‘rogue’ is articulate, good natured, fun loving, and [exhibits an] irrepressible élan vital, Rogues tend to be imaginative and resilient comic figures. 11
  12. 12. Neil Delamere Neil Delamere at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+neil+delamere&view=detail&mi 12
  13. 13. Mary Dowling Daley and Pat Fairon 13
  14. 14. Chris Farley Chris Farley “Ten Best Moments”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+chris+farley&view=detail&mid= 14
  15. 15. Will Farrell Will Farrell Accepting His “Mark Twain” Award: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+will+farrell&view=detail&mid=8 15
  16. 16. Gallagher Gallagher “The English Language”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Gallagher+Full+Show+YouTube&&view= 16
  17. 17. Kathy Griffin Kathy Griffin on the “Craig Ferguson Show”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+kathy+griffin&view=detail&mid 17
  18. 18. Rich Hall Rich Hall “Live at the Apollo”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+rich+hall&view=detail&mid=301 18
  19. 19. Bob Hope Bob Hope “The Secret Life of Bob Hope” on “Biography”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+bob+hope&view=detail&mid=0 19
  20. 20. 20 James Joyce The character Shem in Finnegans Wake takes the English language and “smashes it up into smithereens, and hands it back and says: This is our revenge.” Shem boasts that he will “wipe alley english spooker, or multiphoniaksically spuking off the face of the erse.” James Joyce remarked that if Dublin were ever destroyed, it could be recreated from the pages of his fiction.
  21. 21. Joan Larson Kelly 21
  22. 22. Denis Leary Denis Leary on the “Craig Ferguson Show”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Denis+Leary+YouTube+2014&&view=de 22
  23. 23. Aubrey Malone 23
  24. 24. John McCarthy 24
  25. 25. Melissa McCarthy Melissa McCarthy on “The Ellen Degeneres Show”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+melissa+mccarthy&view=detai 25
  26. 26. Seth MacFarlane Seth MacFarlane and his Family-Guy Voices: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+seth+macfarlane&view=detail& 26
  27. 27. Joel McHale Joel McHale on the “Conan O’Brien Show”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+joel+mchale&view=detail&mid= 27
  28. 28. Dylan Moran Dylan Moran: “Australia”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+dylan+moran&view=detail&mid 28
  29. 29. John Mulrooney John Mulrooney “Throwing a baby downstairs”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+john+mulrooney&view=detail& 29
  30. 30. Don Nilsen’s Take on Humor in Irish Literature 30
  31. 31. Dara O’Briain Dara O’Briain: “Science Doesn’t Know Everything”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+dara+o%27briain&view=detail& 31
  32. 32. Conan O’Brien Conan O’Brien: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+conan+o+brien&view=detail&m 32
  33. 33. David O’Doherty David O’Doherty on the “Conan O’Brien Show”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+david+o%27doherty&view=deta 33
  34. 34. Rosie O’Donnell Rosie O’Donnell on “The View”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+rosie+o%27donnell+the+view& 34
  35. 35. Ardal O’Hanlon Ardal O’Hanlon “Comedy Roadshow”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+ardal+o%27hanlon&view=detai 35
  36. 36. Colin Quinn Colin Quinn “The New York Story”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search? q=youtube+colin+quinn&view=detail&mid=BA1DCAB4D43E937EE1C2BA1 DCAB4D43E937EE1C2&FORM=VIRE 36
  37. 37. Katherine Ryan Katherine Ryan: http://www.bing.com/videos/search? q=youtube+katheine+ryan&view=detail&mid=7FA66CB8EB1A7431836A7F A66CB8EB1A7431836A&FORM=VIRE 37
  38. 38. Micky Shaughnessy Micky Shaughnessy “Baseball Sketch”: http://www.bing.com/videos/search? q=youtube+micky+shaughnessy&view=detail&mid=AA6A71A94539E5D7D DD1AA6A71A94539E5D7DDD1&FORM=VIRE 38
  39. 39. Tommy Tiernan Tommy Tiernan: “Who do we owe money to?” http://www.bing.com/videos/search? q=youtube+tommy+tiernan&view=detail&mid=CA5446BF86E0BD3EB911C A5446BF86E0BD3EB911&FORM=VIRE 39
  40. 40. Steven Wright Steven Wright: http://www.bing.com/videos/search? q=irish+comedians&view=detail&mid=B5E2067473650DCD1EA0B5E20674 73650DCD1EA0&FORM=VIRE 40
  41. 41. Irish Humor at 2014 Correspondents’ Dinner: https://www.bing.com/videos/search? q=youtube+ethnic+humor&&view=detail&mid=DCFEBC474E634ED025 06DCFEBC474E634ED02506&rvsmid=794806B23EE17ACF7308794806 B23EE17ACF7308&fsscr=-3300&FORM=VDFSRV 41
  42. 42. 42 Irish Humor • Since Irish humor developed out of the oral tradition (the telling of jokes and stories in Irish pubs), it is very epiphenal in nature. • Like Jewish humor, Irish humor developed out of pain and tragedy that came from the Irish diaspora. • Irish humor, like Jewish humor, contains much wordplay, and like Jewish humor, much of Irish wordplay is bilingual and/or bicultural, relating to both the Gaelic/Celtic and to the English language and culture. • There are many Irish people around the world who are trying to reestablish their roots, and it is the humor in Irish written and oral literature that is helping them do so.
  43. 43. 43 Irish Logic • The Ballyhough railway station had two clocks that disagreed with each other by six minutes. • An irate traveler asked a porter what was the use of having two clocks if they didn’t tell the same time. • The porter replied, “And what would we be wanting with two clocks if they told the same time?” • Based on this story, Martin Joos wrote a monograph entitled, The Five Clocks describing the Frozen, Formal, Consultative, Informal, and Intimate registers of language.
  44. 44. The Gaeltacht: The Green Areas Below: 44
  45. 45. 45 Irish Folklore • County Mayo in the Gaeltacht is remote from tourism. • There are the remains of prehistoric forests and fairy mounds in the peat-bogs. • People talk of ancestors as if they were neighbors, and of three-hundred-year-old events as if they happened yesterday.
  46. 46. 46
  47. 47. 47 Kissing the Blarney Stone • To kiss the Blarney stone you must climb to the top of Blarney Castle. • In order to kiss the Blarney stone, the visitor has to lie on his back and be lowered head downwards over the edge of the wall. • Someone has to hold onto the ankles of the visitor so that they won’t slip off the edge of the castle. • It’s hard to know whether kissing the stone gives someone the gift of elegance, • Or if the entire process is “a bit of the blarney.”
  48. 48. 48 Irish Blarney • Irishmen have the “gift of gab.” • This comes from kissing the Blarney stone at Blarney Castle in County Cork. • It is said that Queen Elizabeth tried to get Cormac MacCarthymore (occupier of Blarney Castle at the time) to surrender his castle to the English. • He said he would do so, but he kept giving her reasons that he couldn’t do it yet. • The queen is said to have exclaimed, “It’s all Blarney—he says he will do it, but he never means to do what he says.”
  49. 49. 49 An “Irish Talker” • Terry Wogan on BBC is an “Irish Talker.” • His language is mocking and self-deprecating. He plays with words, attacks his superiors, and “gets his boot in.” • “You could accuse him of really saying very little, which again is very Irish.”
  50. 50. 50 Irish words in English • Banshee (fairy woman) comes from “bean” (woman) and “sí” (fairy) • Keening (wailing) comes from “caoine” (wail) • Galore (much) • Brogue (wooden shoe). The Irish were said to speak with a shoe in their mouth, hence, their “Irish Brogue.” • Sheila & youse are both Irish words. • “Shenanigan” comes from “sionnachuighim” (I play tricks) • “Smithereens” comes from “smideirin” (a small fragment) • “Shanty” comes from “sean-tigh” (old house)
  51. 51. 51 More Irish Influence • The Irish use “shall” for “will” • They say “seen” for “saw” • and “She is in the school.” • and “belave, jine, and applesass” instead of “believe,” “join,” and “applesauce.” • And “tree” “airly” and “dat” for “three” “early” and “that” • And the Irish “youse” is typical in the speech of Irish cops in New York and Boston.
  52. 52. 52 Scouse • Many people from Dublin moved to Liverpool in England • The Irish accent of Liverpool is known as Scouse and it has an adenoidal quality and many rising inflections. • Scouse is the dialect of The Beatles.
  53. 53. 53 English Royalty in Ireland • In 1171 Henry II and his Anglo-Norman knights landed in Ireland and began the English domination of Ireland. • Anne, Elizabeth I, Oliver Cromwell & James I all imposed English rule over Ireland. • Satirist Alexander Pope wrote: – Here thou, great Anna! Whom three realms obey, – Dost sometimes counsel take—and sometimes Tea.
  54. 54. 54 The Battle of the Boyne, 1690 • In 1690, King William III defeated the Roman Catholic forces of old Ireland. • This gave victory to the Orange over the Green. • After this, the Anglo-Irish ruling class developed. It was known as the “ascendency.” • The “Republicans” were not part of the “ascendency” because they believed in the “Republic of Ireland.” • But the Irish Catholics still use the city name of Derry instead of using the protestant name of Londonderry, as in the song entitled “Londonderry Aire.”
  55. 55. 55 Ireland: The Celtic Fringe
  56. 56. 56 Irish-English in 1800
  57. 57. 57 Irish as a Receding Language
  58. 58. 58 Irish Settlements in the “New World” • Newfoundland, Canada (the earliest settlement) • Barbados, Carribean (Oliver Cromwell used it as an internment camp for prisoners taken during his battles in Ireland) • Montserrat, was known as “the emerald isle of the Caribbean.” • Australia (in 1851, 30 % were Irish)
  59. 59. 59 Australia as an Irish Penal Colony • One Irish convict girl is said to have served her statutory seven years and returned to Dublin. • But she then committed another crime in order to return to Australia at the government’s expense.
  60. 60. 60 The Irish Potato Famine • Potatoes were the staple of the Irish diet, and the potato crops failed for several years. • Hunger and hardship drove the Irish into exile. They fled their homes by the millions. • They went to England, Australia & the U.S.
  61. 61. 61 Irish Diaspora
  62. 62. 62 • The Irish children who stayed in Ireland were mocked and humiliated if they spoke Gaelic. • They were punished with wooden gags. • They were forced to wear weekly tally sticks with notches for every Gaelic expression. • At the end of the week, the schoolmaster would tally the notches and administer the appropriate punishment.
  63. 63. 63 The Irish Revival • Today, Gaelic is taught in Irish schools as a second language. • Irish politicians are now expected to use a “cúpla focal” (couple of Gaelic words) to revive their Celtic past. • J. M. Synge, Sean O’Casey, James Joyce, W. B. Yeats and the Trinity Theatre in Dublin are all involved in the Irish revival. • For example, Synge’s Playboy of the Western World, and Joyce’s “The Dead” are about the revival.
  64. 64. The Irish have made very important contributions to the field of humor studies. Here are just a few examples. 64
  65. 65. Jonathan Swift (né Dublin 1667) • Swift detested vogue words, especially when they crept into church. • He said that young preachers use all the modern terms of art, sham, banter, mob, bubble, bully, cutting, shuffling and palming. • Compare today’s William Safire, who has the largest mail bag of the New York Times. 65
  66. 66. 66 J. M. Synge & the Irish Revival • To make Playboy of the Western World authentic, Synge would listen at a chink in the floor of the old Wicklow house and eavesdrop on what was being said by the servant girls in the kitchen. • Following is a synopses of the story: – Christy Mahon, A Connaught man, killed his father with a blow of a spade, and then fled to an Aran island and threw himself on the mercy of the natives.
  67. 67. 67 • Christy was a “rogue.” Even though a reward was offered for his capture, the natives on the island hid him in a hole and he was later shipped to America. • But as the play goes on, the audience comes to realize that the whole story is a bit of the blarney, and the speech of Christy, Pegeen, and the Widow Quin become emblematic of Irish exaggeration and story telling. • In fact, Christy’s father turns out to be alive, but the Widow Quin, who is so involved in the story, makes out that the father is mad for claiming that Christy is his son.
  68. 68. 68 Irish Authors • Edmund Spenser (c1554-1599) – The Faerie Queene • Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) – Gulliver’s Travels – A Modest Proposal • William Congreve (1670-1729) – The Way of the World • Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) – The Rivals • Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) – The Importance of Being Earnest – The Picture of Dorian Gray
  69. 69. 69 • William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) – Treasury of Irish Poetry • J. M. Synge (1871-1909) – Playboy of the Western World • George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) – Pygmalion  My Fair Lady • James Joyce (1882-1941) – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – Ulysses – The Dubliners – Finnegans Wake • Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) – Waiting for Godot Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) – “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
  70. 70. Irish Humor BRENDAN GRACE: “IRISH HUMOUR”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DT0FFSlF5_w IRISH SENSE OF HUMOR: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=u_37A8vbmK8 70

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