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New Year's Day, in this house, begins with watching the Vienna Philharmonic's concert on telly and eating a massive picnic breakfast.

Today we postponed the breakfast, largely due to last night's "The Unexpected"-themed party featuring unexpected plates of steak and chips.

But the announcer on the telly casually mentioned Dinner for One.

Apparently, there is a black-and-white film of an English comedy sketch which is broadcast at new year in large chunks of Europe. It's a staple in Germany, Austria and Scandinavia, where "everyone" watches it.

Although it was a sketch made popular in UK theatre by UK comedian Freddy Frinton, the short film was made by a German TV company in the 60s. It's been an annual new year fixture since the early 70s - Frinton is all but forgotten in the UK, but he's a household name in Germany. According to one article, the film has never even been broadcast here.

But YouTube can provide, so I've just watched it. It's... OK. Very slapstick.

And I read a few articles about it - Der Spiegel once wrote that Britons finding it so unfunny when Germans love it is  "one of the last unsolved questions of European integration."

Actually, I'd buy into the idea that it is one of those repeat-until-funny sketches, now popular for being popular. It's fun because everyone watches it, and everyone knows it. That and its ready adaptability to a drinking game.

Anyway, if you fancy joining in you can watch it here. There is a transcript of the German introduction which describes the set-up here or a translation here. (The short version is that an elderly lady still holds a birthday party each year for her four best friends, even though she had outlived them; her butler does his best to fill in for them.)

Date: 2017-01-01 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lathany.livejournal.com
My previous boss told me about it. He's multilingual (as opposed to multi-affluent...) and his wife is German. He said that, by and large, British people just aren't impressed, but it's a German staple. He didn't explicitly say (and I now wish I'd asked) but I think he could see the attraction.

Date: 2017-01-01 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] venta.livejournal.com

+1 for multi-affluent :)

Date: 2017-01-01 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lathany.livejournal.com
Oh and I'm impressed by the steak and chips!

Date: 2017-01-01 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] venta.livejournal.com

I was impressed too! But having gone expecting just "party food", I'd already had one meal last night!

Date: 2017-01-01 06:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] motodraconis.livejournal.com
I lol'd, the humour builds slowly, it's the repetition that does it, and the final punchline cinches it - arf!

Shades of Morecambe & Wise actually, it's a similar style of humour.

Date: 2017-01-01 09:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] venta.livejournal.com

I see what you mean, it's just not a thing I've ever found all that funny. M&W were popular enough with the rest of the UK though!

Date: 2017-01-01 07:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] satyrica.livejournal.com
Yes, N's German housemate excitedly screened to a party full of bemused Brits a couple of years ago!

Date: 2017-01-01 07:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qatsi.livejournal.com
One wonders what the Germans make of the Andrew Preview sketch.
Edited Date: 2017-01-01 07:35 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-01-03 07:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] exspelunca.livejournal.com
I saw this for the first time a few years ago at a German-themed evening, near Christmas, organised for the "Friends" of our 12th century church by a member who'd worked in Germany. Contrary to popular opinion, a church hall full of Brits laughed their caps off. .

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