It’s an old Willie Rushton joke.
And of course there’s no truth in it whatever.
I have been contacted by a Year 12/13 student in Germany. Her name is Julia and she is working on a project which I want you to help her with – if you can.
Julia’s working title is “How the British mock death”. She says: I will analyse the black humour in the film ‘Death at a Funeral’ and explain why the British like black humour so much.
Moreover I found a book, called ‘the British Museum book of epitaphs: awful ends’. In this book the author points out that the British tend to have no respect for the dead. On the gravestone of a dentist for instance is written: ‘Stranger, approach this spot with gravity! John Brown is filling his last cavity.’ Are such macabre sayings really the rule in England?
Julia suspects that in everyday life we are as serious as Germans. But: In art the English do tend to have an anarchic approach to death, because the British sense of humour is anarchic.
Please would you help Julia by suggesting sources of good, British funeral humour, and black humour generally. Can you offer her some insights into the national psyche? If you understand Germans, can you point out how they and the British differ and agree in these matters?