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The reason British humor is so distinctive is the drastic separation between classes. Royalty and nobles and wealthy bankers, peasants and drudges and maids. The sort of humor that is instantly identified as 'British' comes from two sources, and I think I can give you lovely mental images of both.
First, picture a butler making subtle snide comments that he wouldn't dare phrase any bolder but that had all the other servants giggling when the master of the house wasn't paying attention.
Second, picture a housewife having a cup of tea in her kitchen while six tigers are stapled to the ceiling. She's relaxed, happy, and extremely determined to NOT notice the six tigers stapled to the ceiling because they can't possibly be there and therefor don't exist, and there are no hairs in her tea.
That IS British humor. Either utterly subtle or so ridiculous that you aren't sure it's actually happening. No middle ground.
Someone should bloody well write a paper about this, and it won't be me.
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